by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
As World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion “Razor” Rob McCullough steps in to defend his title for a second time, he will again face the multitude of questions about the classic match-up of striker versus grappler, and it’s something he’s had to deal with his entire career.
In the early part of his mixed martial arts career, McCullough was a prominent kickboxer who tried to show the world just how well rounded he really was and as he disclosed in a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio, he tried so hard that it cost him a fight.
After dominating a fight on his feet, McCullough’s opponent repeatedly shot in to take him down and the California native says he went for every submission he could think of, but didn’t land any to end the fight and after it was all said and done he lost a decision.
Once the fight was behind him, he adapted a new philosophy… have fun and do what you do best.
“I’m going to stick with what I have fun doing, what I’m good at. Knocking people’s heads off,” said McCullough. “I’ll get into submissions on the ground when I’m training with my partners, but to be honest, when I’m out there and I’m in the cage and I know it’s real, I just want to beat the hell out of someone.”
His style has worked flawlessly in his career lately, winning nine fights in a row, with seven of them coming by way of TKO or knockout.
Now, McCullough will once again face the age-old scenario when a devastating striker is involved in a match-up that his kryptonite will be to take him to the ground.
“It’s kind of a joke around with my trainers and my camp that when they line up another fight for me, ‘okay you’re going to fight Razor Rob, he’s a kickboxer…just take him down!’” McCullough said with a laugh. “I’m just wondering in the corners of how many guys I’ve fought that heard that. Just take him down. And it doesn’t seem to be the best game plan so far.”
While his opponent, Jamie Varner, actually has a fairly extensive boxing background, it’s his ground game that has garnered the most attention going into this fight and McCullough is confident that his opponent will go back to what he knows best during this fight as well.
“In the heat of the battle, a guy usually goes back to what he feels most comfortable, Jamie’s seems to be wrestling,” he commented. “So I’m assuming he’s going to throw a little hands, try to set up a takedown and just try to mash out a slow win, but that ain’t going to happen.”
Slow wins are something that McCullough isn’t accustomed to, winning the majority of his fights in the first or second rounds, but with a five-round title fight scheduled, the champ feels his conditioning could also be an advantage over Varner, who has never had to prepare for a 25-minute fight before.
“All my training sessions all have to entail five rounds; five, five-minute rounds. I usually add a minute to my rounds so I’m doing like six-minute rounds, just for a little extra,” McCullough said. “That being on my side, I think that definitely plays into it. Especially, Jamie’s style, very aggressive and he likes to push the pace, and Albuquerque, New Mexico’s at a high altitude, which is definitely going to play a factor on his lungs.”
The Huntington Beach native, who actually used to bus tables at a restaurant in his hometown and waited on fighters such as Tank Abbott, will have close friend Tito Ortiz in his corner for the fight and keeps his prediction for the upcoming title fight simple.
“I’m going to step in there. I’m going to smile at him. We’re going to bang it out. I’m going to smash his head open and I’m getting my belt on and I’m going to fly home and have my after party.”
“Razor” Rob McCullough will defend his lightweight title against Jamie Varner on Feb. 13 in Albuquerque.