2015 has progressed at a rapid pace for Washington-based welterweight Ben Fodor.
Following a win over Jason Novelli at Super Fight League America 3 in February, Fodor was featured on ESPN for his outside MMA persona as real life superhero Phoenix Jones, setting off a series of contract offers that eventually landed him in the World Series of Fighting.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com the week of his WSOF debut, Fodor discussed how he signed with the promotion, his first fight for them this Friday and doing things his way in MMA.
MMAWeekly.com: We last spoke to you shortly after your feature on ESPN’s SportsCenter and you had mentioned you were getting offers from promotions, and then a few days later signed with WSOF. Tell us about signing with them.
Ben Fodor: It was actually a pretty simple process once I really got to break it down and think about it. The WSOF were just really respectful and they didn’t want to take my Phoenix Jones stuff. Once they didn’t want to own anything, I was much more comfortable working for them.
MMAWeekly.com: So other promotions wanted more than Ben Fodor, the fighter?
Ben Fodor: Even though WSOF is putting me on the card as Phoenix Jones, they don’t want to own it. I don’t care if you call me Phoenix Jones when I’m fighting, but what I don’t want is for you to make action figures, sell t-shirts, and make movie licenses. All this is what was on other contracts. That had nothing to do with fighting.
MMAWeekly.com: What does it feel like to join a nationally televised promotion and take this next step in your MMA career?
Ben Fodor: The league doesn’t really make the fighter any better, I think. It’s all in who you get matched up with. What’s been crazy for me has been all the medical (required for the fight), the media, everything. I just want to get into the gym. There are so many obstacles just to get to the gym.
MMAWeekly.com: Let’s talk about your first WSOF bout this Friday at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut against Emmanuel Walo. What do you think about facing him?
Ben Fodor: I think Emmanuel is pretty much better than me everywhere. He has more experience, he’s been on bigger shows, he has fought some good opponents, and he has good stand-up and decent ground. If I didn’t know me as a person, I would definitely consider me the underdog.
The thing is, I have cardio and set a pace that he can’t keep up with, so that’s going to be my advantage. It’s not going to be a skill fight. Right now I don’t have the technique to beat him skill-for-skill. It’s going to be a will power and training thing. I’m going to get in his face, push the pace, throw punches from all angles and doing everything with all my heart. He’s not going to be able to handle the pressure.
MMAWeekly.com: With all the hype surrounding you heading into this fight, is it difficult to not look too far ahead and see more for yourself?
Ben Fodor: People who know me already know you’re not going to get me to do something I don’t want to do. No matter how much money you put in front of me or what you say, it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to cheat myself out of my advantages. If they offered me a title shot after this fight, I’d turn it down. Depending on how this fight goes, I’m a legitimate two or three fights away from a shot, and I’m not going to let anyone cheat me out of that.
MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for taking time out for us Ben. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
Ben Fodor: Yeah I’d like to say something to Melvin Guillard. Please leave, because I would like to fight for (the WSOF). I would like to move forward and have faster fights and get things done. Melvin, you’re delusional if you think you’re going back to the UFC. They have your number and I don’t think they’re calling.
You’re a guy who I’d really like to fight because you were a hero of mine when I was younger. I loved to watch you fight and thought you were awesome, and you ruined it with drugs and a bad attitude. I would love to beat you up because I don’t consider you a man.