Benji Radach is set to make his Strikeforce debut where he will do battle with Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith on April 11th. The middleweight bout will air live on Showtime as part of the Shamrock vs. Diaz undercard. Both Radach and Smith are known for putting it all on the line and producing exciting fights and this contest should be no different. Benji is riding high after a very impressive knockout victory in October over Chute Boxe star Murilo “Ninja” Rua.
PRO MMA (promma.info) recently had the chance to catch up with Benji and talk with him about many things including his big victory over “Ninja” Rua, his upcoming battle with Smith, his time in the IFL, his future in Strikeforce, and the possibility of a match up with middleweight champion Cung Le somewhere down the line. Check it out!
PRO MMA: Hey Benji, I want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with us.
PRO MMA: You really looked awesome last October in your fight against Murilo “Ninja” Rua. Your striking looked sharp and your submission defense looked great. Tell us about that fight.
Benji: It was a good fight, it was really exciting. My goal in that fight was to keep him off balance. Those Chute Boxe guys if you let them start coming forward they’re going to do a lot of damage. My goal was to keep him on his heels and stay in his face the whole fight. It created a really exciting fight. His style is to come forward, throw hands and knees, and I knew if I took that away from him he would have trouble. That was my goal, so I did that in the first round. It took a lot of energy from me trying to push, push, and push the whole time. He’s a tough dude; he took a lot of shots and just kept coming and didn’t slow down much. In that second round I had to sit in the back seat a minute and get my breath back. I let him start dictating the pace. He started doing some damage coming forward like he does, so I just started counter punching for a while until I could catch him with something and then finally did.
PRO MMA: Well you looked fantastic. Were you able to come out of that fight good and healthy?
Benji: Yes, I came out of that fight good and healthy. I took several months off to just recoup, I went up north and visited the family. Nnow I’ve had to get back to the training. I’m really getting to where I need to be right now. I’ve got another month left and I should be good and strong and fired up by the time the fight starts.
PRO MMA: How’s your training camp going leading up to this fight with Scott Smith?
Benji: It’s going pretty good. You know I don’t really have a camp, so I’m kind of like an underdog in a lot of ways. I’m expected to lose a lot of these fights just because of my training. It’s not the best right now because I don’t have a camp but, I am winning and beating these guys. I train in the mornings here at work and then at night I travel around and find the best guys in the area to train with.
PRO MMA: I’m really excited to see you and Scott fight, there is no doubt that you guys will meet in the center of the ring and start banging. Tell us how you think the fight will go and what’s different about Scott Smith compared to some of the other fighters you’ve faced?
Benji: Scott’s got a pretty hard right hand. He’s knocked out a lot of guys, so I’ve definitely got to be careful about that. I think as far as just skill level goes, Murilo “Ninja” Rua was definitely a more skilled fighter than him. I think I match up well with him. I think I’ve got pretty fast hands and I hit hard too. If he’s standing in front me he’s going to be getting hit just like if I stand in front of him. I imagine we’re going to be trading and it’s going to be exciting. It makes for an exciting fight when the fans know someone’s going to get knocked out. I think that’s pretty inevitable when it comes to this fight.
PRO MMA: Tell us a little bit about your time in the IFL and what it was like to train and compete with Bas Ruten’s Anacondas.
Benji: It was a great opportunity. I’ve trained with Bas before and it was really cool to spend more time with him. I try to soak up all my training with him because he’s definitely got a lot to show and give to this sport. He’s helped me out tremendously in the past. I still try to get up there and hit work outs on the weekends with him when I can. He’s so busy right now with commentating and Inside MMA that it’s hard for me to get with him anymore. My time in the IFL was awesome. It was really cool. It reminded me of wrestling where you have a team training for another team. You’re bleeding, sweating, and training hard together. Then you’re going out to war together. I did well but, I fought a little too much. I fought six times in that year. It kind of wore on me by the time I got to the finals. I was run down, underweight, and didn’t have the fire or really even want to be there. I just fought too much.
PRO MMA: I think Strikeforce is lucky to have you. Tell us how the transition from EliteXC to Strikeforce has been.
Benji: I was happy to sign on with Strikeforce. I was stuck in a contract with EliteXC and there was talk about them coming back on CBS which never ended up happening. They just kind of kept stringing people along and not making any money. Luckily I’ve got this L.A. Boxing job that’s kind of kept me afloat so I wasn’t really hurting like some of these other guys were. I’m going to stick with Strikeforce. Their owner Scott Coker is a good guy and he’s doing the right thing. I think it’s going to be a force to reckon with in the future.
PRO MMA: What are some of you goals right now? Are thinking about Cung Le at all?
Benji: I think there’s definitely a Cung Le fight in the future but you never know. Like everyone knows you are just one punch away from winning or losing. You have to just take one fight at a time and hope for the best. If I keep everything tight and keep my game going I think in the future I will have a fight with him. Strikeforce has a lot of tough fighters right now. They took a lot of the Elite XC 185lb’ers and they have their own 185lb’ers. With those two combined together it’s a top level middleweight class. We’ll see. I’m just hoping for the best. If I keep winning and get that title shot then I’m going to have L.A. Boxing give me a little more time off and make it to where I can actually train full time and get my rest. I’m definitely going to need the rest to be able to step up to those other guys.
PRO MMA: If you would like to give a shout out to anyone go ahead.
Benji: I really want to thank TAPOUT. They’ve really been helping me out the past few fights and in between there too. I want to thank my managers, mmaagents.com and Ken Pavia have been a big help finding me these fights and doing there best to get me sponsorships.
PRO MMA: Thanks a lot Benji. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.
Benji: You got it, man. Take care.
By: Ted Smith