– MMAWeekly Radio & Jeff Cain
Chris Brennan, ‘The West Side Strangler,’ will take on Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro on March 3rd in Gracie Fighting Championships (GFC): ‘Team Gracie vs. Team Hammer House.’ Brennan recently spoke with MMAWeekly Radio about his upcoming bout with ‘Shaolin, why he’s not rematching Joe Stevenson in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and more. To hear the interview in its entirety, click on the radio archive.
Brennan and Ribeiro square off in what is being billed as a “super fight” on March 3rd, in Columbus Ohio. Discussing the match up, Brennan said, “As usual, I’m the underdog. That’s all right with me. He is a good fighter. He actually has the kind of style that is bad for me. He is good at getting people down to the ground and being very slow and methodical and winning decisions. All I’ve been working on since my Takase in Pride was getting out from the bottom, you know, getting up and getting back to my feet, sweeping, something to get on top or get back to my feet; so hopefully that will work out here. I’ve got Pete Spratt that’s going to be here tomorrow. He is going to work with me for the next two weeks on my stand up, like always. That always helps. For this fight, hopefully he’ll try and test himself a little bit on the feet too, and give me another chance.”
Will there be any stand-up in this fight? Brennan thinks so. He said, “I hope so. My takedown defense is getting better and better. My wrestling is still shitty, but I’m doing a decent job at stopping the takedown, so I’m hoping for that. He is no Olympic wrestler or anything. He’s got a good double leg, so I’m going to try and fight that off and swing for the fences.”
Brennan was question what he sees in Ribeiro’s game that he can exploit. Chris answered. “On the feet, I think I’m definitely better on the feet. Normally I’m fighting for my life to get to the ground because I’m either fighting a guy who is either taller, or has better stand up than me. In this fight, I feel I have 100% confidence on the feet, and I really don’t think he’s going to submit me on the ground. I know he’s got good ground, but he just fought last weekend against Eiji Mitsuoka and won a unanimous decision over three rounds. I submitted that guy twice in one round in Pride. I know B plus D doesn’t always equal C in this sport, but I think he is more of a decision fighter. I saw him fight in Shooto the night I fought Gomi. He took a guy’s back three rounds in a row and stayed there the whole fight, but never submitted the guy.”
Brennan was offered a fight with “The Ultimate Fighter 2,’ welterweight winner, Joe Stevenson. Brennan holds a win over Stevenson in King of the Cage 1: ‘Bas Rutten’s King of the Cage’ back in October of 1999. It’s a rematch that Stevenson wants, but Brennan didn’t accept the offer.
He told MMAWeekly, “Unfortunately for me and whoever else, I had a fight with Joe Stevenson lined up for April 6th, on the Spike show, but I was offered a fairly small amount of money. This Gracie deal stepped up, pretty much five times the money. I was told by Joe Silva that I was an idiot for taking that fight, but come on. I mean, it was literally five times what they were offering, so I had to go with it. It was unfortunate because I know Joe has wanted to rematch me for a long time, but the money that was being offered for a rematch with a guy I beat in two minutes, who now is their super hero, was not very good.”
MMAWeekly’s Ryan Bennett followed up by asking if he thought he would ever fight in the UFC Brennan answered. “No. He told me if I fight in this event I’ll be done with the UFC, so I guess I’m done with the UFC.”
What about fighting in Pride? Does Brennan think he’ll go back to Pride? He said, “I have a lawsuit actually going with Pride right now because my contract ended about a year and a half ago with two fights left on it, and they refused to pay me or put me in the ring. Now they’re offering to put me back in the ring, but then they’re saying that it may not be in Pride. It could be in SuperBrawl or something else, but I’ll still fight for the money that my Pride contract is for. I don’t care. Whatever. I just want to fight and get paid. This will probably be the last year I fight anyway. My clothing company took off and is doing really, really good. I’m married with three kids, and I’m actually moving to Dallas in June when the kids get out of school.”
Brennan has a clothing company entitled “No Gi,” but it’s not the same company worn by ‘Shogun’ Rua and Vitor Belfort. Brennan’s “No Gi” sued the Brazilian company with the same name. Brennan discussed the legal action taken by his clothing company and the result. He said, “We’ve had our company since November of 2003. November of 2003 is when we actually have record of it. We sponsored Grappler’s Quest in Vegas and whatnot. At the end of 2004, in December, they came on ADCC’s website and said that this is a new company, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then Vitor should up wearing them. Well, our company had already been out there, but we didn’t have the huge dollars that they had to be throwing on all of the big fighters, so it wasn’t quite as seen. They filed for a trademark in Brazil fifteen days before we filed for ours here, but we showed that we were in business before them. Because we filed here first, they realized that they couldn’t do anything, so then they filed after us, about three months after us, in the United States as well. The only thing that could end up happening is they could continue to sell in Brazil, but not here. Now we have, and I forget what it is called. My attorney is taking care of it. We have something where at the border they will turn their products around and send them back to Brazil anytime they try to ship them into the U.S., which is cool.”
Brennan’s MMA career appears to be in its final stages. Fights in the UFC and Pride don’t seem likely, and he has a tough match with ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro the first weekend of March. MMAWeekly contacted the UFC for a response to the comments Brennan made on the radio show. Check back with MMAWeekly.com Monday for the official UFC’s statements concerning Brennan’s comments.