Not to specifically plug another site, but there's a good interview of Heath Herring over at MMAmania.com
With the recent talk around here about Lesnar and the Lesnar/Herring matchup, it's a pretty good read.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Ever since your UFC 73 loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira you’ve seemed to have a renewed focus on getting your game to that next level. We saw a bit of that in your UFC 82 win over Cheick Kongo, where you came in lighter and in better shape and essentially snapped Kongo’s winning streak that looked, at the time, to be propelling him toward a potential title shot, given that he had just come off a win over "Cro Cop."
Can you describe a bit of how you came to the point where you realized you needed to make some changes?
Heath Herring: No, that was it, absolutely. Going back, watching the Nogueira fight, realizing how close we actually were in that fight. I was in horrible shape. I didn’t really train the way I probably should have for that fight. I got some good people around me and kinda got that belief in myself that I needed to really go, "Hey, I can really make a run at this still, and we can be real successful at this." So, I got a renewed vigor and a renewed focus.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): You’ve been working with a new strength and conditioning coach and nutritionist in Tony Aponte, who also works with fighters like B.J. Penn. In B.J.’s case, it kinda makes sense because he has to drop weight to compete in the lightweight division. But this is sort of uncommon for a heavyweight fighter, who typically can eat whatever they want.
Heath Herring: (Laughs). Right. Well, really to be honest with you, it makes sense. I think my cardio was the best it’s ever been in (the Kongo) fight. We actually beat a cardio monster in Kongo in that fight. So we beat him at his own game. Even finishing up in that third round we were going just as strong as we started off.
So I’m really looking forward to being able to bring that to the table here for the next one.
I think this is potentially a really big deal in this fight. Herring looked so much better against Kongo than he had in his last several fights. I remember the "Countdown" thing before that fight showing him and he was almost unrecognizable. He seemed very focused on conditioning. If he's continued developing in that regard, it'll be very very interesting to see how Lesnar can hang beyond one round.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Since changing up your game, how has your diet affected your weight and body fat percentage?
Heath Herring: Great. I’m actually going to be coming in I think in the best shape I’ve ever been in for this fight. I’m feeling really, really strong, feeling good about it. So I think it’s the right decision for me.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Are you lighter or just leaner?
Heath Herring: I’m actually going to be a little bit heavier, I’m more muscular, my body fat’s down. I’ll be weighing in about 250 for this fight. So I think it’s the right way to be going about it.
250 still seems pretty big. But if he's truly got his body-fat down and still appears as lean and fit as he did for the Kongo fight, this might be a whole new looking Herring.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): So the plan is to keep it on the feet?
Heath Herring: You know preferably, that’s where I’d like to be. I feel really good in the stand up. I think that’s my definite edge, my definite advantage there. But I think he’s going to try and take the fight down to the ground if he can.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): I was surprised to see how many submission wins you have. I think it’s something like 16, according to Sherdog.
Heath Herring: Yeah, it’s a lot more than that. They don’t even have half my fights on there. I think I’ve had more than 60 fights, but a lot of ‘em were small shows, so who’s countin’ at that point. Submissions come a lot easier when you go and you hit people. Guys are pretty quick to tap out when they’ve gotten the worse end of the stick sometimes. I’ve always noticed that that’s probably the best way to go.
Not a big surprise that he doesn't want Lesnar to get him down, lay on top of him, and drop those huge ham-fists on him or anything. But I think Herring's shown in the past his ability to work well from the guard and not be too susceptible to being put away down there.
Interesting stuff. I think this has the potential to be a great Heavyweight fight. It could really tell us a lot about Lesnar's development, and should also tell us whether the Heath Herring that showed up for Kongo (who looked and performed much different than the Herring we saw in his previous several fights) is the one that's here to stay. I'm looking forward to this fight a lot.