by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
On November 2nd the defending IFL champion Quad City Silverbacks look to take another step forward in their quest to repeat and one of the key components in their bid is welterweight standout Rory Markham.
Since the IFL debuted earlier this year Markham has become one of the promotion’s centerpiece fighters, winning all three of his fights for the promotion. In Portland this Thursday he’ll look to add yet another win for himself and add to his team’s total as he faces off against late addition Kieth Wisniewski of Carlos Newton’s Toronto Dragons.
Shortly before heading to Oregon Markham spoke to MMAWeekly to discuss fights, legendary coaches, and a possible rule change he’d like to see in the IFL next season.
MMAWeekly: Before we get into your fights themselves Rory, you’ve been with the IFL since the beginning, so tell us how your experiences with the promotion have been so far.
Rory Markham: I’m feeing great. Like everyone said, and I’m sure everyone’s heard it so many times, these guys really do treat us like professionals. It’s nice that it wasn’t like a start-up company and an MMA promotion where it’s like, “we’re going to see how everything works out.”
These guys are consummate professionals, they knew exactly what they were doing from the jump and have treated us as such ever since. So ever since the inception of the IFL we’ve been treated like professional athletes and that’s what I think MMA needs a lot more of.
MMAWeekly: And of course being defending champions you guys should get a little extra dap right?
Rory Markham: I think so [laughs]…I hope so, let’s see those paychecks keep rolling in here [laughs]. I’d like to get myself a few things so I can start living like a normal person, I’ve been poor long enough [laughs].
MMAWeekly: Okay let’s talk about your last fight in September against Marcelo Santos of the New York Pittbulls. How do you feel about your performance in that fight?
Rory Markham: Last time I got caught up in a submission for a little bit…I’m not going to say it was a perfect performance, all I can say is that I showed a lot of resilience and hopefully it will tell my competition that I’m not that easy to get out of there.
MMAWeekly: When we spoke with your teammate Bart Palaszewski he indicated that he might have underestimated his opponent; do you think that you guys underestimated and perhaps not prepared properly for the Pittbulls?
Rory Markham: We were prepared very well, no doubt our conditioning, preparation and everything was there, but it was like I guess maybe – for the lack of better description – we were really surprised how really strong and forthright they were in their attack.
They came right at us and all of them continued to attack, whereas we were the ones who were going to look to push the pace. It looks like they had the same idea that night. That’s why it was pretty close to the final night for us.
MMAWeekly: We’ve been seeing this season that teams are very much fallowing the set-up the Silverbacks use far as team preparation. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what do you think?
Rory Markham: I think it’s a great compliment. I think deep down inside everyone knows that we’ve got it right in Iowa. We definitely have the right formula for success down here in Bettendorf. It’s a huge compliment to us and we’re just going to keep improving our games and just have to just stay one step ahead of the competition.
MMAWeekly: Okay now let’s talk about your upcoming fight on Thursday against Keith Wisniewski. What are your thoughts on the late substitution and not fighting Claude Patrick who fought in September?
Rory Markham: It’s fine, but I’ll be the first to say that they [the IFL] has to have some kind of rule or stipulation by the start of the new season that teams have to have a roster and adhere to it. Because, let’s say if I decide to take a powder and Matt Hughes, a good friend of mine, wasn’t contractually obligated to the UFC, he could easily step in and say, “you know what, I’ll step in for Rory,” that’d put someone in a real predicament there.
It’s just for strategy-wise and preparation, because this is definitely a sport where you need to prepare for each opponent. Of course everyone is well-rounded and this and that, some guys have better guillotines than triangles, better stand-up than wrestling, so you make a gameplan and most of the time adhere to it.
This makes it so there’s kind of a black hole in that area right now, so we need to figure that out so you can’t keep flip-flopping guys. In the rules it’d be perfectly fine if I pulled out the day of the weigh-ins and somebody else filled in for me, and that can lead to too many surprise attacks. I don’t think that was part of Carlos’ strategy at all, I’m just saying that it’s a void that needs to be filled.
MMAWeekly: Do you know anything about Keith or have you seen any of his fights?
Rory Markham: I watched his fight with [Nick] Thompson [from UFC 56] and I’ve got a few of his tapes. Each fight is different but I was there when he fought [Jason] Black [in Xtreme Kage Kombat] so I kind of have an idea of his style. But like I said you have to take each fight one at a time and I’m going to go out there and adhere to my gameplan and try not to cater to his.
MMAWeekly: Okay let’s talk about the Silverbacks, what are your thoughts on your team’s chances against the Toronto Dragons?
Rory Markham: I think we’re doing great; our confidence is as always – real high. Where you pull guys from and how good they are, in the end you’re not going to find as good a room as the Miletich camp. Everywhere you train you’re going to have a hard night. You’re never going to find an easy opponent or an easy go because every night I stare across the room at either Matt Hughes or Rob [Lawler] or Spencer Fisher, so I think regardless of who he [Newton] tries to bring in we’ll be ready.
MMAWeekly: The other semi-final is the same night between the Portland Wolfpack and Los Angeles Anacondas, any thoughts on who you’d like to face in the finals if you beat the Dragons?
Rory Markham: I have an idea of who [I’d like to face], but I’m not going to go there in my head until we get past this one.
MMAWeekly: Going back a minute to September, your coach Pat Miletich returned to fighting in a tough loss to Renzo Gracie, still it must feel good to have gotten the chance to see him get back in there and do his thing right?
Rory Markham: Absolutely…he made that night historical and that’s what’s great about it. In front of all his hometown fans he gave a lot of people a great night, regardless of the outcome, just getting out there was enough for us to see. Even if he decides to lace ‘em up again I have all the confidence in the world in him. He’s pretty spectacular even in his…um…maturing body [laughs].
MMAWeekly: Thanks for the time Rory; it’s great to talk to you as always. Is there anything you’d like to say as we head out?
Rory Markham: I’d like to thank Joel Gold at Full Contact Fighter, Fairtex, Rich Sumner and Mahoney…Monte Cox, my manager…Pat Miletich, for putting me under his tutelage and being such a great trainer…my mom and God.
Not even speaking on my own individual fight, even if I was just a fight fan myself I’d say this card is stacked. It’d be one that I’d pay for easily on PPV, so being a fan first I’d say that should say it all. I can promise you [about my fight] that if it stays on the feet there’s definitely going to be some fireworks.
MMAWeekly: And of course you’ve got to put on a good show if you want that fight of the night bonus right?
Rory Markham: Absolutely [laughs]…I’m trying to get a new car here so I’m definitely going to be swinging for the fences.