Thursday, March 8, 2007

Interview: Brad Imes ready to take on Heath Herring in Texas

By Robert Cheshire

“You can bank on the fact that my fights are going to be a war.” – Brad Imes

Little did I know when I called Brad Imes on the afternoon of UFC 68 that he was already here in Texas. We talked about his recovery from an injury a year ago, what he is doing now, and about his fight in Houston on April 7th with Heath “Texas Crazy Horse” Herring.

RC: First, the obvious question is how does it feel to be getting back into the octagon after being off for a year?

BI: It feels good. I’m not really disappointed with myself but it’s hard to fight for a living and not being able to fight. With injuries it’s easy to get down on yourself. It’s nice to get back out there. I’ve had a couple of fights this past month to get the rust off and I feel good.

RC: How has your game improved from, I believed, it was a tumor that was removed from you sinuses?

BI: Yeah, I had a tumor in my sinus, broken elbow, and hurt my knee (laughter). It seems like every month there was something new that popped up. Since I had that surgery I feel like a new person. I can sleep at night. Within about three weeks after the surgery I put on about 20 pounds of muscle because I could sleep at night and my body could rejuvenate itself. My stamina and strength are better and I’m more explosive so I really feel good.

RC: You just said that you did some other fights recently. Have you signed a new contract with the UFC or is it for this one fight?

BI: No, it’s the same contract. They allowed me to fight in some smaller shows since I had just come off some injuries to make sure everything was working right.

RC: You know, with your fight coming up in Houston you kind of have a tough task ahead of you with the experience that Heath Herring brings to the match. What are you doing to prepare to neutralize his game plan?

BI: I train with a couple of the best heavyweights in the world in Ben Rothwell and Tim Sylvia. Being able to train with those guys every day they have a great deal of experience and are both very good on their feet. Having those two at my disposal has really helped me more than anything. There are some other good size guys up there. I have a lot of good size fighters to train with and that is sometimes hard for a heavyweight to find.

RC: Definitely, with Tim being one of the best in the UFC, and Ben being one of the best in the IFL, that’s pretty good company to be keeping.

BI: Yeah, for sure.

RC: What did you think about Heath’s UFC debut when he lost?

BI: It wasn’t what I was expecting out of Heath and I think he was disappointed with himself. I heard he had a knee injury he was struggling with and he probably had some jitters being his first UFC fight. I don’t expect to see that performance when he fights me. I expect to see the Heath of old and that is what I’m training for.

RC: It seems like all the Team Miletich guys are really nice. I was at the IFL Houston fights and all the guys were really friendly, nice and very approachable.

BI: We really are a team. A lot of other fight “teams” don’t really have the team mentality that we do. We all hang out together, train together, we’re always around each other and we’re all friends. We are really like a family. We all pull for each other and it’s a good environment.

RC: Pat really surprised me when we were talking. I live in a small East Texas town and he knew where it was and some of the history of it. It really surprised and impressed me that he knew that.

BI: Did it? I’m actually in Dallas right now, well, Waxahachie actually. I’m filming a movie here.

RC: Yeah, I’m going to ask you about that in a moment. Win or lose against Herring is there anyone else you want to fight?

BI: You know, I get asked this question all the time and I really don’t think about it that much. (laughter) There isn’t anyone I have a grudge against. I just like getting out there and fighting. I like what I do so I’ll fight whoever they tell me I’m going to fight. Win or lose I’m going to go out there and give it everything I’ve got. My fights are always exciting. You can bank on the fact that my fights are going to be a war.

RC: That is something I was looking at when I looked over your past fights. When you fought Rashad you only had about a year of training. Even though it wasn’t the outcome you wanted, you brought excitement to the game. If you fought that well with that little experience it will be great to watch you as you get more experience.

BI: If you watched my fight with Dan [Christison] I was so much better in that fight than I was with Rashad. I got caught at the end of the fight. You can train things over and over again but Dan’s experience came up and bit me in the ass on that one. I feel like I made huge strides in that fight and think people are going to see a new and improved Brad Imes each time I fight.

RC: That’s what frustrates me about some of the people on some of these forums – they don’t look at the whole picture if a fighter is improving or not. Many of them just look at if you win or lose.

BI: (laughter) Yeah, they just judge you on your last fight. That’s why I don’t even get on the internet and look at that. It only frustrates me. (laughter) You know what they say about critics – they are the ones that come down the hill after the war and shoot the wounded.

RC: (laughter) Right! I know you are filming that movie. Can you tell me more about it?

BI: Yeah, sure. The title is “Missionary Man” and the first time I heard it I thought it sounded like a porno (laughter). It’s an action movie that stars Dolph Lundgrun who also wrote and directs it. It’s like a modern day western but instead of horses there are motorcycles. I play a character named “Hoss” which I don’t think is a big shocker. I’m a bad guy in the beginning but end up as a good guy in the end. I never thought of doing anything like this but the opportunity presented itself because they wanted Tim Sylvia at first but he had the fight with Randy so they called me.

RC: Is acting something you’d like to pursue after fighting or while fighting?

BI: It is something I’d like to do. It has been a lot of fun. I’ve been really lucky to find things to do without really having to have a job. Which is kind of nice. I do like to work and work hard though. Acting has been hard work with long days but it has been fun. I’m meeting a lot of good people and it has been fun. I think I would like to do some more movies when this one is done. They say that they like me but I don’t know if they are saying that because they think I’ll beat them up (laughter).

RC: I know you said you don’t go online much. Are there any forums that you do go to?

BI: No, I really don’t. I did post on The Ultimate Fighter Forum right after the reality show. I spoke with a lot of the fans but now I try to stay away from it. I do that because most things people are going to say about you is either trying to boost your ego or make you feel bad about yourself.

RC: These are supposed to be fan sites.

BI: No kidding. I try to be real good to the fans when I meet them and have them walk away with a good perception of me. However, there are some people that are upset because they never did anything with their life and it’s easier to tear someone down who is taking risk with theirs.

RC: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the show Pros versus Joes. I liked the episode this season where they had Randy Couture. It was nice how the image of MMA is changing because they talked smack about the other pros but wouldn’t against Randy.

BI: I saw that! They wouldn’t talk smack about Randy and were like “I hope Randy doesn’t kill me!”

RC: Do you have any predictions for any of the other fights that night in Houston?

BI: I think “Rush” is going to handle Serra pretty easily. Matt is a tough guy but he is fighting out of his weight class and is fighting the number one at that weight class. I think Diego and Koscheck is going to be a good fight. I give the edge to Koscheck due to his wrestling and I think his stand up his better that Diego’s. I like Luke Cummo in his fight. We have the same attitude and he is pretty tough.

RC: Is there anything that inspires or motivates you before or during a fight?

BI: Before a fight I look at it like a job and I go in there and train and just do it. I think in a fight survival just kicks in. Sometimes I don’t know how I do the things I do. I don’t really feel any pain and just keep coming ahead.

RC: I know you said you might be interested in doing some movies. Are there any other plans for what you want to do after fighting?

BI: I don’t know. One of the things my sister is always giving me shit about because I don’t plan things much and fly by the seat of my pants. Fighting is going well and it looks like this acting thing might work out. If I get to a point where I can’t do either I’ll have to figure something else out.

RC: What would you do if you weren’t a fighter?

BI: I think I would go to firefighter school and be a firefighter.

RC: Do you train full time?

BI: Yes – probably about 5 or 6 days a week.

RC: Do you want to take this opportunity to thank any sponsors?

BI: Warrior Wear has been my sponsor since the reality show and Nathan has been real good to me and I want to thank him for that. You can go to to see my other sponsors.

RC: The last question I have is if there is anything you would like to say to the fans?

BI: I want to thank all of them. I still get a ton of mail asking how I’m doing and if I’m fighting and it means a lot since I’ve been off for about a year. I just want to thank them for their continuing support.


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