CTMMANews had the privilege of talking with Ben Saunders a few days out from his fight with Matt Lee at Bellator 39. Saunders is coming off of his first post-UFC fight, a first round TKO over Elijah Harshbarger, and hopes to extend his win streak this Saturday. Read on for the main points as well as the recorded interview.
When asked by CTMMANews about his new relationship with Bellator, Saunders said "When I signed with Bellator what we're looking at right now is two showcase fights and I will be involved in the Fall welterweight tournament." Saunders, like many fighters, expressed how he enjoys the ability to stay active with Bellator and of course the potential to earn up to $100,000 over a few months."$100,000 is $100,000 man, that's a big payday for anyone and to have the ability to have the chance to make that money but to stay active and get potentially 3 fights in 12 weeks is phenomenal." said Saunders who also mentioned he's never had the chance to have such a long stretch of planned activity in his career. "Having two showcase fights and then a fall tournament really means that I have my year completely planned out for 5 fights. That without a doubt financially is phenomenal and as a fighter just trying to stay active, gain experience and continue to gain fans, put on a show and do what I love to do, which is fight, I've never been in this situation which is great."
When asked about the welterweight division in Bellator, Saunders responded, "The welterweight division is probably one of their most stacked divisions no doubt. There's a lot of tough and competitive competition in that division and I definitely look forward to testing myself."
Saunders is known to tout his Jeet Kun Do background and admiration of Bruce Lee as a main factor in getting him into martial arts competition. "My martial arts background is what helped me become a professional fighter and allow me to actually get paid and compete at a professional level. If it wasn't for Jeet Kun Do I wouldn't have the mindset I have and that is basically to keep an open mind. I don't believe in any style being the best style. That's being closed minded."
"You can knock Tae Kwan Do, you can knock Kung Fu all you want because it might not be that effective in the ring or the cage or from what people have seen but at the end of the day, every style, every technique no matter how unorthodox is effective, it just comes down to if you can practically utilize it in a real live situation." Saunders spoke about how that's what Jeet Kun Do came down to for him was to focus on practically and gave some insight to traditional martial arts practitioners in that if they learn to understand other styles such as Muay Thai, Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu and learn how to defend and counter those attacks, that you can then develop your style to be affective. "It comes down to... are you that good and are you that aware of other styles. It really just comes down to knowledge." Saunders also stated, "I try to utilize simplicity and practicality %100. My style is about brutality and straightforwardness, effectiveness. If it works it works if it doesn't I discard it from my arsenal."
The full recording of our conversation is below. There was some spotty cell coverage in places but a great interview with a great fighter who is really pationate about Martial Arts.
Check out our website for the full audio.