by Mick Hammond
2005 was looking like it could be a breakthrough year for former Dave “The Warrior” Menne. After having surgery to correct his notoriously bad eyes, Menne looked to add to a winning streak the year prior by going after his sixth win in a row at Extreme Challenge 63.
After winning the first round in the eyes of many spectators in his fight against Team Quest’s Ed Herman, Menne suffered yet another in a long line of injuries and was forced to quit between rounds. Menne’s shot at a comeback to the big stages of MMA would have to wait as he has been forced to sit out the last couple months rehabbing his injuries.
Recently MMA Weekly caught up with the former UFC Middleweight Champ to discuss his recovery, his continued effort to expand the Minnesota fight scene, and why he’s unhappy with recent comments made on Pride’s Bushido: The Tournament PPV.
“The injury is doing okay I guess,” said Menne of his groin muscle tear. “I’ve been rolling again but just back and forth a bit. It’s fine one day and harder to deal with the next. Right now I’m just working around stuff and re-strengthening it and every once in a while going for an ultra sound.”
Menne has long suffered from various injuries at one point or another during his 8-year career, so often in fact, it’s rare when he’s only dealing with one injury or not injured at all. “I’m nursing a shoulder issue too, but that seems to have come around a bit as has my ankle problems.”
As for when he will return to fighting, Dave seems cautiously optimistic that he’ll return in 2005. “I would say it’s a distinct possibility I’ll fight before the end of the year. Most likely late November of December, I could push to do something earlier if an opportunity presents itself.”
Regardless of his own timetable to return to action, Menne has kept busy co-promoting Extreme Challenge shows in his native Minnesota with manager supreme Monte Cox.
“I really haven’t thought about it that much (my return to fighting), I’ve been too worried about putting together a show in October. It’s going to be on October 21st at the Medina Ballroom, which is about 20-25 minutes outside of Minneapolis. We’re going to have Travis Wiuff on it, Brock Larson, Laverne Clark, a few other possible big names and local talent on the card. We’re putting that together right now, getting sponsors online, advertising and getting the local guys secured to it.”
Being the first ever UFC Middleweight Champion, Menne had a vested interest in this past weekend’s Bushido: The Tournament show which set the foundation for their first crowning of a champion at 183 pounds. In particular, Dave is interested in the finals between Dan Henderson and the man who defeated Menne for his title in 2002, Murilo Bustamante.
“It should be an interesting fight between Henderson and Bustamante; it will be a tough fight,” commented Menne. “A good amount of it will matter on if Murilo can keep Dan on the outside. Henderson is good at knocking people down when he gets close, so Bustamante has to keep range on him and use his reach advantage. Murilo has to circle and establish his jab and cross, if he does that it could be bad for Henderson.”
Dave continued, “They’re both savvy competitors but I’m leaning towards Henderson (to win) a little bit. Murilo has the tools to beat Dan, whether or not he’ll be able to use them is up to him. Henderson is what he is, he keeps coming forward and eventually he lays a hand on somebody, hurts them and puts them down.”
Fights aside, Menne took particular notice to something that was said during the broadcast. “In the commentary for one of (Hayoto) Sakurai’s fights, they said he dropped me (in our fight) and that didn’t happen. The fight was stopped because of a cut to my cheek. I don’t feel that fight should have gotten stopped, it was a bad cut but it wasn’t above my eye and it wasn’t bleeding. I was on top of him (Sakurai) hammering down on him when they stopped it. He’s a good competitor, but I’m not happy about that stoppage and not happy about the comments made on the PPV.”
As for his own championship aspirations, Menne is more than open to the idea of going to Pride and showing that he is still a force at the weight he once held a major title in. “183 pounds is a very easy weight for me to make, I could do it tomorrow, that’s definitely not difficult for me. I would be interested in going over there, it’s fun to travel and fight in front of the Japanese fans.”
“Obviously I’m just getting ready to fight anywhere. I’m trying to get all my limbs connected and my head screwed on straight and see if I can take things forward from there. Divide and conquer the division, that’s always the goal, the vision and quest. We’ll just plan on it rather than think about it,” concluded Menne.
People interested in attending Extreme Challenge 65 can call (763) 478-6661 for ticket information or visit http://www.medinaentertainment.com/ and clicking on their October events calendar for more details.