When Sean McCorkle started fighting and posting on MMA forums, he never imagined that just a short while later he’d be in the co-main event of a UFC event, but that’s exactly where he sits just days away from UFC 124 in Montreal.
The Indiana native has long followed the sport, and loved to antagonize fans and fighters alike on the popular Underground forum on MMA.tv. When the call came to fight in the UFC, even McCorkle admits his mind was officially blown.
“It is insane, really,” McCorkle told MMAWeekly Radio. “It is weird for sure. It’s not really something I ever dreamed of because I never really considered it a possibility. When I was a kid, I used to dream about playing in the NFL or NBA or something like that, the UFC wasn’t around when I was young.”
McCorkle made his debut at UFC 119 in Indianapolis where he submitted former K-1 and Pride fighter Mark Hunt in the first round. He boasts that his submission came eight times faster than that of former top heavyweight Fedor Emelianeko, but just because he likes to joke around and have fun, don’t take that as a sign that he’s not working hard to earn his spot on the roster.
“I’m just being me. That’s who I am and how I talk on a day-to-day basis,” said McCorkle of his Internet celebrity. “Just because I like to have fun with it, doesn’t mean that I don’t take it seriously. Even though I like to joke around and have fun with it, I don’t consider this a joke. That’s not a reflection of how hard I work at it.”
After getting matched up with Stefan Struve at UFC 124, McCorkle was up to his old tricks. He’s had more jokes at Struve’s expense than anyone can count on their fingers and toes, and it probably won’t stop until they swing the first punch on Saturday night.
Still, some believe that the trash talk McCorkle has launched at Struve could serve as motivation for the six-foot-11-inch Dutchman. McCorkle says if Struve isn’t already motivated before he ever said a word, he’s in the wrong business.
“People say, ‘Aren’t you afraid that you’re gonna motivate Stefan Struve with all the stuff you’re saying?'” McCorkle said. “If he wasn’t motivated, he wouldn’t be in the UFC very long anyway. I’m motivated by money and the opportunity that I have. I’m not gonna work harder if someone is talking bad about me. That doesn’t motivate me. I work as hard as I possibly can all the time.”
The games have been fun leading up to the fight. Struve even went as far as going on McCorkle’s virtual home soil on the Internet forums and asked fans to produce a Photoshop image of his opponent that he could use during the UFC 124 pre-fight press conference on Thursday.
It doesn’t make McCorkle mad that Struve went that route because it only served as even more fire to build the fight between the two heavyweights.
“That’s all just funny to me. That’s all just more publicity for me,” he commented.
McCorkle’s plans for the UFC 124 festivities will start long before Saturday night also, and he has something very special planned for the weigh-ins on Friday. The Indiana fighter will have a special guest walking out with him as he hits the scales, and he says it’s someone of gargantuan status in the MMA world.
“Everybody thought it was gonna be Randy Couture because I’ve trained with Randy,” said McCorkle. “It’s actually somebody bigger than Randy. I actually asked John Cougar Mellencamp, but he wouldn’t do it.”
So no rendition between “Big Sexy” and Mellencamp of “Pink Houses” at the weigh-ins, but the special guest will be another addition to the fun ride that McCorkle plans on having all the way up to the fight. As far as the actual bout goes, he’s confident that Struve will have no miraculous comeback in this fight as he’s done in past performances.
“I’m gonna beat Struve, and I think I’m gonna beat Struve in the first round. Everybody says, ‘Aw, you’re crazy, he can take a beating.’ Well, he hasn’t taken one of my beating’s yet,” McCorkle stated.
After Saturday night is over, McCorkle expects much of the same reaction he got to his last fight, and that’s fine by him. He’s happy to be in the UFC, he’s happy to be fighting full time, and the talk will just fuel him for another run at Internet fame.
“I just kind of wonder what’s next because I’m gonna beat Struve, I’m gonna beat him fast, and then everyone will say he sucked all along and was never any good, just like Mark Hunt,” said McCorkle. “I don’t really know what’s next. Hopefully I’ll still be on the main card from now on because that makes a gigantic difference in sponsorship money, as I’m finding out.”