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Heath "The Texas Crazy Horse" Herring is slated to fight the undefeated Cain Valesquez at UFC 99 in Germany. In this interview with TAGG Radio Herring talks about his injuries from the Lesnar fight, his resume, and taking care of business the next time he steps into the octagon.
A quick check of his past three fights is a good place to start. Brock Lesnar. Cheick Kongo. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Now Herring will face talented prospect Cain Velasquez in May. The "Texas Crazy Horse" wouldn't have it any other way.
"If you kind of look through my career, I don't ever really refuse fights," Herring recently told TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "That's kind of my deal."
True to his word, Herring's past opponents read like an MMA hall of fame. Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn, Enson Inoue, Mark Kerr, Evan Tanner, Gary Goodridge, and on, and on, and on.
"When they call me up, they say, 'I think this would be a good fight,'" Herring said. "And I say, 'Alright, let's do it.' That's pretty much how I work. I'm probably the easiest guy to matchup.
"I don't get tomato cans. I've hoed a rough road. I think at the end of the day, I like it. Maybe it makes me a little crazy because I've been in there with everybody. I don't get too nervous about things."
Herring, according to every report but his own, is now slated to face rising star Velasquez at UFC 99 in Germany. It will be the first appearance for Herring since a brutal defeat at the massive hands of Brock Lesnar at UFC 87 in August 2008.
Battered and bruised following the fight, Herring insists some initial reports of the damage he suffered were inaccurate.
"That thing really got blown out of proportion," Herring said. "Really, [my injuries] weren't even that bad. [My orbital bone] wasn't fractured or cracked. There was a slight -- it wasn't even that bad. It got blown out of proportion, to be honest.
"I seem to be alright. Girls don't seem to mind too much, so I guess I'm still pretty."
What the fight with Lesnar did rattle was Herring's idea of what a heavyweight fighter should be. Once comfortable coming into the cage around 235 pounds, the nearly 31-year-old said those days are long gone as the sport continues to evolve.
"I think what you're seeing now is a progression in the sport where size and strength absolutely do matter," Herring said. "That's something I've always preached. That's something I've actually gotten in huge arguments with smaller fighters about.
"I think smaller guys, the lighter weights, they don't understand that once you get in as a heavyweight, technique isn't the most important thing sometimes. Speed, power and explosivity I think can make up a lot for technique. I just used to baffle guys at how I was able to get out of their chokes and escape submissions. And it's because explosiveness and power are really, really important."
So while Herring's role of late has seemed to be a measuring stick of sorts, a role that he will play for at least one more fight against the undefeated Velasquez, the UFC, PRIDE and K-1 veteran said he'll continue to be an easy matchup for the UFC.
"I think the most important thing is to get in there with this next opponent of mine, bet business taken care of, and take it from there," Herring said. "I'd rather come off a win and start telling people what I want instead of talking about it before my next big fight. That's just kind of how I do things."
With recent losses against Big Nog and Lesnar it will be tough for Herring to get back into title contention. He did however beat top contender Chieck Congo in between those two losses so a win over rising star Cain Velasquez could put him back in the conversation. This will be an important match for both fighters and an exciting one for the fans as well.