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Tuesday, Sep 24, 2002

The Faces Of Ufc 39: Gan Mcgee

The Faces of UFC 39: Gan McGee
By Loretta Hunt

This installment of our Faces of UFC 39 series focuses today on heavyweight Gan McGee, deemed the biggest underdog for Friday night’s showdown with heavily experienced Pedro Rizzo.

UFC 28: Gan McGee vs. Josh Barnett
Calm and reserved, much like his mentor Chuck "the Iceman" Liddell, Gan McGee made his Octagon debut at UFC 28, but hasn’t walked the fame fighter’s ramp since. With almost two more years of training under his belt and a few more wins to reflect this, McGee has been called up again to take the challenge. A high school and college wrestler, 6’10" McGee hopes his solid base in the art of the takedown will be enough to derail deadly striker Pedro Rizzo. The Californian discusses his breakdown of the fight, how he’s been equipping himself for battle, and his thoughts on just how big weight will be a factor on Friday.

FCF:   The last time UFC fans had a chance to see you in action was at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, where you took on another first-timer, Josh Barnett. What have you been doing since UFC 28, and how did you make your way back to the Octagon?
GM:     After the UFC, I went back to fighting a few smaller shows. Actually, my weight increased — I was coming in around 320 for a while and the UFC was using heavyweights that were lighter. I started dieting and training, trying to get my weight down. It’s getting low now and I got the call — so I’m doing it [the UFC] again.

FCF:   What smaller shows were you competing in?
GM:     I fought for the WEC a couple of times. Maybe another fight. I can’t remember.

FCF:   When you fought Barnett, what weight were you at?
GM:     I was around 300 [pounds].

FCF:   From 300 pounds you are working down to the 265-pound weight class limit, where opponent Pedro Rizzo will be waiting for you. Rizzo is extremely experienced, having fought for the show ten times since UFC Brazil in October 1998. What are your thoughts on this fight?
GM:     Me and Pedro Rizzo — we’re going to be the classic match of a wrestler versus kickboxer. I’m going to try and take him down. He’ s going to try and knock me out. This is a great career opportunity for me. Rizzo is a good one to go against. I also think it’s going to be fun. He’s a tough guy. It should be enjoyable.

FCF:   How has your training with world-class striker Chuck Liddell helped you for this fight?
GM:     Chuck is a great training partner for me. He’s pretty much the same [as Rizzo], maybe a little bit lighter. Chuck’s a great kickboxer, the same style of fighting [as Rizzo]. There’s nothing to worry about in taking him down and he’s probably a little bit better wrestler than Rizzo.

FCF:   Let’s fill in the fans in regards to your background in the combat arts. What discipline(s) did you start in?
GM:     I wrestled in high school and college. Chuck used to wrestle at Cal Poly too, but graduated a year or two before I went to college. And then there was also Scott Adams. He was wrestling in his senior year when I was a freshman. Chuck would come to work out at the gym after I was done wrestling. In my off-season, I started to stay and roll around with him and learn submissions. One day, Chuck asked me if I wanted to fight and I kinda fell into it from there. I didn’t even wrestle my senior year. I just liked fighting so much that I decided to just do that.

FCF:   How far did you get with your college wrestling?
GM:     I went to nationals a few times, but never won it.

FCF:   You must have a very strong foundation in wrestling. What other aspects of the fight game do you train in today?
GM:     I work on a little bit of everything with Chuck — kickboxing and submissions. I just try and stay well rounded.

Click here to continue the interview

The Faces of UFC 39
By Loretta Hunt

In this installment we catch up with one of the lightweight class’s most dynamic fighters. With an eye-pleasing style within the cage, and a sassy attitude outside to match it, this fighter makes his way back to the Octagon after a nine-month hiatus from fighting. He’s tough. He’s confident. He’s the only man to ever beat Jens Pulver. He is…

Din Thomas

Din Thomas at SuperBrawl XX
Coming in at 5’9" and 155 pounds, this warrior makes his return after an injury-induced nine-month hiatus. Being the one competitor to have handed former UFC champion Jens Pulver a loss, Thomas was a natural choice for the 4-man lightweight tournament that will decide just who get to fill "Little Evil’s" shoes. Thomas takes on Japanese legend Caol Uno, a fighter he lost to three years ago in the early stages of his career. Thomas is hoping that this time however, it will all go differently. Calm, relaxed, and always entertaining, Din Thomas is ready to make his presence known and has made a special pledge to the fans once his hand is raised on Friday night. Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Din Thomas.

FCF:   Let’s get the public back up to speed in the ways of Din Thomas. Will you refresh our memories as to the injury you incurred a few months ago and your road to recovery and fighting again?
DT:     Basically, I’ll say that the injury was just an accumulation of hard training through the years. I always remembered having pretty bad knees, but it got to the point where it was unbearable. When I was going to fight Matt [Serra at UFC 36], I couldn’t even train some days. I couldn’t even walk some days. I had a talk with my doctor, John Keating from Atlanta, and he said I would have to cancel my fight and get this taken care of. Basically, he went in and cleaned out my knee. It was a torn meniscus and some other damage in there that he took care of and now I’m good to go.

FCF:   How many months were you not able to do any type of training whatsoever?
DT:     About two months. I was on crutches for two months. When my doctor first told me I had to be off for two months, as soon as those two months started, I was counting the days. I actually threw the crutches off a day or two early. I was at the gym and I just started training right there. I couldn’t take it no more.

FCF:   So how many months have you been officially training for your upcoming bout with Caol Uno?
DT:     I train year round really, so it’s not like I have to do anything really special. I kinda turn it up a bit about two months out. That’s when I really start focusing.

FCF:   And you’ve been able to complete this full two-month period? Did your recovery time dip into this time at all?
DT:     No, not at all. My knee is fine. It’s like nothing happened. I feel really good. I can’t complain at all. I’m really excited to fight. I just can’t wait till the 27th. I’m dying over here!

FCF:   What is an ultimate fighter to do when he’s on crutches for two months?
DT:     You get pampered a lot and you do a lot of talking to whoever will listen to you. I tried to build my fan base up while I couldn’t fight. I did a lot of promotional work for myself. When you’re training you don’t have a lot of time to market yourself, so when I got hurt, I took the time to do that. I did a lot of radio. I made up little trading cards, so wherever I went, I’d pass out my cards and try and meet different people.

Click here to continue the interview

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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