Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rex Holman Talks Couture & UFC Debut in Quick Interview

When people think of Rex Holman, they think of an NCAA wrestling champion. After Holman leaves the octagon on Saturday, March 2, 2007 at UFC 68: “The Uprising” live from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio., hopefully people will see him as a fighter. On that date, Holman will take on another wrestler who is trying to make the transition in mixed-martial-arts -- Matt Hamill. Here is what Holman told ADCC News about making his UFC debut and his past wrestling experience.

ADCC: Rex let’s talk about your collegiate wrestling years. Is it true the you beat Randy Couture?
REX: We wrestled more than once, probably about six times during my freshman and sophomore years. He wrestled at Oklahoma State and I was at Arizona State. I would have to do some research to figure out exactly how many times we wrestled. We met at National Duels, Duel meets, Las Vegas Open, and the Cowboy Classic. That was between 1990-91. I lost to him once during that span. I remember that one as it was a duel in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He took a quick lead early in the match and I closed it up at the end and had to prevent him from escaping with a couple seconds on the clock, but he escaped. One of the wins that stands out in my mind is the win at the Las Vegas Open during my sophomore year in the finals. It was a battle of wills and I ended up scoring a go ahead takedown in the third period. I have nothing but respect for him as he has always been a class act and to talk about something that happened that long ago does not seem relevant. But you asked.

ADCC: You won the NCAA Championships in 1993 at Ohio State University, and placed in the US Freestyle Olympic trials in 1996 and 2000. What are you most proud of and who are some of the toughest wrestlers you have been matched up with?
REX: Winning anything is always a good thing. My NCAA title symbolized perseverance to me. I have a lot of great memories. My freshman year I wrestled in a dual at Cal State Bakersfield against an excellent wrestler named Paul Keysaw, who would win an NCAA title the next year against Couture in the finals. He thumped me 8-2. Two weeks later, I wrestled him the semi-finals of the Pac 10 tourney at his home gym. I ended up winning with a takedown as time expired. Tough wrestlers that I wrestled against that have a fighting background: Mike Van Arsdale, Randy Couture, Vladimir Matyshenko, Mark Kerr, Mark Coleman. There are a lot of tough guys that wrestle..

ADCC: You were once a teammate and trained with Pride and UFC veteran Kevin Randleman. You also have helped prepare Mike Van Arsdale for some fights as well. How much have they influenced you in your transition to mma?
REX: Not so much in MMA. They were more wrestling training partners. Although, both have had a very positive influence on me

ADCC: What took you so long to get involved in mma and how long do you see yourself fighting?
REX: In the 90's, mma was not for me. There were few rules. I like what the sport is becoming and wanted to take part in it.

ADCC: Well the wait and the years paid off and you will be making your UFC debut on March 3rd, 2007 in your hometown. What’s more nerve racking, making your UFC debut or fighting in front of your friends and family?
REX: Neither is nerve wracking. I am excited about the opportunity to display my skills, conditioning, and athleticism. I equate nerve wracking as worrying and I have pretty much eliminated that from my thought process. You are either prepared or not and leave it up to a higher power to determine the outcome.

ADCC: Your opponent will be Ultimate Fighter Three participant Matt Hamill. How do you assess his wrestling ability and do you think he has faced anyone of your wrestling ability?
REX: He has very good wrestling. We are probably similar in that we both have specific takedowns that we like to utilize. He has been out to the Olympic Training Center, so he has faced excellent wrestlers.

ADCC: People think that with the both of your wrestling abilities, this fight will turn into a wrestling match. How do you see this fight unfolding?
REX: Hard to say. I work very hard at my stand up. I envision some wrestling, striking, and groundwork. I think it will be very interesting to an experienced fan to see how it unfolds.

ADCC: It’s Saturday night, March 3rd. Hamill is standing across from you and the bell rings. What happens next?
REX: I win.

ADCC: Who are training with for this fight?
REX: Sean Salmon, who just fought against Rashad Evans at the Ultimate Fight Night, Marc Cofer who wrestled at Ashland University in Ohio and was a Division II All American, and BJ Hedger, no big credentials, but a super guy with good knowledge.

ADCC: Well good luck in your UFC debut Rex. Do you have anything to say to your fans or sponsors?
REX: Sponsorship has not been finalized. Most people know me as a wrestler. After this event, I want to become known for my fighting. I want to make an impact such that people feel that they have to see me fight again.


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