by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
One of the true veterans of the sport Dennis “Superman” Hallman has fought just about everywhere and anywhere he can. Often taking fights ranging from big shows like the UFC to even the smallest venues such as clubs, Hallman has seen and done just about everything.
Currently the only man to ever defeat current UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes twice, Hallman’s submissions have made him a threat every time out against a wide verity of opponents. Most recently Dennis picked up his first fight and win of the year at Valor Fighting’s Showdown at Cache Creek show this past Friday.
Upon winning that bout, Hallman traveled to Las Vegas to be with American Top Team teammate Jeff “Snowman” Monson in his victory over Branden Lee Hinkle at UFC 57. While at fellow UFC veteran Kit Cope’s house in Vegas, Hallman spoke to MMA Weekly about his past year and what his goals for this year are.
“I was transitioning,” said Dennis of his 2005. “Trying to figure out what weight I want to be at and that kind of thing. I had kind of a rough year I guess. I would like to say (distractions were a big part of it), if not I wouldn’t have any other excuse, but I think not training enough was another big part.”
Recently Hallman picked up a quick submission victory over Ray Perales at Valor Fighting in his first fight of 2006. According to Dennis, additional focus and training were the keys to the win. “That fight was pretty easy. I decided to go fight at 175lb because I know if I want to fight at the 170’s I have to train hard to get down in weight. So I trained real hard for this fight, trained for it like it’s a big deal and it went just as planned. My gameplan was to go in there take him down and get a quick submission and it worked out good.”
Hallman continued, “He recently beat one of my friends (Brad Blackburn), so I wanted to avenge one of my friends. I think what it’s going to take (this year) is me training constantly. Like training to fight every day instead of taking time off between fights. Just train constantly, before and after fights. I want to find myself always in shape, always ready to fight and that should work out for me.”
This past year Dennis was diagnosed with chronic fatigue, a problem he had been fighting with, without knowing of, over the course of his entire career. And even though he knows he has it, there is still some question to exactly what it is that he has.
According to Hallman, “We’re still kind of trying to figure out what’s going on. Right now I’m taking thyroid medication because all the tests have been kind of inconclusive, my thyroid was kind of low but my blood sugar was really low, like 52, and that was kind of the red flag. It’s not consistently low, so I’m taking tests to find out if it’s stress induced hypoglycemia or thyroid problems, which I’m taking tests for also right now to find out if I need to change medications.”
One of the things that had also hindered Hallman lately aside from his fatigue, was his splitting time between his own training and working at American Top Team’s Olympia facility, running the MMA course. Recently however Hallman has decided to open his own private training center so he and his teammates can get in the unobstructed work they need to succeed.
“Right now we’re building a training camp on my property,” explained Dennis. “So we’ll have a big 4800 square foot building with everything. Our other place is kind of shut down right now so Jeff (Monson) and I are kind of training on the road, back and forth right now. That works out nice for me, because I find myself training more when I’m not training people. It’ll be Victory Athletics and American Top Team. All my guys are VA and Jeff and I are ATT guys, so it’s going to have the ATT affiliation for sure.”
The new training could help Hallman achieve his goal for this year, which is simply to be one of the best in the welterweight division, regardless of where he may fight. “My goals for myself is to become the best 170lb fighter. That doesn’t mean to hold on to any particular belt for any organization because I just want to beat the best guys, I train for the best guys, and I want to be one of the best guys. If one of the best guys were to fight me outside the UFC it would be just as satisfying as if I were to go into the UFC to fight them. I want to have a couple more tune-up fights so I can get my weight down and get used to it before I take on higher level guys. I just want the best competition.”
Having lived and trained for much of his career in Olympia, Washington, just one hour’s drive from Portland, Oregon, Hallman has become very familiar with Team Quest. Just one day after Dennis’s fight, Quest founding member and MMA living legend Randy Couture retired after his defeat at the hands of Chuck Liddell at UFC 57.
When asked his thoughts about Randy’s retirement, Hallman seems confident that we’ve not heard the last of Couture, “I know Randy just retired, but I know the competition still burns inside of him, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a comeback, a one or two fight comeback.”
Dennis closed out the conversation by wanting to get a word in for his sponsors and by sending a message to the fans. “I want to thank Andy’s Fight Gear, Vicious Fight Gear, Wired Energy and all those guys. Hopefully I can entertain people when they come to watch me. I just want to get those quick submissions that’s becoming a rarely among NHB (MMA) fighting.”