by Stephen Goldsworthy for MMAWeekly.com
Bellator Fighting Championships begins its second season of
tournament-style events Thursday in Hollywood, Fla. In 2010 they have 18 shows
booked, with all four weight divisions – middleweight, welterweight,
lightweight, and featherweight – returning to crown number one contenders
to the Season 1 champions.
The featherweight tourney features eight top fighters
competing for the chance to fight reigning champion Joe Soto. Alongside the
names of Wilson Reis, Eric Mariott and highly touted newcomer Joe Warren,
stands Bao Quach, a 26-fight veteran looking to make 2010 his own.
Training at Team Oyama in South California, Quach took some
time out to about his upcoming fight with Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan at
Bellator XIII, and the season ahead.
MMAWeekly.com: What did you do for training? Anything in
particular in preparation for Georgi?
Quach: Nothing specific for Georgi. I just did my usual
training, a little bit of everything.
Since this is a tournament, I want to be prepared for everything and
keep all my skills sharp. I don’t
want to go into the next round with a completely different fighter and then
have to train extra hard because I didn’t train it as much for Georgi.
MMAWeekly.com: How do you see this fight going?
Quach: I’m pretty happy with everywhere, but I guess if
possible, I’d like to keep the fight standing. But if it doesn’t, that’s fine
too. I’m a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, so I can attack with submissions if I have
to. If I don’t want to, I’ll get
just back up, I think I’ll be fine.
MMAWeekly.com: Do you do any specific strength and
Quach: You know, I just do whatever I’ve learned on my own,
from videos and from my friends. I
graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Kinesiology, so I can design
my own strength and conditioning routine.
MMAWeekly.com: What’s your diet like for training?
Quach: I prefer organic foods. I like to eat healthy. I’ve
been reading a book called Natural Cures and it talks about the benefits of
eating organic and not poisoning the body with a bunch of hormones, pesticides,
and other chemicals. I just started trying it out. I’m always looking for ways
to stay healthy and get the most out of life.
MMAWeekly.com: What would you say is your grappling
Quach: I actually started off as just a wrestler. Then I became a wrestler with
jiu-jitsu, and now I’m a wrester with jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. It’s kinda funny to think that people
know me as a striker, but I really do like to stand up and throw. But really, when it comes to fighting,
my strength is that I’m good at putting everything together to make it work.
MMAWeekly.com: Tell us a little bit about Team Oyama?
Quach: Coach is the guy who really taught me Muay Thai and
helped me change my game up. Over
here, I train with all the fighters, but I work a lot of my Muay Thai with some
of the lighter guys who focus on that.
We got some world class Muay Thai guys here, and I don’t just mean “world
class” the way everyone else says it, these guys fight all kinds of guys from
all different countries: Romie Adanza, Justin Ngyun, of course coach (Colin
Oyama). Then I got my jiu-jitsu guys like Giva Santana and Mo Khayat and my old
training partners from back in the day, Russ Miura and Adam Lynn. I’m really lucky that I have so many
great guys to train with.
MMAWeekly.com: Speaking of Colin Oyama, he’s coached some of
the biggest MMA stars to ever hit the cage, how did you get started with him?
Quach: It was back in about 2003 and I was looking for a new
place to train so I went to some MMA forums (the UG) to see what was out
there. Then Jason Miller got in
touch with me when he was training with coach and suggested I check it
out. So I came over, I got great
instruction, training partners, and everything just seemed to fit, so I’ve been
real happy training here.
MMAWeekly.com: What’s the best advice anyone has given you
as a fighter and as a person?
Quach: I never really got advice from anyone. It’s not like
anyone has sat me down and said, “Okay Bao, I have some advice I want to give
you.” But I pick up a lot of stuff here and there. It’s like, I started off as a wrestler and then picked up on
jiu-jitsu, but when I got into MMA and got knocked out, I figured I needed to
learn some stand-up. So I went out
and started training with coach and I’m always looking to improve. So I guess I
just learn a lot from my experiences.
MMAWeekly.com: Tell us about your background and family?
Quach: My parents came over from Vietnam as refugees and at
that time they literally came with nothing. But they studied hard and now work in the medical field. My
dad is a doctor and my mom helps him run his practice and take care of other
medical related things. Growing up, we would move around a lot, so I was always
at a new school. I got picked on a lot and I would get in a lot of fights. I
didn’t get into a lot of fights because I was trying to be bad ass, in fact, I
got beat up a lot, but I guess this is part of why I started up with wrestling
and jiu-jitsu. I had that kind of personality, and it was just a natural fit.
When I first started, my parents didn’t know much about MMA
except that it is “fighting” and they weren’t too happy about it. I think even now they are concerned
that I might end up like Mohammed Ali, brain damaged from it all. So they worry
about me. But over time they’ve gotten used to it. I think, in fact, my dad is
a bigger Cung Le fan than I am.
MMAWeekly.com: What’s the future in the fight game for you;
where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
Quach: If I keep up with how I’ve been recently, I’ll keep
fighting, but I never know. A
couple years ago I thought I would stop fighting around 30, but I’m feeling
great and I love what I’m doing. I hope the 145-pound division gets more
popular so I can keep doing this. It might happen, it’s gotten a lot bigger
recently, but only time will tell.
I guess, when that day does eventually come and I have to retire, I want
to train fighters and be a teacher.
MMAWeekly.com: If you weren’t a fighter what do you think
you’d be doing?
Quach: That’s a funny question, I was just thinking about
that. You know, before I found jiu-jitsu and MMA, I was wondering the same
thing myself. I really had no idea and it was just by luck that I even found
out that I could major in Kinesiology. So maybe I’d be a personal trainer or
something else in the fitness industry. That just reminds me of how happy I am
that I get to fight and teach.
MMAWeekly.com: What are your thoughts on educating the public
Quach: Sometimes I think that people get so caught up in
defending MMA that they lose themselves in all of the hyperbole. We are all
athletes who train hard in a lot of different disciplines and arts, and its
great and all, but when it comes down to it, MMA is still fighting. It’s not
something you should bring your young kids to or have them train in.
Yeah, it’s good that they do wrestling and jiu-jitsu and get
all the benefits (like discipline, respect, confidence, mental toughness) of
martial arts, but it’s not good to teach young kids to fight, to beat people
up. It’s a mature sport. You have
to be mature to do it. You see
what happens even when adults do it, a lot them aren’t really mature enough to
be responsible with it. I guess I just want people to realize that they still
need to be responsible with it and don’t teach your little kids to be a bully
and beat up other kids.
MMAWeekly.com: Tell us a little bit about the career aspect
of the sport as it garners more attention.
Quach: Being a fighter isn’t real glamorous unless you’re a
big guy, but the featherweights still aren’t getting the same kind of
attention. It’s getting better
though and I’m happy about that. I’m
just very grateful that I’ve been able to get a lot of help from a lot of
people. My parents, they let me live there and they feed me. Coach trains me
and gives me a job teaching at the gym, so I got a regular gig. Now the guys at Iridium help take care
of me. These guys are actually friends from the gym, and they’ve done a great
job hooking me up. That’s why if things keep going like this, I think I still
have plenty of fights left in me.
I’m just having such a fun time with everything right now, I can’t wait
for Bellator to start so I can get in there and start mixing it up with all
MMAWeekly.com: You have a pretty strong fan base. What are
your thoughts on your fans?
Quach: It’s not always easy to show fans how much I
appreciate them, but I know that this sport needs them. For all the fans who
live in southern California, I hope you’ll come down to Team Oyama and allow me
the opportunity to give back and give you whatever knowledge I have to
offer. I’m going doing my
best in Bellator and I hope for your continued support. Thanks for your
I just wanted to thank everyone who has helped me along the
way and been a big part of my fighting career: Colin Oyama and all the other coaches at Team Oyama, you can
check us out at www.TeamOyamaMMA.com;
Ian and Jason at Iridium Sports Agency; my sponsors
including Everlast, BodyBuilding.com, FighterWarehouse and Vindication Clothing.