by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
At this past weekend’s BodogFight event in Trenton, New Jersey, MMA veteran Trevor Prangley fulfilled his longtime ambition to go from perennial title contender to actual title holder, when he dominated fellow vet Yuki Kondo to claim the promotion’s Middleweight Championship.
Some would say it’s been a long time coming for the South African native Prangley, who, despite an impressive 16-3 record, has seemingly flown under the radar of the MMA community more often than not.
After years of nomad-like movement through various organizations, Trevor has settled down with BodogFight and has found a home. In return he’s delivered for the promotion, often providing some of the most exciting action the young company has seen, with the prospects of continuing that trend in the coming year.
Shortly after teaching a class at his branch of the famed Lion’s Den Gym in his transplanted hometown of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, Prangley spoke with MMAWeekly about his win over Yuki Kondo, his new status as Champion, and being called out by the Number 2 Ranked Middleweight in the World.
MMAWeekly: First off, Trevor, tell us how you feel about your in-ring performance this past weekend.
Trevor Prangley: I felt like it was probably one of my best performances, ever. I was in great shape, went out with a gameplan to not give him a chance to get any of his rhythm going, and we managed to pull it off. There were a couple of areas where I maybe could have stayed more active on, but, aside from that I think I had a dominating performance.
MMAWeekly: Prior to the fight I know a lot of people saw the match-up as your physical strength versus Kondo’s finesse game. Is that how you saw it too?
Trevor Prangley: I was expecting that for sure, yeah. I was actually quite surprised that I was able to stand in there and strike with him on the feet as I did. I thought he was going to be a little bit more aggressive than he was. I did hit him pretty hard right off the bat – which is what we planned on doing – to put a little bit of fear into him to make him keep his distance a little bit, and it worked out that way.
MMAWeekly: You’ve made your championship aspirations no secret in interviews with us over the past couple years. How does it feel to have finally gotten that much-wanted opportunity finally and to have achieved that goal?
Trevor Prangley: Getting the opportunity was great. Obviously, I feel I deserved it, being one of their top 185’ers. I’ve come in and always given them exciting fights. So, they gave me the opportunity, and they gave me a legitimate opponent.
Yuki Kondo has been around forever and fought a lot of tough competition, so I was glad about that. I’ve said it before; I don’t want to fight a nobody for a title. I wanted to fight somebody who was well-known and legitimate, and I did. One of my goals in this sport has been reached – I have a title now, and now there’s the next goal – hanging on to it.
With Bodog I really feel like I’ve found a home. I get a long well with everybody there, Miguel [Iturrate] and even the guys higher up in Bodog. I get along well with everybody and fit in there. I’m happy to be there and be the first 185-pound title holder. With the Kondo and myself fight, we’re both pretty highly ranked fighters, and I think we brought a little bit more legitimacy to the organization, as well to myself with the title.
I want to be that guy that everybody’s headhunting for. I want to be the guy that people want to fight to make a name for themselves. It sounds good to me. You know my career – it’s had some ups and downs, but it’s definitely on the upswing [right now], and I intend to keep it that way.
MMAWeekly: Has any kind of plans for the remainder of your year been worked out yet?
Trevor Prangley: I’m going to definitely fight again this year, obviously. I’d like to fight twice if possible. Right now I’m going to take a break, but there’s some stuff in the pipeline. Matt Lindland just called me out a little bit, I think he wants to come back down to 185, so that’d be a good, tough fight. If I beat him, I’m definitely [going to become] ranked one of the top 185’ers in the world, because he’s ranked up there by many as the Number 1 or Number 2 guy.
MMAWeekly: Speaking of Matt’s challenge, were you expecting that at all or were you there saying to yourself, “What is this guy doing here?”
Trevor Prangley: Nah…I kind of figured he would [challenge me]. He’d been talking about it, we’ve been talking about it, I’ve know Matt well, we’re friends and so I’m not upset with him doing it. It’s good for the promotion to build the hype and I think it’d be a great fight.
MMAWeekly: You’ve even fought for Matt’s promotion, Sportfight, in the past.
Trevor Prangley: That’s right. [Laughs] Like I said, we’re really good friends, but it’s a business and sometimes friends have to fight at some point. He’s one of the top guys in the organization and I’m not going to rob Matt of an opportunity to hold the belt just because we’re friends, so we’ll see what happens.
I think they’re going to be pushing for it, and I’m ready to go. Whatever’s better for the promotion and whatever is better for my career is what I want to do. Beating Matt Lindland would be a huge jump in my career. I’m sure there’s still people out there that question me, so if I can put him away it’d be a huge feather in my cap.
He wants a belt, he’s been around a long time and he hasn’t had the opportunity to fight for one in a while. He wants one and he’s burning for it, so I’d never rob him of that opportunity.
MMAWeekly: Even though you have just gotten a title and are at the top of your game, you still have a chip on your shoulder?
Trevor Prangley: I do. I think every fighter’s got that, but I look at the guys in the Top 10 Rankings and I know for a fact I could beat those guys. I just feel like I should be ranked in the Top 10. Not many people want to fight me – for one, and for two – my loss to Jeremy Horn was kind of iffy; and [the last fight against] Chael Sonnen was just a bad performance, but I had beat him twice before. I believe I belong in the Top 10, and I’m not ranked there, and I want to get in there.
MMAWeekly: Getting away from the fight game for a second, what else is on the horizon for you?
Trevor Prangley: I really have been away for six weeks, I was helping Phil [Baroni] train for his fight [against Frank Shamrock], so I just got back home last night. My school’s doing great [The Lion's Den – Coeur D'Alene] right now, and I think it’s one of the premier MMA schools in the Northwest. I’ve got a great partner in Derek Cleveland who runs everything when I’m away, he does a great job.
He also does the fight promoting too, I just show up and cruise around there. [Laughs] We’ve got an Ultimate Cage Fighting show coming up on July 19th over in Spokane, Washington at the Big Easy, and I hope the fans come and check it out. I really can’t complain where I’m at right now, in my career right now, I just feel blessed and that’s all I can say.
MMAWeekly: Good stuff Trevor, is there anything you want to say as we head out?
Trevor Prangley: I’d like to thank my sponsors: Toe-2-Toe, who’ve been with me over my last couple fights, they’re great, no questions asked, they’re just there; Renegade Fight Gear, he’s a great guy and he came out to my fight, so I wanted to thank him; Pain Inc.; Coeur D’Alene Auto; MMA Jacked, I just picked them up, they’re great too; and West Coast Fight Gear.
I want the fans to always keep their eyes out for me. I’ve become a fighter who finishes his fights. If you look at earlier my career, I was always afraid to take a loss – the UFC puts a lot of pressure on you, if you lose you might be out, back in the day – so I fought conservatively. I don’t fight like that anymore, I fight to finish.
If you look at Yuki Kondo’s career, not many guys have finished him like I did, and when you see that fight on the ION Network in August, you’ll see that. I’m a totally different fighter than I was in the UFC, so people should definitely watch. I’ve been around a long time, but my time is now, I’m 35-years-old and I feel the need to do it right now.
Like I’ve told people before, when I retire my record doesn’t have to be perfect, I want it to be a record that’s fought everybody and when people look at it, they remember the fights and say, “I remember that fight, it was great, those guys really threw down.” I want it to look something like Guy Mezger’s – it’s not perfect, but he’s fought everybody, a who’s who of fighters, and has never backed down from anyone.