World Series of Fighting has put together an incredible card to kickoff 2014 with WSOF 8 Gaethje vs Patishnock. This card features two title bouts, a light heavyweight slug-match and many more promising match-ups. One tilt scheduled for January 18th that is flying under the radar pits heavyweights Derrick Mehmen against Scott Barret in what should be a great battle.
ProMMANow caught up with Derrick last week to discuss fighting Barrett at WSOF 8 and a whole lot more.
*Questions from ProMMA’s Kinch in bold
*Answers from Derrick Mehmen are italicized
First off Derrick, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How has preparation for Scott Barrett been thus far?
“My fight camp has been great, I’ve got in a lot of good workouts in with guys here in Cedar Rapids and now it’s time to get back in the cage. I like to fight and I like to stay active, so this has been a perfect three months.”
You are coming off the impressive KO victory over Rolles Gracie in September, how confident are you feeling after a performance like that?
“I’m feeling confident and feeling good but the majority of that confidence is because my training here has been going so well. I’ve been really pushed by a lot of great guys, I’m riding a four-fight win streak and I want to keep that going.”
Tell me about the timing off this fight, was there any hesitation to have a quick turnaround and train throughout the holidays? And was this camp any more difficult for that reason?
“Not at all. I was very eager to get back in there, I was begging for them to please put me on the card and luckily they did. As far as training through the holidays goes, I’m a heavyweight now so I got to eat and enjoy the holidays a little bit and keep training, it was easy. I didn’t go crazy or anything but I got enjoy the time with my family and since there are so many great guys around me, I got to get in some training during the holidays as well.”
Speaking of being a heavyweight now, this marks your second fight in the division so I am wondering what prompted you to move up in weight and will this be your home going forward?
“Heavyweight is I’m going to finish my career, I’ve been thinking about going to heavyweight since I was in Strikeforce in 2011. I had contemplated it then but we kind of put it, then when Strikeforce merged with the UFC and I didn’t get the call over, I figured it was a perfect time. I went back to the local circuit, got my weight up and made the transition.”
What can you tell me about your opponent Scott Barrett? What are you expecting from him on fight night?
“I’m expecting him to try to tie me up and then take me down, he’s a short, stocky wrestler and he’s strong, so I’m guessing he’s going to try to get inside.”
Tell me about your experience with WSOF so far, how happy are you be working for the promotion, and what do you think makes the promotion so different than others?
“They’re a gerat promotion, everything behind the scenes works nicely. They have a lot of the guys who worked for Strikeforce that are now working for WSOF, so everything has been running smoothly and professionally. I would have liked to have been on the main card this time, but other then that everything is great.”
What is your opinion on the WSOF challenge to Bellator?
“The challenge to Bellator is awesome, it’s great promotion and would be cool if it happened. I will say I’m a little ticked off that my good friend and welterweight champion Steve Carl wasn’t on that list. To me it’s fucked up, you don’t do that, it’s disrespectful and pretty shitty for that to happen. I mean no disrespect to Ali but you don’t do that. He’s your first champion and you didn’t even mention him in that card.”
I see that you’re an Iowa native, tell me about some of the fighters that inspired you coming up through the ranks, Im guessing that Pat Miletich is on that list?
“I respect Pat Miletich a ton but I never really got into fighting until the TUF days, the Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell era. When I first got into MMA I was watching Tito, Chuck, Randy Couture and all of those guys.”
Now you have recently been known for your striking skills, but you got your start int wrestling. Give me your background as a martial artist, how did you get into MMA?
“I’m actually more of a wrestler, I’ve wrestled since I was little then I got into collegiate wrestling. Right after JUCO my high school wrestling coach called me up saying, ‘dude you’ve got to try this.’ So two or three weeks that summer we trained some YouTube jiujitsu, then I called a promoter for a fight and I’ve been doing this ever since.”
What does Derrick Mehmen enjoy outside of fighting?
“I just enjoy spending time with my friends and family, I’m kind of a homebody. I love having my daughter around, watching movies, taking the dogs to the park and things like that.”
Give me an idea of some of the improvements you have made that you intend to showcase on the 18th?
“I’ve been working a lot on my striking, my jiujitsu, and I’ve been working hard on my conditioning. I’ve been doing a lot of sprints, running, and a lot of weight training.”
How do you visualize this fight with Barrett unfolding and how does your hand get raised?
“I think Scott is going to come after me and try to rush me. I’m going to fight long, beat him up a little bit, then I feel like it’s going to end with a second round TKO.”
Barrett isn’t a very tall heavyweight but he does cut to 265, does the possibility of him being the stronger fighter worry you at all?
“I’m not worried, I’m expecting him to be strong but I’ve trained with a lot of strong guys. I train at ATT with ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, I’ve trained with the worlds strongest man in Mariusz Pudzianowski, and one thing I’ve learned is that strength is a factor in the first few minutes but after that, it evens out. Like I said, you’re going to see a finish in the second round. We are going to wear him down in the first, he is going to come out really strong, but that will even out pretty quick.”
You mentioned wanting to finish your career at heavyweight. I am wondering what you want your legacy to say when you decide to hang up the gloves?
“I just want people to remember me as the guy who showed up to fight. As my career goes forward, I just want to put on more and more exciting fights, I want to be an exciting fighter and I want people to remember me as the guy who showed up to put on a great fight.”
Why should fans tune in on January 18th and what can we expect to see from you in 2014?
“Tune in on the 18th because it’s going to be a super fun heavyweight fight, one that everyone will want to watch. I plan to keep winning in 2014, continue being successful.”
Be sure to follow Derrick on Twitter @DerrickMehmen!
For more on WSOF 8 and all things fight related, ProMMANow has got you covered!