As is always the case, former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten continues to be one of the busiest men in MMA.
Along with shooting a mid-year recap for the World Series of Fighting to air on NBC on Saturday afternoon, Rutten was also announced as an inductee to the UFC Hall of Fame, in addition to all his other endeavors.
Speaking to Rutten about his projects right now, he told MMAWeekly.com his thoughts on what the WSOF has done in 2015, what it’s like to be part of the pioneer section of the UFC Hall of Fame, and what he’s working on for the second half of the year.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Bas, tell us your involvement in the upcoming WSOF Unstoppable: The Road Ahead special on NBC.
Bas Rutten: It will show what the WSOF has done the first half of the year until now. Expect to see all the upsets, explosive fights, and what to look out for in the next part of the year.
Renzo Gracie, Todd Harris, and I went to the NBC New York studios and just talked about fights. Renzo and I were breaking fights down. We actually spoke to the fighters, Marlon Moraes and David Branch, and got their input and insights into what they were thinking while they were fighting. And of course, Todd Harris ties it all together.
MMAWeekly.com: What is it like working with Renzo all these years after knowing him?
Bas Rutten: Renzo and I have a really great relationship. We go back a long time. I had a great relationship with his brother Ryan, who sadly passed away too young. But Renzo’s just one of those guys who every fighter likes. I don’t think there’s a fighter out there who doesn’t like Renzo. He’s one of those guys you can’t help but like.
MMAWeekly.com: Give us your thoughts on some of the fighters featured in the Unstoppable special.
Bas Rutten: Let’s start with Gaethje. Gaethje is on a tear. He’s undefeated; he’s pretty much knocked everybody out. He’s a great wrestler with really good hands. I think he’s good anywhere. I really like to see him fight. His fight with Luis Palomino should be a Fight of the Year candidate.
And then David Branch, beating (Yushin) Okami was a big thing for him. He had been all over the place, but he’s gotten confident. In the gym, they told him to do what he was doing in there in his fights, and he took it to heart, and has started knocking people out and submitting people.
Bas Rutten: It’s crazy and really cool. Things like that always simmer with me and become bigger and bigger once I start realizing what it is. I’m extremely honored.
A guy told me that there are only nine fighters in there right now, so that makes it even more special. Being part of the pioneer section, it will only grow so much, because there are only so many pioneers. So even a thousand years from now, there will be a lot of champions in there, but the pioneers will stay the same. It’s only one core group who started this whole journey in MMA. I’m extremely proud of that.
Also to be inducted with BJ (Penn) is great. I’m a big BJ fan and he and I are good friends. Jeff Blatnick is also going in, and he’s another one who passed way too young, and was a super-nice guy. I always say “icing on the cake,” and I try to find another phrase, but it really is the icing on the cake. This is really cool.
MMAWeekly.com: Before we go, Bas, tell us what else people can expect to see from you this year.
Bas Rutten: I have two movies coming out, just festival movies, so nothing major. I’m working on a TV (show) I did, and hopefully that will be something we’ll see. I’m working hard on my O2 Trainer, the device that I invented for my lungs, that cures asthma now – I just have to get money for medical testing to prove it – but I’m cured of my asthma, so there’s a lot of focus on that. And the Body Action System I have has a pro version coming out that I’m looking to get into gyms.
I have a lot of things that I’m trying out, feeling out, and waiting to see what works out. I’m having a great life. I’m very happy with what I have right now.
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(Video courtesy of Inside MMA)