by Mick Hammond, MMAWeekly.com, pictures by Elite FC
Currently the 145lb division is Canada is producing some of the best talent in MMA. From the successes of Ivan Menjivar to Mark Hominick, there seems to wealth of talent developing north of the border.
At this weekend’s King of the Cage Canada’s “Karnage” show in Calgary, Alberta, we could get a glimpse of the country’s next great 145lb talent when Ben Greer steps into the cage against Justin Tavernini.
Greer, currently with a 10-2 overall record, is on the verge of breaking through after having started off 2005 with a victory over highly regarded Ian Loveland in March in a match that many feel is a fight of the year candidate.
Recently Ben spoke to MMA Weekly to discuss his fight with Loveland, his upcoming fight this weekend and how he feels he will make his path towards MMA stardom.
MMA Weekly: First off Ben, people are still buzzing about your fight with Ian Loveland at Elite Fighting. For our readers outside of Canada, tell us about the fight.
Ben Greer: That fight was a battle that went into the middle of the fourth round. I basically took a good beating in the first round, I was able to pick up my pace in the second round, took over in the third and fourth rounds. It was a good experience because I got to know the feeling of losing, being dominated, and to be able to come back and last into the fourth round and get the choke. It was good to be able to out-wrestle a kid from Team Quest, a team that has a lot of good wrestlers.
MMA Weekly: Is that were you feel your game is at its best, on the ground?
Ben Greer: Basically I’m a wrestler, so I like to take people down and work my ground ‘n pound. I love to throw hammer fists and I’m pretty technical on the ground with my striking. Also I train with Marcus Soares, who trained Denis Kang, in Jiu-Jitsu. So my Jiu-Jitsu is getting up there. Every week and every month I feel like my skill level is getting better.
MMA Weekly: What do you feel that you need to work on as you progress as a fighter to become more complete?
Ben Greer: I’d like to work a lot more on my Jiu-Jitsu. I started doing a lot more gi now, so I’d like to eventually get my black belt in gi. Basically I’ve also been working with World Champion boxer Tony Pep on my boxing. I’d like to get my stand-up and Jiu-Jitsu better. In MMA there’s so many things to train in, so you can always improve.
MMA Weekly: Whenever I speak to Pride/KOTC Canada commentator Mauro Ranallo he always says how impressed he is with your performances. How does it feel to know you’re spoken of highly by people in the industry?
Ben Greer: That’s the first time I’ve heard that Mauro said that, that’s really cool to hear that, especially from a guy who is an announcer in Pride. It’s a confidence booster and I’ve found that I’ve been able to put on some exciting fights. My last fight they gave me Martial Artist of the Night and two fights before I was the Fighter of the Night. I just find that I’ve been getting good responses from people who watch the shows that I’m putting on exciting fights, which is great because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
MMA Weekly: Okay let’s move on to your upcoming fight this weekend against Justin Tavernini. Do you know anything about him or what to expect in this match-up?
Ben Greer: I know he’s a good Muay Thai fighter, he’s a Canadian Champ and he’s got a fairly experienced trainer. So basically I’m expecting good kicks, knees and elbows, but I know that his wrestling is weak and his Jiu-Jitsu is okay, so I’m looking to take it to the ground more.
MMA Weekly: Should all go well against Tavernini, what goals do you have set for yourself for the remainder of the year?
Ben Greer: I’m hoping to next get a title fight against Ryan Diaz who is the Canadian KOTC Title holder. He’s actually fought Mark Hominick twice and I think for me, he’s the next step. Eventually what I think I need to do is fight guys like Hominick, Ivan Menjivar and get noticed. I’ve also only been training in Jiu-Jitsu for about a year and a half so I feel I need to train more on my Jiu-Jitsu. In my year and a half I feel like I’ve learned so much, but I feel if I keep up this pace who knows where I’ll go.
MMA Weekly: Ultimately would you like to remain fighting in North America or would you like to head overseas in the future?
Ben Greer: Things are moving along good here but I’d like to fight in Japan just for the experience. If it takes me somewhere that’s great, but also at the same time I’d like to fight in North America quite a bit too. I guess the major goal for me at my weight would be to go somewhere like Shooto. At the rate I’m improving if I just wait another year or year and a half, that’s when I can take off. So for me I’m trying to relax and take my time, but then eventually I hope I can move up to 155lbs and go to the UFC or Pride.
MMA Weekly: Well we have to end things here, thanks for your time Ben, it’s greatly appreciated. Is there anything you’d like to say as we head out?
Ben Greer: Basically all I have to say is that my last three or four fights I’ve put on a really good show and got a good response from the fans. They say I’m an exciting fighter, so if you come out to watch it’s going to be an exciting fight.