Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gabe Ruediger talks TUF season 5

By Keith Mills

The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 starts airing Thursday, April 5th with an all-Lightweight cast including coaches BJ Penn and Jens Pulver. One of the cast members is UFC vet and former WEC Champion Gabe Ruediger, formerly of Millennia Jiu-Jitsu and now with Team Quest (California branch). In the ADCC News archives are several updates with Gabe during the different phases of his career. Now we catch up with him as he enters a new one.

KM: How did it feel to be accepted onto the Ultimate Fighter series? GR: It was a great honor to be accepted. I’m not really an avid watcher of the series but I know it catapulted certain people but at the same time the talent level hasn’t been that high. This season especially since they were letting veterans go it made it a little more concrete for me and a little more of an honor. I thought it was a great career move and was happy to get a chance to try something like that. Reality TV is insane.

KM: Was it what you expected? GR: No, not at all. There are certain expectations and you can talk to former cast members and they are going to have their take. Is it reality in that there will be cameras filming day in and day out? Yeah, but it is a very concentrated reality. It is not reality where you are not able to go out and do the things you would do on a daily basis. It was definitely a crazy experience.

KM: Did you think this was what you needed to do to get back in the UFC or was it something you wanted to do in and of itself? Was it necessary? GR: Is anything really necessary? I talked to Joe Silva and he knew my first time in the UFC I went out there and fought and that is what he wanted. The outcome wasn’t how I wanted. People say over and over being in the UFC can be overwhelming but until you experience that you really don’t know what that means. I’ll be the first to say I didn’t fight anywhere near how I can fight, I didn’t show shit. It chalked up to experience. I know I have to get as much name recognition as possible, that that is how you make more money with sponsorship. For me the show was a good career decision.

KM: I expect the vast majority of fighters to lose their UFC debuts. GR: I talked to Joe Silva and he said that is what…not supposed to happen…I went out there and fought hard and that is what Joe Silva wanted. Win or lose at least you went out there and did it.

KM: I heard you took that loss hard. GR: I took it really hard. I was dealing with a lot of mental aspects and looking back it would have been nice to have taken a couple fights to get my head in the game. The Hermes fight (WEC March 17 ‘06) affected me in many different ways. I was so confident going into the Hermes fight and to lose in a fashion like that, I didn’t realize the detriment it put on the psychological aspect of the game. Even when I fought Ternell Yong in Pangea (May 12 ’06), I won that fight but looking back on it I wasn’t fighting like I normally fight. Everything was so forced. I went right back to my secure game which is take him to the ground, don’t trade with him or don’t do this and that. When I fought Sam (Wells) the second time (WEC Oct 14 ’05) that was the best I ever felt because I just let it go, I wasn’t concerned about it. The one thing I worked on the most is the mental game because of the loss. It hurt me but at the same time it was a good thing. I switched teams and am wit a good, solid camp now. Everything about it is very comfortable.

KM: Tell me about joining Team Quest. GR: Heath Sims was helping me out with my wrestling prior to my fight in the UFC. I love the guys at Millennia, they are a good group of guys, but I just wasn’t getting instruction. Here I am going into my fight career and I didn’t have coaches. A good group of guys to help me train but they aren’t really about teaching me. I went to Team Quest where we have Heath and Dan (Henderson), two Olympic caliber wrestlers. Then Shawn Tompkins came on board and with him comes his team like Sam Stout and Hominick and Horodecki. Those guys are all good training partners for me. Brian Parsons helped me out with my diet and conditioning...all of those aspects made it much better for me.

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