He is 186 centimeters tall and weighs approximately 77.5 kg at the weigh-in. An unwritten leaf for most people, and something as rare as a modest winning type. He called Simeon Thoresen, and can be the first Norwegian ever to achieve a victory in the UFC.
"The Grin" is nevertheless no newcomer. He has several titles from Europe in his luggage already, and has competed against an impressive range of quality opponents of international caliber.
There is little doubt that this modest Welterweight practitioner from Norway can have success now that MMA world's eyes are fixed on him.
He gets a chance 14 April - since his debut against Sweden Besam Yousef during UFC Wed FUEL TV Silva Vs. Gustafsson.
We sat down with Norway's newest MMA hope and talked about his experiences, his life as a professional fighter and the way forward. He turns out to be as modest and courteous as he is deadly in the ring.
But most of all, he is extremely focused on achieving the goals he has set.
When did you start playing sports?
One year old, I began gymnastics. Football since I was two or four years. So did gymnastics a long time. Diving for some years. Karate, I have visited. And finally, thai-boxing before the whole MMA thing got started.
I've always trained. My parents had never accepted that I didn't do something.
Perhaps the diverse background is the reason why you are so fit?
Yes, it is possible. Wrestlers have a number of back injuries, football and baseball takes the often knees and ankles. I've had quite a varied background, which may help me a little that way.
Then I thought that this is not going well.
How did you get started in MMA?
I started training Full contact martial arts when I was around 17,Then I trained Thai boxing in Sandefjord. Did it a couple of years. In the same club also had a grappling-section. I looked at them and was eager to try it too. Was a little here and there.
But then I went in the military, and when I came back, I trained [grappling] quite intensively. And then I started to compete in early 2005. I won a few contests here and there, and felt that I began to float on the grappling.
I'd really like to go some Thai fights, but they found none to me. Then the coach asked if I would go an amateur fight in MMA, around July-August 2005. I thought it was just to drive on. So I went first and last amateur fight in September. Everyone thought that I would get my ass kicked, but it ended with Dane I went to fight got a little more beat up then me, It was pretty fun.
After that I moved to Oslo to work out. Did not quite know what to do with my life. Then it began to train with Joachim [Hansen, journalist. Note] and those guys.
A year later, said coach Joachim that he wanted me to go pro fight, and that I had to respond to 4 days. I was in good shape, and thought that I do - I can compete. So when I went down and got a fight (Clifford Hall, 16 August 2006, journalist. Note).
Then I noticed some nerves, and was very tired. It's about the adrenaline dump to do, and it's really a terrible thing. The forces simply disappeared. Remember that in the break after 1 round about could not breathe. Then I thought that this is not going well.
Then it was back out, and so I managed to get him in a triangle-choke. But I was completely finished and had to run right out and vomit. Absolutely incredible tired.
Next match I managed to control myself (Lee Dickson, 4 November 2006, journalist. Note). I was hardly out of breath, even though the battle lasted for nearly ten minutes.
Yes, if you look over whom you have met, it is impossible to avoid noticing how large dispersion found in nationalities.
Yes, it's pretty much now. I have met people from Brazil, the States, Japan, a Dane and a Swede, a lot of English men and some Lithuanians and one Italian.
How much has the stamina to say the for the fight outcome, and how much you focus on it in training? Laying usually notice that the matches is decided because people simply do not have stamina.
Yes, I always train to go three rounds. I never go easy on the condition, although you may be tired, even with a strong condition.
Everything has to how the battle unfolds to do. I have been a ten-minute round and one five-minute round in China. It went pretty smoothly.
Overall, I have gone three fights to decision, and it has not been a problem.
You finish many of your fights, you could say.
Yes, I have extremely high average of finishes. I have one win on points and the rest are finishes. It includes the 14 submissions of 16 victories.
Simeon has won all 14 of his 16 victories on the submission.
Grappling is clearly your great strength. But if you got to pick yourself - would you like to land a KO or you Submitter opponents?
I try to finish the fight (laughs). It does not matter how the fight ends. Usually, I get that chance often on the ground.
If the opponent will play with me so I almost always better on the ground. And if they are worse than me standing up so often they try to take me down. Often some submissions in scrambling, when they make a mistake. It is typical of the struggles my lasting approx. one minute.
How do you find those openings?
It comes instinctively. It comes naturally and is not something I plan.
Do you remember much of your fights?
No, none of my fights, I remember perfectly clean. It's very messy. There's so much adrenaline and stress in the picture, so it is certainly not as a chronological film. There is a lot of flash. I would say you remember the highlights from each match.
My manager called me and asked what I wanted for Christmas.
Now before Christmas, you might as well known as a contract with the UFC. The compulsory question then is: what did you feel when the news came your way?
My manager called me and asked what I wanted for Christmas. I said that I think you know. When he replied that I had gotten what I wanted.
I was told to try to put some caps in the news yet, but I could call my closest friends and stuff. It turned out that my friends were not so good at keeping it hidden then (laughs). Suddenly knew a lot of it.
I had to go out and say that they had to wait congratulations and stuff, because other people began to wonder. Then I got a lot of weird questions - everything from whether I was gay at about the woman is pregnant (laughs). A lot of things.
How has your economy changed since you were caught up in the UFC?
I have not been fighting yet, so financially it has not changed much yet. But I guess salary is approx. seven times as high as before.
Then there are the additional sponsorship possibilities, which can double the amount.
You are now on twitter - and there you have applied for the attention of sponsors and gone out and proved it out. Is it your initiative or is it the wish of Zuffa, who would like to see the athletes actively promoting both himself and the UFC in the process?
It is most UFC and my manager. All other people around me. They have said that it is time to sell a little. Get media attention and gain increased market value.
Actually, I hate everything media to do, but understand the value of it. It becomes a habit. I'm really a pretty private guy.
Compare before and after Christmas, how much greater is the pressure from the media?
It's been a lot more. There are people who know me on the street. It's incredibly cool. Have not done that much for it either. I guess it's the articles that have come from Nettavisen in the past that has meant the difference.
Speaking of that question: what do you feel about the coverage they do Nettavisen, which has even opened a martial arts section?
They were quite interested. No gossip press, they were not there to throw shit on the sport. They were more interested in MMA as a sport - not as "bullies in a cage."
How has it been of sponsorship so far? Is there interest to track the in Norwegian companies?
a couple. Some small businesses, brokers and stuff. They seem more like fans. And they have both money to spare, which is nice. So it has been quite a lot actually.
Is there anyone related to the sport that has applied? Equipment suppliers or similar?
Been in dialogue with both the protein factory and Nordic Fight Gear, and some more. They are really most concerned to provide free products. Some European companies in the same category has provided both equipment and money, so it has been nice.
Pre-UFC - it works financially to be fighter?
No, you need a part time job. One can not live on MMA alone. In each case, is not it my reality. The first match I went so I got two thousand dollars. There is not much to live for.
After a few fights I got including travel, both for me and a coach, and hotel for 3 days for both. That and a few hundred Euro extra purse. In BAMMA, I have been close to ten thousand.
Tournaments can be more profitable. When I won the Pain and Glory-turn no one was 5,000 per fight and 5,000 bonus for winning. With sponsors so I went well into 18,000 in one night. Which is a total of 2 matches.
How is it to go two matches in a night compared to just one?
Completely different! You have to think a little, careful not to hurt you, and hold back a bit to save power. In the first tournament I was with so we came to the break in the second round. Then I was told that I had to stop sparring with his opponent and actually do something (laughs).
When I went second tournament so I met with a plug of an Italian, who did well from it. There, I have not rested at all, only fully executable. Lasted for almost 9 minutes, before I had put a choking him.
I was very tired. In addition, the next fight only an hour later. When I was told to go out to the ring again after the massage I felt at about 80%. It will just stay, I thought. But the fight lasted luckily only 40 seconds.
In that sense, it was really very pleasant. I meet with a right cross that sends him right in the ground and from there I was submitting him
You have therefore what is called "knockout power"?
I like to believe it. i have knocked down some people in fights. But it is not always what works. Mostly it happens when you do not expect that to happen.
When you decide to knock a guy out, you always fail to do so. But when you only are there and will do what you train on, as there is often a little easier.
Simeon also feel that his KO power, we will see that in Sweden we have the answer to 14 april in the Globe.
We talk like that people have different genetic traits that make them work better than most in their respective sports. How do you feel yourself that you possess that makes you work in a ring?
I am often taller than my opponent. It also gives me pretty good range. Look at Jon Jones, who is very good at taking advantage of the range he possesses. He has a sense of security standing based on wrestling. He seems so very comfortable.
I've also pretty quick hips, I have. Is pretty good to move quickly in and out of various positions, and I get a lot of good feedback on the training context.
14. April meet Swedish Yousef Besam. How well do you know him?
Never met him, just seen some video. He seems solid - very big and strong. Not very fast, but do well and should be a good fighter. At his best plan is enough to take him down and win on the ground.
With that in mind - how well can you follow a strategy, that is a "game plan"?
It is not always easy to follow a game plan. If your opponent allows you to find the rhythm and control the game so it is much easier, I have experienced. The first few minutes, one is never in the fight that way, but then things start to fall into place eventually.
Is it important to initiate the first?
No, I do not feel. Do not need to have something land first.
Is it psychologically burdensome for you to take shots if you are unable to land?
It usually goes smoothly. But usually there is a problem that we will retaliate. If he hits you then you will like to hit back. For both points the blame, but also mentally. It's like with children. Thrown something at you, throw you back.
Have you seen your odds? As of today it is 1.33 at Unibet, which makes you the obvious favorite.
That I have said it to all my friends, do not bet anything on me, you earn nothing (laughs). I try to tell them that they must either put the 1000 span of Yousef.
If I lose, you win the money. If I win then they are happy anyway.
What is your motivation to keep on?
In the beginning it was just for fun. But you start to do well. First my goal was to become world champion in MMA. So I got the belt and that was it.
So the goal was to be in the UFC, and that is now in place.
The new goal is simply to take the title in the UFC. Certainly within two years.
Do you think it is important that fighters, especially the title holders, goes for the finish?
It is a little silly to ask me, always go for the finish. Everyone has a different style. Not everyone is adept at finishing. It's usually something instinctively. Are you going to be great in the sport then you should win with finishes. It shows that you are better than everyone else, and is dominant.
Let us look into the future: you win your first match in the UFC. Who do you see as the next opponent?
Good question. There are quite a few of those to choose from. I get quite a few answers when I win the match. For I will. Then I will see where my level is - also compared to Yousef.
There is a great experience the difference between the two of you. Do you feel that you have been matched easily?
I do not know. If you look overall at his opponents, they have a total of 7 victories. He has silver in Sweden, championship boxing. He looks strong, so I underestimate him absolutely not.
The last two I have met has had 30 fights each, and 20 of their victories. He last I went to have 12 victories via submission, and has a black belt - and yet I was a submission 30 seconds into the match.
The man I met before has met UFC fighters and the best in Europe.
That way I know that I have faced much tougher people. But Besam has never lost, so you never know.
For when the night comes so could all happen?
I know all about, you say. I have two losses. One is a fluke - a Japanese (Eiji Ishikawa, 23 October 2008, journalist. Note) who had met Yuki Kondo, Yushin Okami, Nate Marquardt, etc. Anyone you can meet there, almost.
I did not expect to win the match - for I did not do enough. But he didn't do so much himself, and was perhaps slightly favorable judgment. I think it should have been a draw.
The other loss was a year ago (Seydina Seck, 11 March 2011, journalist. Note).
Totally my fault. A guy I should be beaten - but he had his evening. A small and tight Mike Tyson-type, that hit. Many times.
He was French champion in kickboxing as well, which corresponds to be the world champion in kickboxing. (Pause) I know that anything can happen. If I had the evening,I had a UFC contract a year ago.
Did you get any explanation that they offered you a contract?
No. But I have been in dialogue with the UFC for about 2 years. First I went to a fight in China (Michael Costa, 26 September 2009). It was a draw.
The Chinese had in fact a funny rule that if you do not knock or Submit your opponent, it will automatically draw. It has probably to do with money - you got $ 2,000 for showing up, and 2000 in order to decide the match.
The meeting ended with 10 draw, and it becomes stupid. To be a bit rude - your name GSP it would have corresponded quite a few draws on statistics (laughs).
So UFC simply said that you needed to win more fights?
Yes, they said. I had 11 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. So they said I had to meet good people.
So my next three opponents had much better stats: 11-1, 6-1 and 8-1. Only people with super-good record, and I beat all of them. Then I really got UFC contract. But then I was sick and had not trained for a month.
Then I lost the match in Abu-Dhabi [against Seydina Seck]. It struck a little hole on the plans.
Do you feel now that you look back it was probably for the best?
I was quite ready. But I've become much better after the KO. I had a very good streak before he took me out, and had very high self-esteem. Maybe that's why I lost - I was perhaps a little careless.
Do you have access to training partners with the level seen in the UFC?
I was a tour of the United States and trained, and did not think the level was so insanely much higher than where I was. It was not scary, no. When I trained with [Jason] Miller and sparred a few rounds of MMA with him - it felt good.
Did some wrestling with Jake Ellenberger as well. It was fun. He was a better wrestler than me, but I still felt good. He was clearly a strong man, after which I felt like a weak man (laughs).
Focuses on the opponent's weaknesses or strengths you prepare for battle?
My strength is the grappling, and I train that all the time. But now I know that he [Besam Yousef] is a good fighter, I have already been training some kickboxing.
I have some good boxers who will help me. Have myself boxed a little to. It's a little different now that I'm in the UFC. I know I can spend more time in training. At least the last four weeks are going to be completely Nazi - then I have no other life.
You do the traveling this time. But do you see the distance between the U.S. and Norway as a future problem?
I've been all over the world and competing, so there is really no problem. After attending games in China, Japan and Abu-Dhabi I feel good in terms of distances.
But it depends how far you go and what direction. Going to Japan was tough - it's the worst way. Then you are completely dead and wake up often between four and six in the morning two days after you land.
If you go to the states then are just up a little later. It's not as bad.
But I've gotten advice on Las Vegas, if I ever going there. Where should arrive at some earlier than usual to accommodate the air. They say that it is very dry air out there that can plague sinus and lungs a little.
Whats the kicker?
Adrenaline that occurs in a match. You may well be in the basement during the match, but you win then you are on top of the world anyway.
My approach to MMA and training is what many would see as "job" - five days a week, twice daily. Then you can have problems with motivation after a while.
But fighting is such a kick that it is never a problem.
How important is diet?
It is very important. In particular, last month before a fight. Diet is important both because of how I want to feel, and how weight-cutting should go.
It also helps to stay healthy and have lots of energy during exercise. Do you eat wrong and everything will be worse.
Do you practice something special at the moment?
I actually exercising strength for the first time in my career. It's something I have begun recently. This amounts to one to two sessions a week.
The aim is to help the nerve endings so I will be faster - get your muscles to react faster. So when will the Olympic lifts. Heavy, with few repetition
I have also intensified interval training. It came as a result of some matches I went where I felt that the body is not recovered as quickly as I wanted.
Have you been much plagued by injuries?
No, nothing. I've been very lucky. A sprained wrist, I have had. It came in a match and was very little dangerous.
Are you a black belt in BJJ?
No, I'm just blue. There I took back in 2005. It is simply because I never train with GI.
With punches on the ground as it is irrelevant to practice GI.
You are 27 now. How long do you hold on?
I'd like eight years in the ring. Until I'm 35 But if I feel good, think it's fun and actually has a chance to win games, so I look for me to hold on a little longer. I keep it open.
Doping is a growing problem in the sport. Is there in Norway?
I've actually never seen anything to it, at any place. Personally I see people in the locker room and training, but of course no control over what people do outside.
But I feel very confident that my gym does not have this. So I would say no.
Who is your favorite fighter?
Jon Jones. He is young and does everything right. Very entertaining.
I liked very much Anderson Silva before. But now there is so much mischief.
That way, Chael Sonnen also a pretty bold guy, i like him. One can not be neutral to the man (laughs).
Chael Sonnen methods have revealed that salaries and Smack-talk often are closely linked in the UFC. With that in mind, do you see to be more verbal about your opponents?
No, not yet.
Will see what might come. If for example, I dislike someone, I will tell it like it is.