— There wasn't much more Brandon Melendez could have done in his fight with Gray Maynard. Brandon, as we learned in our interview, was fighting out of his weight class all season on The Ultimate Fighter and he went up against a world-class wrestler in Gray Maynard on last night's episode. Brandon is an intriguing fighter and an all-around good guy who we should see more from in the future. Nothing has been announced, but you can probably expect Brandon to fight in the Ultimate Fighter finale. Brandon stopped by earlier today to talk with us about his time on the show.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of our interview.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into MMA, and how you ended up on the Ultimate Fighter?
I played a lot of sports growing up, in school I got into a lot of street fights, you know, fights at school, just bein' a little hard ass. And then I started workin' out right out of high school, and this guy was like, "Hey, you look tough, man, you should come train, you should come fight." I was like "Really? That sounds cool." So I kinda started training with him a little bit and I was like "Man I wanna learn more." So I started training at a gym and then I entered a tournament and it was like they had fights every week and it was for, like, 16 guys, 170 pound division, and I knocked em all, I knocked out like 4 or 5 dudes and made it to the championship against this one guy, but he was just like a grappler. But anyways, I knocked him down a few times and then I got submitted with a rear naked choke, I didn't even know what a rear naked choke was, and I did really well so I just kept doin' it.
How did you end up on the Ultimate Fighter?
One of my buddies was goin' out to it, he just wanted me to come to hang out with him, just so I could come check it out. So when I got there I was like "Well, I might as well." So, anyways, that night in the hotel room I did the paperwork and everything so I made sure I had everything ready, and I went in and just went and did everything and they loved me, so sure enough here I am. (laughs)
From last nights show, at the beginning at least, they showed you struggling with your injury and in your training with Jens. How serious were you about switching over and training with BJ?
You know, I was sure, I wanted to. You know, my team's at home. I train with Jeremy Horn in Salt Lake City, Utah. That's my team, you know. Before I left, Jeremy was like, "Hey man, just get whatever you can out of this experience and come back home to your team and we'll get you ready." So, before I left it didn't have to do anything with me and Jens having a problem, I wanted to at least be able to train with both coaches, learn whatever I could and then take everything I can out of it and come home.
Do you think training with BJ would have better prepared you for your fight?
I don't know, every coach and every fighter, they all have something to offer, you can learn something from everybody and by doing that, that always helps you step your game up, you know.
How much of a struggle was it cutting that weight, is that something you personally have to deal with always before a fight?
You know, all my fights are at 170 pounds. Like, I walk around at 188. Those fights on the show are my only 155 pound fights. And, I always have kind of a hard time making 170. So, like, two weeks before the show I was at 188, that's my normal, and they called me cause they were last minute with things. They're like, make sure you're ready, so anyways I cut down to 170, so I already had just cut weight to 170, so I'm walking around at this weight, so I'm already down, and so I just tried to maintenance that while I was on the show and I just dropped another pound here, dropped another pound there. So, my tank's on empty, I was eating really light, but for the opportunity, yeah, I'll make 155.
Going forward, are you going to fight at 170 from now on?
Um, I'll probably fight a couple times at 155, and then go back to my weight class.
Initially, what were your thoughts when you got matched up with Gray?
You know, I thought I matched up very well. I've fought a few wrestlers, I have like 36 fights or something like that. But I've fought a few world class wrestlers so I was thinking I'm gonna do good, you know, get the sprawl, defend the takedown, if he does, I'll be right back on my feet, he's not gonna be able to hold me down, and then I'll just knock him out. And then, I thought I was gonna do pretty well, but Gray, man, he did a good job. He was all over me, and he kept good position and he just...Gray did a great job.
Watching the fight again, overall how did you feel about your performance, and if you could do it over, what would you do differently?
You know..I don't know. I would need more time to get my weight down and better, proper training. There's just a lot of things I'd like to do different. I don't know. In the fight, I don't think I used my Ju Jitsu enough, like I was just so worried about getting back on my feet that I didn't even use my Ju Jitsu, like Gray's Ju Jitsu probably isn't very good, he's just a really good wrestler. So like, I didn't even use my Ju Jitsu, who knows what could have happened, but I was so worried about standing up. That's probably what I would do different.
You talked a little bit about it before, but what so you forsee for you in the future in MMA'
You know, I just wanna keep goin' and I wanna be one of the best 170 pounders in the world. That's my goal and that's where I wanna be.
Brandon, I appreciate you taking the time, and good luck in the future.
Hey, thank you very much man.
(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)
(Image Courtesy of SpikeTV)
Original article at http://www.buddytv.com/articles/ufc/exclusive_interview_brandon_me-7066.aspx