Efrain Escudero Gives His Thoughts on the UFC in Mexico, Training with Bendo and Seth Baczynksi Fighting Drunk.
Whether or not you feel Efrain Escudero should have been released during his first UFC run is up to you. To Escudero it wasn’t personal, it was just business.
Escudero compiled a 5-1 record outside the octagon before returning this past December against Jacob Volkman. Efrain would not get the win on that night and heading into Saturdays UFC 145 fight against fellow TUF winner Mac Danzig, his back is against the wall.
Take some time and catch up with season 8 TUF winner and read what he has to say about getting cut, Miguel Torres ripping off his nickname, and his prediction on the UFC 145′s main event.
Gerry Rodriguez: I want to start things off talking about the UFC and some of its inconsistencies. Mac Danzig is 3-5 since winning the TUF finale, although one of those was a controversial stoppage against Matt Wiman. We saw Miguel Torres get fired before he was rehired while making an offensive joke. Forrest Griffin made a joke in the same genre and received a slap on the wrist. You were cut after going 3-2 in your initial UFC run but came in overweight in the last bout prior to getting cut. Is it frustrating for a fighter who’s been on the “perceived” wrong end of a business decision?
Efrain Escudero: It’s a business and they got a business to run. Like Tito Ortiz, he didn’t get along with Dana White but he sells tickets. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. For us (the fighters) there’s no complaining and that’s what happened when I got released, I didn’t complain. I went out and did my job to get back to the UFC. It’s just how it is. I don’t feel I should have been released but what can I do? There’s nothing I could do about it. That’s just the way of life. They have a business to run.
Gerry Rodriguez: Let’s talk about Miguel Torres. He’s got a shirt that clearly rips from your “Hecho en Mexico” nickname, which says “Hecho en Octagon”, should he give you a cut from the sales?
Efrain Escudero: Well I hope so. I haven’t talked to him in a while but we’re fighting on the same card so I’ll have to talk to him about that. (laughing)
Gerry Rodriguez: The sport has really grown and more Hispanics are becoming attracted to the sport but for whatever reason boxing still rules in the hearts of most Latinos? There’s been guys like Roger Huerta, Diego Sanchez, yourself and you can even include Torres that have been on the cusp of being a breakout star and perhaps sway the Hispanic demographic over from boxing. It seemed like Cain Velasquez was going to be that guy but he didn’t successfully defend the title. Who do you think will be the guy that delivers and do you think it happens sooner or later?
Efrain Escudero: Whether it’s sooner or later it’s going to happen. We have to introduce the Mexican/Hispanic people to the real atmosphere of MMA. Boxing has been around for hundreds of years and for a new sport to come in and take over, it’s not going to happen overnight. I think all the guys you mentioned will make it happen and that eventually it’s going to be all over Mexico just like it is in the US.
Gerry Rodriguez: Over or under on the next 2yrs if we will see the UFC in Mexico? If so has the UFC mentioned to you what their plans are as far as expanding to Mexico?
Efrain Escudero: I hope it’s not that long. I hope sometime early next year. That’s what the Mexican public needs, an event where people can actually see and get a real feeling of the fighters. I haven’t heard anything about a time frame but when they do I hope I’m on that card.
Gerry Rodriguez: You have 20 plus fights on your resume and have only been submitted twice and it’s safe to guess Danzig will probably be looking for the submission? When you start camp in preparation for a fight do you adjust specifically to your opponent or do you focus on just improving your own skills?
Efrain Escudero: I try to improve my skills. I’m aware of my weaknesses and my strengths and I know what he’s good at. At the end of the day I’m not worried about what he brings into the octagon. I’m prepared to show him what I bring.
Gerry Rodriguez: Does anyone from your team study tape on your opponents?
Efrain Escudero: My whole team does that. We have a guy that does the tapes and then we have a guy mimic Danzig or my opponent.
Gerry Rodriguez: Win or lose do you think there’s the possibility of having more success at 145 lbs. after this fight? Where do you stand on that?
Efrain Escudero: Regardless, I’m staying at 155. That’s where my weight is at. I’m staying there. I train with Ben Henderson and I’m ready to go 15 minutes non stops.
Gerry Rodriguez: What’s it like to train with Ben? He seems impossible to choke out. Is he frustrating to spar against?
Efrain Escudero: I’ve been training with him a super long time. I’ll choke him and I’ll submit him sometimes. I know his strengths and his weaknesses and after you train with a guy for two years you kind of figure him out.
Gerry Rodriguez: Let’s say you go on a streak and he still has the title, would you guys pull a Rashad and Jones? How would that work?
Efrain Escudero: We already said it hundreds of times. We would fight each other. We fight each other every day at the gym, why wouldn’t we fight and get paid for it? (laughing). I think the biggest issue with Rashad and Jones is Jackson taking sides and choosing sides. Our coach already told us, if he fought each other, he’d be home watching TV.
Gerry Rodriguez: Two more questions before I let you go. We hear all these crazy stories about fighting for these smaller promotions in Thailand, the Philippines, and even Mexico. You’ve fought in Mexico a couple of times, as recently as last year, did you see any crazy things going on like rooster in the ring or seeing people from the crown being pulled to fill a fight?
Efrain Escudero: I have seen some crazy stuff. At my first event we had like 9 guys fighting and Seth Baczynksi was fighting and his opponent didn’t show up. We were at Puerto Penasco, it’s a party place, so he decides to start drinking. The next day at noon he’s still drunk and they say “hey you’re opponent showed up, do you want to fight?” He was belligerent drunk and went out there and submitted the guy. The commission didn’t care, they let him go out there and fight. (laughing)
Gerry Rodriguez: Any surprises at the weigh in for Danzig to get inside his head?
Efrain Escudero: No, I respect him. I have nothing against him. I’m ready to go there for a 15 minute war. If I go out there slip and fall throw a punch and knock him out I’ll take that. I’m ready to go.
Gerry Rodriguez: Any Predictions on the main event?
Efrain Escudero: I think Rashad might take him. I think it will go the distance.
Efrain Escudero would like to thank Ben Henderson, Jamie Varner, Jackie Mesa, Victor Mesa, Alex Contreras, and you can follow him on twitter @effyescudero