September 23, 2005

by MMAWeekly Radio & Jeff Cain
James Irvin broke the news Wednesday on MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio that while his fight is off on October 3rd, he will fight again on November 19th. James was scheduled to take on Stephan Bonnar, but a broken hand forced Bonnar out of the bout. Unable to find an opponent for Irvin on such short notice, the UFC removed him from the card. Irvin spoke exclusively to MMAWeekly about the disappointment of being pulled from the card, how it will affect his training, and the impending bout with Bonnar now scheduled for November 19th.

James Irvin told MMAWeekly, “I just heard they took me off the card…They couldn’t find no one as a replacement in time…so they bumped to November 19th.” Irvin went on to say, “They really want me to fight him, and I’m more than happy to fight him. As long as his hand is better they said it’s a done deal, or they said they’ll find someone else for me to fight on that card.”

Irvin had put in his time, and done the hard work in preparation for this fight. He thought he was fighting in just couple of weeks, and was training to do just that. Now he won’t be fighting for another nine weeks. Discussing the disappointment of the fight being canceled, James said, “I’m just going to keep on training. It’s kind of a bummer because I fought just four weeks ago, I took about a week and a half off, and then I went right back in to full training mode. And now I’m kind of like man I’m nine weeks out.”

Further discussing how the seven week postponement will affect his training, Irvin said, “There’s no way I could keep at the pace I’m at. These last two weeks were really bad because I had to play a little bit of catch up to get back in shape, but it wasn’t too hard to shake the rust off…Those three hour practices are way too much for me especially the mental part of it. I’m sure the conditioning part we’ll back off, but otherwise I’m going to keep on pushing. Keep on working on my ground game, and stuff like that for the next eight weeks. Just the conditioning I think we’ll back off and start picking up again as we get closer.”

Irvin’s ground game is probably the area of his fighting that gets the most criticism, or skepticism. Questioned about his skills on the ground, James replied, “That’s all I did my first three or four fights. I grounded and pounded. I put people down, and I just double legged them over and over again. I heard after the third fight I had no stand up game, so I stand up, and I start knocking people out. That kind of streak started happening, me getting lucky and knocking people, and now suddenly I have no ground game…I want to stand and trade, and eventually I’ll get to start catching people on the ground. They’ll be surprised, so I’m happy with that.”

Irvin has fought twice in the UFC, debuting as a heavyweight at UFC 51 against Mike Kyle, and against Terry Martin at UFC 54 as a light heavyweight. Asked if it was any easier mentally the second time around, James answered, “It seems like the bigger the fights get the more nervous I get, but the better I perform for some reason. The only fight I lost is against Mike Kyle, and that’s the only fight I wasn’t nervous. These last two, especially the one against Terry Martin, I mean I started getting nervous like the week before. The last three days I was hating life, and I actually performed better.”

Closing out the interview Irvin spoke about who he’d like to face after Stephan Bonnar, and the state of the UFC light heavyweight division. He commented, “Id like, if I beat Bonnar, or when I beat Bonnar, that Forrest Griffin would be the next choice that they would give me, or the next one that they’d want me to go up against. I hope it’s someone like him. I hope it’s someone like that, but that’s up to Joe Silva. I really don’t have too much say of who I get to pick. 205 land is really spread out with the range of fighters. There’s like the top caliber fighters, and there’s like lower caliber fighters, and I think I’m in that lower group right now trying to work my way up. There’s just not too many guys in the middle, I don’t think, right now.”

To hear all of what James Irvin had to say in it’s entirety, click on the radio archive.