by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
2005 was supposed to be a comeback year for “The Warrior” Dave Menne. But after struggling through injuries at the beginning of the year, Menne managed to return to action in June with a win. In his second fight of the year against Ed Herman, Dave appeared to be winning the fight until he suffered yet another injury that put him out of commission for the remainder of the year.

After nearly half a year away from competition Menne is set to return on January 20th as part of Rumble on the Rock’s 175lb tournament. Recently Dave had an opportunity to speak to MMA Weekly about his year and what he has planned for 2006.

“I would say I would categorize it predominantly as a rebuilding year,” said Menne of 2005. “I had my eyes fixed and I’m trying to heal my injuries and get back into fighting shape. I guess you could say it was a preparation year.”

It would be difficult for anyone to have a positive outlook on a year in which they battled through numerous injuries and lost time they could have spent doing what they enjoy the most. But for Menne, he looks at his time away from fighting as not so much a negative, but as an opportunity to take care of other business.

It can be a bit disenchanting but at the same time it gave me some time to focus on some other areas of my life” admitted Dave. “It gave me some time to put some mental energy into where I think my career’s going, my studio, and the things I’d like to do on the side. I guess our setbacks can be steps forward if we look at them the right way.”

Now that he is getting healthy Menne has set his focus to the upcoming ROTR tournament in which he’ll be facing Jake Shields in the first round. For this tournament Dave will be going below his normal middleweight status in order to make the 175lb limit.

According to Menne the change in weight something he’s already begun to accustom his frame to. “I’m getting close, I imagine I’ll be walking around at about 180lbs. I don’t want to have to cut more than five pounds of water weight. I think I’m on track to make a clean cut. I’ve never failed to make weight in my life and I don’t plan to start this time.”

Menne’s opponent, Jake Shields, is a former Shooto Middleweight Champion, a veteran of Abu Dhabi, and is known for having one of the best ground games around. As Dave explained, it’s something that he’s aware of and something he’s preparing for along with his normal training routine.

“I think there’s some things I’m probably going to do in the last couple weeks of training that are geared specifically towards him,” explained Menne. “I’ll probably concentrate on takedown defenses and schemes. There’s stuff that I’d be training for like everyone else, but I might focus more on those things for this fight. Right now it’s all coming together, my mind and body are in shape, my weight’s coming down and my cardio is getting stronger.”

If all goes according to plan, Menne is looking for the upcoming year to be what this past one should have been. “I would imagine one way or another to be on the top. I’d like to continue on and win this tournament and then face the next best opponents out there, whoever they may be. I want to continue to try to keep the (Extreme Challenge) shows in Minnesota going one way or another and keep my career going forward and upwards.”

Dave finished up the conversation by saying, “I want to thank Absolute Bail Bonds and The Seville Club. They’re going to have pictures from the last Extreme Challenge and a quick video clip of me training for this upcoming fight at www.TheSevilleClub.com. They’ll have more information soon on the next Extreme Challenge, which is taking place on February 17th at the Medina Ballroom (near Minneapolis). We’re hoping to have Brock Larson, Dan Casey, Travis Wiuff and Roger Huerta on the card.

Menne concluded, “I’m not really known for tag lines because I’m a man of few words, but I let my actions speak for me and I feel people expect big things from me in 2006.”