by Ryan Bennett
He is the WEC champion at 145 pounds. He has stepped up in weight lately to fight at 155. He finishes all of his fights and most of the time he can pull out a triangle choke out of anywhere. If you don’t know the name Cole Escovedo yet, you soon will as he is the latest one to talk with MMAWeekly.com in our Names in the Game segment.
MMAWeekly: You dominated the 145-pound division and now you are stepping up at 155. Why come up in weight?
Cole: Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve dominated the 145-pound division given the level and very long list of better more experienced fighters I’ve yet been against. I haven’t stepped up to the 155 division, it’s just that the Poppies fight was demanded, not by me, to be at 155 almost 160, and my last fight was to find a descent opponent to warm up for that rematch and Joe’s record is not bad. He is 0-2 pro, but was like 4-3 or better in amateur fights and fights are fights whether you get paid or not. So, no I am not stepping up, it’s just unfortunate for me that my last couple of fights have been there even though I barely made it up to 150 by weigh-ins. I walk at like 147. I’m a true 145er.
MMAWeekly: As dominant as you’ve been in the lower weight, do you feel you can still be dominant when the fighters at 155 are so much bigger than you are?
Cole: Again, I’ve been lucky, not dominant. I think 10%training and 90% luck in this sport. “The more I train, the luckier I get.” (Rickson Gracie-Choke) I do not wish to try and fight challenging opponents at 155 till I get more experience and can consistently walk around above 155, so that I’m not so out weighed at weigh-ins. But if Ultimate Fighter came a calling then I might think twice. Hint… hint… Dana.
MMAWeekly: You are the king of the triangle. I saw the flying triangle out of you this past weekend. You put it off like it’s nothing. How did you get so proficient at the triangle?
Cole: I don’t know about the king. There are a lot of other fighters that pull off multiple moves like nothing. I just see my opening and take it. While they think punch, I think leg over the shoulder. Now, as far as being proficient, I have great coaches and partners who expect nothing less; guys like David and Daniel Camarillo of Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu and A.K.A. and Josh Koscheck, Ted Stobie, Jason Hannon, T.K., Seo and Greg Asbury who all push me and each other to make each other better.
MMAWeekly: Would you rather finish your opponents by KO or Triangle?
Cole: I would always rather submit, not necessarily triangle, over KO simply because I’ve broken my hand fighting Boa Quach when we beat the hell out of each other. So more tapping, less punching and I keep my medical bills down and my opponents more likely to have a drink with me at the after party.
MMAWeekly: Whom do you look up to in the fight game?
Cole: Guys like Chuck Liddell, who comes back from a loss, changes what he needs to and wins is a perfect example of evolution in our sport today. Nick Diaz is a guy who still takes time at shows to talk to the fans no matter how far he’s gone. He remembers where he started and doesn’t forget what it’s like to be that nervous guy, still new to the sport. As cocky as he seems, it’s more confidence of his abilities, I think.
MMAWeekly: For the fans who haven’t seen you, who fights most like you in UFC or Pride?
Cole: I wouldn’t say I’m like any UFC or PRIDE fighter for two reasons: 1.) I don’t think I’m anywhere near their level, and 2.) I want to be recognized for my own style and my own personality. This way I don’t become just another name in the masses. I want to standout. But If I had to pick, I would say PRIDE: Nogueira because he loves to submit and can at will; UFC: maybe Nick Diaz cause everyone expects him to submit you and then Bang! He knocks out Robbie Lawler. I have knocked people out when they expected me to submit them.
MMAWeekly: Is there anybody in the UFC or Pride you feel you can beat right now? Who would it be?
Cole: In my most honest opinion, no, I don’t feel I weigh enough yet to be even on weight, nor do I feel I have the experience yet of the level of fighters in those organizations, but hopefully there will be a true 155 or 145 tournament and then maybe I could have a chance in the big show.
MMAWeekly: Who is overrated in the fight game?
Cole: I wouldn’t really say that I think any opponent is truly overrated. Everyone has their opinions. I think everyone is overrated at one point or another.
MMAWeekly: Who is underrated?
Cole: Again, everyone is underrated at one point or another like Franklin was for a while until he proved why he shouldn’t be.
MMAWeekly: Is there one guy out there you would love to fight?
Cole: I don’t go looking for fights; it’s just not me. I fight who they give me. I know how cliché it sounds, but I just want to build experience against opponents who will up the challenge every fight so I train and I fight who they tell me. I know eventually to get the big pay days and get the big show exposure and recognition I want, I will have to pick fights, but when I am ready to fight at that level then I will.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for making time, anybody else you want to thank?
Cole: Yeah, my team at Pacific Martial Arts in Fresno, California. (Mike Popp especially.) The guys up at A.K.A., David Camarillo, Josh Thomson, Mike Swick, and Jon Fitch, especially Bob Cook a great trainer and corner. My mom brother and daughter and my girl who all support me and help me anyway they can. And well I didn’t really have any sponsors this time around except Sucker Punch Fight Wear and the guys of TAPOUT hooked me up this time out. And to all who helped and continue to help me train hard and keep fighting. Thanks for taking the time to interview me Ryan; I really appreciate the exposure from such a recognizable name in the sport.