Exclusive: 2004 Olympian Rhadi Ferguson discusses upcoming Strikeforce debut

Rhadi Ferguson at Gameness Fighting Championship in Oct. 2010. Photo credit: Jack Bratcher for ProMMAnow.com

Strikeforce made the official announcement Monday that 2004 Judo Olympian Dr. Rhadi Ferguson would face former Moldovan national wrestling team member Ion Cherdivara at “Strikeforce Challengers 13” in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 7.

Ferguson is a Judo and BJJ Black Belt and trains out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. He began his pro MMA career in early 2010 and has put together two first round TKO wins. Cherdivara has had one pro fight, also a first round TKO win.

The two will meet at light heavyweight (205-pounds) as part of the Showtime televised main card headlined by Tyron Woodley vs. Tarec Saffiedine.

ProMMAnow.com spoke with Ferguson Monday evening to talk about the upcoming fight and to get the Olympian’s thoughts on Cherdivara.

It is hard to get much of a scouting report on someone when they have only had one fight. However, Ferguson, who has worked with and been around high level athletes for most of his life had some initial thoughts on Cherdivara.

“I’m a respectful guy, but here’s the deal. At 28-years-old or ever how old he is, if he was a real good high level wrestler he would still be wrestling. That’s just a fact,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson is the type of person who seems fazed by nothing and intimidated by no one.

In Strikeforce’s press release about the fight, it stated Cherdivara is known to shadow box using a 90-pound dumbbell.

Ferguson commented, “I read that. Impressive? I mean, it reads well on paper.”

That is not a knock on Cherdivara though. Ferguson knows he has a tough opponent in front of him and would not want it any other way.

“It’s a tough fight. It’s not an easy fight,” said Ferguson. “Why would I want an easy fight? That doesn’t make any sense. If I want to be Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and I want to scale the ladder and see if I have what it takes to get to the top of the game, I have to fight tough fights.”

Few fighters make the main card of a Showtime televised event on their third fight. Ferguson commented on how he felt about it. “I don’t know, I guess I feel the same way about it as Ion feels. It’s his second fight and he’s on Showtime. Congratulations to him too.”

Although still young in the sport, Dr. Ferguson, now 35-years-old is applying the same level of discipline to MMA that made him an Olympic level athlete. His approach is scientific. His focus is laser beam.

He explained what motivates him, “I want to fight. I want to do my best. I want to do my job. I want to make a run to be the best in the world. If that’s feasible, great. If I’m having delusions of grandeur, I’ll know it immediately. … The last thing you want to do is look back on your life one day and say ‘I woula’ coulda’ shoulda’. … I have an opportunity to be the best in the world at mixed martial arts, or so I believe.”

For Dr. Ferguson, MMA is a job. But it is a job he loves. It is a new challenge. And it is in his nature to want to succeed and be the best he can be. If that earns him a Strikeforce world title one day, that is great. If an MMA world title is not in the cards for Dr. Ferguson, it is doubtful he will lose one minute of sleep.

Time will only tell how far Dr. Ferguson will go with his MMA career, but if the video below is any indication, it sure is going to be fun to watch (By the way, I shot the video below so be sure to check it out, it was Dr. Ferguson’s most recent fight).


Check out Dr. Ferguson’s “Push-ups from A-to-Z” at www.pushupsfromatoz.com

Dr. Ferguson would like to thank the following people: His wife – Traci Ferguson, American Top Team, BJJ Coach – Dustin Denes, Team Engineer – Winston Williams, Strength and Conditioning Coach – JC Santana, Rob Kahn from Gracie Tampa, Howard University Family, Ed Clay, Mike Camp, Lloyd Irvin

Check out Rhadi Ferguson’s most recent fight at GFC 8 against Jeremy Boczulak. The bout took place Oct. 9, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn.

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