Joe Warren is an interesting cat. Some might find him brash or arrogant, but others find his honesty refreshing. He spoke to Mike Straka on Tapout Radio recently about a wide range of topics, and his unique perspective is always entertaining. The story on how he became a fighter is pretty humorous too. He starts with dropping to bantamweight and competing in the 2012 Olympics (audio transcribed by Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion):
MIKE STRAKA: "Now, that would be 2012, a year that you could be the Bantamweight, the Featherweight champion of Bellator, but also maybe a gold medalist on the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team, is that right?"
JOE WARREN: "Yeah, that’s the plan here, you know, we got a plan for the next year and right now the plan is another belt at 35 and then make the Olympic team and go win that thing. But, you know, it’s one day at a time for me keeping focus and if you look too far ahead sometimes it’s rough for me. But I got a real tough here against Alexis Vila first and then, we’ll see what happens, you know?"
When he's asked about Alexis Vila (his opponent in the first round of Bellator's season five bantamweight tournament), he goes off on a tangent about how he got into fighting in the first place:
MIKE STRAKA: "Alexis Villa, he’s a Cuban wrestler, another great wrestler like yourself. But how’s the transition been for you, going from being a wrestling guy, a mat guy, I see your ground-and-pound is great, stand-up not so great?"
JOE WARREN: "It’s great now, okay, so watch out. Yeah, I mean I was a wrestler, came from the Olympic Training Center and jumped directly into Japan and fought the featherweight world championship. I wanted to actually be a color commentator and they said I had no credibility in fighting, so I should fight. So Dan & Heath at Team Quest, ex-teammates of mine, gave me a call and said, two weeks, we can get you into this featherweight championship. So, I didn’t really have any training, just wrestling, so..."
MIKE STRAKA: "First of all, who told you had no credibility to be a color commentator? I mean, how many fights has Joe Rogan had?"
JOE WARREN: "Exactly, but you know, I wanted to be a better color commentator than that, okay? So, I just to want make sure that I knew what I was doing and actually had credibility. So, now that I have some belts, you know, I’ll get a few more belts and maybe stand next to him some day, you never know."
He goes on to talk about his family, actually gets into discussing Alexis Vila and losing out on his original Olympic dream. It's full of good stories and info about Warren. You can read the transcript here (thank you Mr. Arnold) or listen to the audio after the jump.