Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Scott Norton talks WEC

By Keith Mills

Over the last year most of the up-and-comers thought of as ready to take the step into the limelight were bought up not only by UFC but also by WEC, BodogFIGHT, IFL, and even Elite XC. Now that the 2007 season is warming up a whole new crop of up-and-comers are establishing themselves including Scott Norton. Scott makes his WEC debut later this month at Welterweight against former WEC North American Middleweight Champion Alex Serdyukov who recently dropped down in weight. Currently undefeated in shows including Sport Fight Scott is known on the Pacific Northwest and is said to be one of the names to watch for but is a new name to the national-level MMA scene. Alex on the other hand is coming off a loss to John Alessio, a fight that set Alessio up to fight Condit on this upcoming show for the vacant Welterweight belt. Here we find out more as Scott prepares for his big break.

KM: How prepared do you feel for this upcoming WEC? SN: I feel good, ready to go. I actually wish it was a little sooner. I’m just waiting and looking forward to it.

KM: What do you know about Alex Serdyukov and how do you feel about fighting him? SN: I know he is a Muay Thai guy with a little submission background. I know he is a little tall so he will be a little harder to hit him. Other than that I feel pretty good about him.

KM: He used to be the WEC North American Champion but now fights at Welterweight. Does it mean anything he used to hold that title? SN: Not really. I don’t worry about what the person has done, I just focus on the fifteen minutes I have to fight. I respect what he has done but at the same time I’m more focused on the things I need to be doing out there. It doesn’t mean that much to me. I want to be able to fight the best people and he would be a good opponent.

KM: What do you think of fighting in the WEC itself? SN: My management has worked really hard over the last year to get me in there and I’m really excited about it. I’m really honored and looking forward to it.

KM: Your last fight was in April ’05. Why the time off and what have you been doing? SN: Just been training. I had a couple injuries and needed to get healthy. Made some transitions and needed to step back and decide if this was something I was really going to do. One of the things that definitely changed my mind was my management.

KM: Are you over the injuries? Are you 100%? SN: Right now yeah, absolutely. I’ve been training a couple times a day and actually teach during the day. Now we are going to start tapering off and get ready to roll.

KM: Where are you training or should I say teaching? SN: Actually I teach fifth grade.

KM: I thought you meant teach at a gym, didn’t realize you meant dayjob. SN: Yeah, I’m actually at recess right now.

KM: Must be difficult to do your dayjob with something like a black eye. NS: I think you are absolutely right. That is why I want to make sure I’m the one on top and keep those black eyes to a minimum. I haven’t had to come to work dealing with that before and want to keep it that way.

KM: Giving something back to the community, that is honorable. Are you still training with Maurice Smith? SN: Yeah. I still train one or two days a week over there with the Tiger Sharks (Smith’s IFL team). Primarily I train out of Demon Jiu-Jitsu which is run by Eric Dahlberg. . I fought out of AMC for a couple years but the ground game I didn’t feel I was getting the improvement I’d hoped for. Switching over I feel I grew by leaps and bounds. I think Eric is one of the unknown sources up here in Washington as far as that goes.

KM: I understand you have a strong wrestling background before jiu-jitsu. SN: I won three championships and was an All-American for the University of Oregon. I feel pretty good no matter where the fight goes.

KM: Have you trained anywhere besides Maurice Smith’s place for striking? SN: Yeah, Marine Sports United with Mark and Kim Messer. I’d say I picked up quite a bit of striking from there.

KM: Even in your amateur career I only see two decisions, the rest have been first round wins. SN: I haven’t been out of the first round since my second or third fight. I want to keep it that way. I’m looking forward to getting my conditioning tested. To be honest with you if there is one area that has always gotten me through wrestling and through this it is conditioning. Out of 111 matches I had in college I’d say 100 of them are due to conditioning. I start fast and challenge my guy to keep the same pace, try to take them to an uncomfortable place for as long as they can hold up. I don’t want to beat somebody necessarily by submission or knockout, I try to make them get worn out to the point they don’t want to be there.

KM: What can you say about who you are to make the fan care about your fight? SN: It is a chance to see somebody that is pretty talented that only Washington has been able to see. There are household names in every state. I think mine is probably one of them.

KM: Being the former WEC Champion Alex has been on WEC when it was on HDNet and on the last show, the first under Zuffa ownership. You on the other hand haven’t fought MMA at that level before. Any concerns of being overwhelmed or his cage experience? SN: I wrestled a lot in front of big crowds. In the Nationals in the semi-finals I had a kid from Iowa State in Iowa. You got 17,000 booing you it doesn’t get any worse than that. I’m one of those people that get lost in what they are doing and don’t even notice what is going on around me.

KM: Any sponsors to thank of anything else to get across to the fans? SN: I definitely want to thank my sponsors Full Contact Fighter, Lance Timberman Dental, and Loan Review.

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