Interview with Sean Sherk
Ultimate Fighter Sean Sherk
FS: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen today we are here with Champion ultimate fighter Sean Sherk. How did you begin your training in the martial arts?
Sean Sherk: I began my training when I was seven years old as a wrestler. Then I moved on from there I started doing some boxing and then in1994 kickboxing and Shoot wrestling.
FS: And which of those arts did you gravitate towards, which ones did you like the best?
Sean Sherk: I gravitated towards the grappling. I work everything in this sport because you have to because you never know when your going to need it. The grappling is where my heart is though because as I said I started wrestling when I was seven years old.
FS: Were there any other particular systems that you trained in?
Sean Sherk: Besides wrestling I trained in Muay Thai Kickboxing, Shoot Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Vale Tudo and boxing.
FS: And who were some of your top instructors in those arts?
Sean Sherk: Well I only have one instructor his name is Greg Nelson of the Minnesota Martial arts Academy. But I also have a lot of really good training partners who have been training with me for ten years. And I’m still wrestling at Saint Cloud State University. So I’ve got a lot of great training partners
FS: Who are some of your training partners?
Sean Sherk: Tom Schmitz is a main guy that I’ve been with now for about six years, Damien Hurtz, Clint Claus, Adam, Nat McIntyre, Andy probably about thirty guys in all.
FS: The Minnesota Martial Arts Academy seems to be producing a lot of top fighters. They seem to be doing a good job in their training.
Sean Sherk: Yeah, we have a really good work ethic here. Besides that we’ve got some great fighters. These guys put a lot of time into the sport, so it’s been very beneficial.
FS: Now you mentioned Greg Nelson and I know he has been very instrumental in your training and success. I also know that Greg was diagnosed with cancer several months back. Fortunately Greg seems to be doing very well now. How did Greg’s illness affect you and your fighting?
Sean Sherk: Well Greg was gone for about two years and during that two year time span I was fighting some really big fights in the UFC and I fought for a world title. Greg is our leader and he is our coach, so without him here it definitely took a toll on everybody, but we trained hard anyway and without him here we still trained hard. His spirit lived on even though he wasn’t here.
FS: Do you think that affected your fighting at all?
Sean Sherk: Well you know I think it did a little bit. Because you know you need your coach and your mentor not only here on a daily basis when you are training but I also need him in my corner when I’m fighting. I look for somebody with Greg’s knowledge I’m looking for his advice when I’m fighting I need his advice.
FS: You want every advantage in the ring.
Sean Sherk: Yeah, you need it.
FS: Now what was your most difficult match so far.
Sean Sherk: My most difficult fight would be the title fight with Matt Hughes. That fight was about fifteen months ago now. That fight went the distance. Matt Hughes as you know is the number one fighter pound for pound in the world. We fought for 25 minutes back and forth. That was a good fight and that was a good learning experience.
FS: That was a close fight too you did a really good job in that fight.
Sean Sherk: I took a round or two. I wish I could have won it of course. That’s what I train for you know. But, I would like a rematch for sure.
FS: So how did that fight affect your training. Do you feel like you are stronger fighter now?
Sean Sherk: I became a lot better fighter since then. I’ve been forced to take a look at my style and change things up. I’ve become a better fighter both mentally and physically.
FS: So Matt better be prepared for the next fight then? Do you prefer the No Holds Barred type of fighting?
Interview with Sean Sherk
Sean Sherk: Yeah, I love it! It’s great! You know you get to use say ten different styles in a fight. It’s great. It’s a real test of who the better fighter is.
FS: And are there any other tournament styles of fighting that you like?
Sean Sherk: Just Mixed Martial Arts that’s all I do now.
FS: Well how about cage matches. Can you tell us the difference between how you prepare for a cage match versus a ring match?
Sean Sherk: Well cages I prefer because I’m a wrestler of course and I want to pin my opponent against the fence and use it to his disadvantage. Of course, when I fight in a ring I’ve fallen out of the ring a few times while fighting and my opponents have fallen out of the ring. I think it may possibly be more dangerous fighting in a ring than it is in a cage. Because in the cage you are going to stay in the there and you aren’t going to go anywhere. So, for that reason I like the cage better than the ring.
FS: Who do see as some of the best fighter’s in the martial arts today?
Sean Sherk: Best fighters in all weight classes I’d have to say Randy Couture definitely. Vanderlei Silva, Nogeira, Fedor you know there’s a lot of great fighters out there, but those guys are among the best fighters in the world.
FS: And you are fighting in the 170 pound, weight class.
Sean Sherk: Yeah, the welterweight class.
FS: Do you see yourself trying to fight in a different weight class?
Sean Sherk: No I’m going to stay where I’m at I walk around at 175 so I’m too small for the 185 pound guys who are cutting from 200. And I don’t want to cut 20 pounds down to 155. So, I’m just going to stay where I’m at so I can just eat and stay healthy.
FS: Great. So, 170 is your best fighting weight?
Sean Sherk: Yes. That’s where I feel the best.
FS: Do you have any other hobbies outside of the martial arts?
Sean Sherk: Well this is all I do. I don’t have time for anything else. I guess my only other hobby would be eating and sitting on the couch when I’m not training.
FS: And I’m sure you don’t do too much of that.
Sean Sherk: No I don’t do a whole lot of it but I really enjoy it.
FS: How about music. Do you like any particular style of music?
Sean Sherk: I like a lot of different stuff it depends on what I’m doing if I’m training I like more rock type music to kind of get the adrenaline going. If I’m relaxing I listen to Country or 80’s rock or something like that.
FS: What are your hopes and aspirations for the future in the martial arts?
Sean Sherk: Definitely I want to be the best in the world, to be world champion and be the best in my weight class and have a big title belt around my waist. I want everyone to be gunning for me like I’m gunning for the guy who is the world champion right now.
FS: Great, thanks for spending the time with us today.
Sean Sherk: Thank you.