by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
(Editor’s note – if you missed Sam’s apperance on Thursday’s radio show,you missed his epic rap segment. It’s worth a listen)
After appearing on the debut season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Sam Hoger, ‘The Alaskan Assassin,’ has looked impressive; defeating Bobby Southworth by unanimous decision and losing a hard fought bout against Stephan Bonnar. This weekend Hoger takes on Jeff ‘The Karate Kid’ Newton at UFC 56: ‘Full Force.’ Hoger spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about this weekend’s bout, what he’s been working on, and the pressure to win.
“I’m looking to have a good time with this one. This is going to be a hell of a fight. I think this guy is going to be bringing it.” Hoger told MMAWeekly.
Hoger expects an exciting match against Jeff Newton. Discussing his opponent, Sam said, “I’ve seen him fight man. The guy is exciting to watch. I’m actually kind of entertained by watching him. He’s like a Genki Sudo type; you never know what to expect from that guy.”
How do you prepare for a guy as unpredictable as Jeff Newton? “You try to get crazier man. Come on. I’m looking to go out there and get really crazy” stated Hoger.
Hoger went on to say, “Pat [Miletich] and the guys over at MFS (Miletich Fighting System): Tim Sylvia, Ben Rothwell; all of those guys have just been hammering me. Every since I’ve been on the show they’ve been putting me through the works because they expect me to constantly be improving because you’ve got to be improving everybody else.”
Sam added, “I’ve been doing a lot of stand up, as you can tell…I’ve been working on a lot of that because I want to bang with this kid.”
‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality show catapults lesser known fighters into public figures, but it also magnifies the pressure to live up to the hype. Question about the added stress going into this fight, Hoger said, “I feel a ton of pressure. I’m like inside the pressure cooker right now. This fight is a huge fight. Every fight now is a huge fight, but this one of those fights where you can hear the music of ‘Jaws’ in the background…And now you’ve got to determine whether or not you’re going to be the shark or the bait. And I’ll tell you, I don’t want to be the bait.”
Sam can’t be feeling any more pressure than Jeff Newton who makes his UFC debut after being away from MMA for two years.
Hoger’s seen tape of Newton fighting, and categorized his style as “unorthodox.” His game plan heading into the UFC octagon this weekend is to “push it. You take it. You bring it to him. You do whatever is necessary to win.” He continued, “You analyze. You know? Punches and punches, kicks and kicks. You break him down one by one and see how he reacts to them.”