The second and final part of my interview with the former UFC bantamweight Cole Escovedo. This was originally posted at Gals Guide to MMA. Join us over there sometime.
Yesterday, I presented my chat with Cole Escovedo and discussed his meteoric rise through regional promotions all the way to the WEC to his fall from three losses to Jens Pulver, Antonio Banuelos, and Urijah Faber. In addition, he suffered from a staph infection that required spinal surgery and left him paralyzed for a stretch of time. Finally, we chronicled his triumphant return to action against Michael McDonald.
Today, we take a more humorous look at some of the personal things in "The Apache Kid's" life, in addition to some more thoughts from Cole.
UPDATE: Per Cole's Twitter, he was cut by the UFC today. From all of us at Gals Gude, we wish Cole the best of luck and look forward to seeing him in a ring, cage, or whatever he is interested in pursuing. I am a fan and always will be, Mr. Escovedo. Good luck and sorry for the recent news.
Mountaineer: Fast forward a few years off of your comeback tour, if you will, and you are fighting in the biggest organization (at the time) in Japan at DREAM 13 against Yoshiro Maeda. You always get this sense of awe from fighters in reaction to the fighting culture of Japan. What was it like for you in terms of fanfare and pre-fight experience?
Cole: It was one of the most fun, humbling experiences I've ever had being in MMA. The fans over there are crazy but in a good way. They are extremely respectful and love you being there fighting for them. I had one lady hang her kid, couldn't have been more than 6, over the edge of a railing just so I could take a pic with him. It took me 45 minutes after the Maeda fight just to get from the ring back to the locker rooms. And the people there taking pics would literally beat you back to the hotel with the film developed already waiting for you to sign it! It was awesome.
Mountaineer: After your fight, were there any special moments from the Japanese fans or even the DREAM officials backstage?
Cole: Nothing special from the officials. They just want the same thing Dana and the UFC want. They want good, exciting fights and they express it accordingly backstage. If you do your job well, you'll hear it. If you don't, you'll hear it. Every job has its bosses and your expected to do it accordingly. If not, the boss will not be happy! No different there.
Mountaineer: With all the recent drama regarding pay and the decline of Japanese MMA, do you still have any interest in returning there for a fight?
Cole: I honestly loved fighting there...but the pay problem is a problem. If the UFC put me on the Japan card, I'd love to go back. It was an excellent experience in my life and wouldn't pass up the opportunity as long as I'm guaranteed getting paid.
More talk with Cole Escovedo after the jump!
Mountaineer: Now, less than a year after your final appearance in Japan against Michihiro Omigawa and a regional fight against Steven Siler, you got the call from Dana and crew to join the UFC. How did that call go and how did you initially feel about facing Renan Barao?
Cole: I didn't care too much that he was a Brazilian monster as it was the UFC calling. So I jumped on it. Basically, Sean Shelby called me an said, "Cole, we got a fight for you, but he's a badass!" I said, "Okay!"
Mountaineer: I must give you some credit for going the full three with Barao. You don't often get credit in a loss, but Renan Barao just finished Brad Pickett, who is notoriously tough. After that fight, did you expect Barao to go on this warpath and be a fight or two away from the title, given his record and from your experience?
Cole: I felt that after our debuts, he'd gotten his jitters out. As did I. So, I expected a better performance in his next fight. Definitely didn't expect that performance though! Very impressive.
Mountaineer: Now, finishing up on your past, you have gone 0-2 since the Barao fight with losses to Takeya Mizugaki and Alex Caceres. After these losses, did you feel that your job was in question and how does a fighter cope with that feeling?
Cole: After every loss, I assume the pink slip is comin'. I just have to treat each fight as if it were the first on my contract and go out to impress and excite the fans. And coping is easy. You just go back to the gym and get back to work.
Mountaineer: Once you recover from your injury, do you have any opponents in mind? Or are you a "line 'em up, knock 'em down" kind of guy?
Cole: Line 'em up, knock 'em down! I'll fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me.
Mountaineer: Since you have had success in both weight classes, is there a chance we see you at 145 for your next fight? Or is 135 your home?
Cole: I'm very happy at 35. But the right fight for the right money, I'd go back up to 45 for a fight.
Mountaineer: Now, say you get one or two wins in the bag and you have the ability to pick an opponent. Are there any rematches you want so you can avenge some of the losses on your record?
Cole: I'd like to fight Alex again after establishing some wins as I feel I can beat him. And a third fight with McDonald would probably be fun for the fans.
Mountaineer: Moving more into your personal life, you hear that some guys don't really watch MMA because they tire of watching their job. Are you like that or are you a big fan? Also, any other combat sports (or sports in general) you watch passionately?
Cole: Don't actually watch other sports. They all kinda got boring after fighting (laughs). Maybe rugby if I happen across it. But no, I started as a fan and will always be one. I watch as many UFC events as possible!
Mountaineer: Who are some of your favorite fighters and athletes?
Mountaineer: Now, being that this is Gals Guide to MMA, you knew you were going to get a few questions that would make you blush and make me realize that they don't pay me enough. So Cole, I must ask...are you single?
Cole: Currently yes, single and a goober (laughs). Doesn't beat being a UFC fighter and single sometimes!
Mountaineer: Well, ladies, there you go! Is there any specific type of lady you look for? Any qualities? I am sure they have to be MMA fans!
Cole: Yes! They have to be a fan...or be open to watch and see if it's something they might enjoy. Qualities are big. They have to have a really good sense of humor and be able to laugh and make me laugh. A good smile makes a girl twice as pretty. Eyes! I love beautiful color eyes. And I like toned, fit girls...but doesn't have to be super model because I want a full package. A model can have zero personality and that is a turnoff. And blonde, brunette, red...doesn't matter. Tall, short... again, doesn't matter! A cutie who can laugh when she wants to and is open and can carry a conversation on for longer than two minutes. Oh! And animals! Gotta love animals, especially cats! Can't stand cats? That's a deal breaker because I adore cats.
Mountaineer: Cat guy as opposed to a dog guy? Wow. Amen, brother! Any specific type of cats you dig? I have a Siamese myself.
Cole: I like both. I just always want a cat in my house so they gotta like cats. But I like dogs, too. And I mean DOGS, not those tiny little rat things or something my cat could eat. My last cat was a Japanese bobtail. Awesome cat.
Mountaineer: This might be the most awesome thing ever. I could discuss cats all day, but we have to move on. In terms of down time, what do you like to do? You mentioned you run an iPhone store, so is technology a passion for you?
Cole: I play Xbox when I have the time. I like zombie games and shooters. I spend time with my daughter. She's 9 And yeah, run my shop. It's not really a hobby in the sense of the word, just fun and I'm good at it.
Cole: I don't play online, just campaign. Joe actually helped me get a couple copies of MW3 by hooking me up with the company. I wore their shirts to weigh-ins for the Fox fight and did the same for my Denver fight and got a GOW3 copy out of the deal! Fun little things like that that work pretty well.
Mountaineer: Moving on to other media, what kind of music and movies do you enjoy?
Cole: Music varies to what catches my ear at the moment. I mean, come on! I used a Kesha song for my debut walkout (laughs). For movies, anything zombie, period! Then it's what I think looks good when I see a trailer. I'll watch The Notebook, but I'll also watch Fight Club and Rounders. So it varies I guess.
Mountaineer: The perks of getting hit in the face for a living, huh? What music would be an absolute dealbreaker for you if you were with a chick? I'm going to assume Rebecca Black here.
Cole: No deal breaker really (laughs). The qualities are more important!
Mountaineer: Ladies, Cole Escovedo! He doesn't care what music you listen to! Get at it! So, closing up here, do you have any idea when fans can expect you back inside the Octagon?
Cole: Gotta get my nose fixed. Then just get in shape and wait. Hopefully February or March at the latest.
Mountaineer: Well, we all expect a war when you are in the cage, so certainly looking forward to it. Before I let you go, any final blurbs you want to get out there? Any sponsors, gyms,stuff about you, or products you'd like to pimp?
Cole: Thanks for havin' me, bro! Appreciate your time. My Facebook page: Cole Escovedo. Twitter: @coleescovedo. Follow me and I'll follow back. Abovealliphones.com, Cageradio.com, and thanks to everyone that's been helping me and any of the Central California ladies who I will get to say hi to (laughs)!