UFC 145 has a couple new faces to watch, and 36 year old Chris Clements is one of them. His most recent bout was with the always tough, Rich Clementi, who is the fourth in the win streak tally for the Canadaian striker. TapouT Radio recently got a quick interview with him about his opponent, Keith Wisniewski and finally being able to realize his dream of fighting in the octagon.
*Note: Interviewer is Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, my co-host. When I don't conduct these interviews by myself, I just put "interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: I know you're cutting weight right now, but how are you feeling?
Chris Clements: I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't had to do any of the crazy cutting. I'm a little hungry right now, but I'm actually a lot lighter than normal. I usually cut about 18 pounds the day before weigh-ins, but this time, I've only got to do about 10 or 12.
Interviewer: Do those six or eight pounds make a huge difference in how you feel in that last 24 hours before weigh-ins?
Chris Clements: It all hurts. You're essentially killing yourself [laughs]. It doesn't matter if you're cutting 10 pounds or 20 pounds, it all hurts.
The most I've ever done is 28 pounds one time. I would've cried if I had enough water in me to make a tear. I think it's the worst thing about fighting, cutting weight.
Chris Clements: Right now I'm about 180, but when I'm not in training camp, somewhere around 200 pounds. I've gone up to 210 or 215, and I've stayed as low as 195, but basically, I never walk under 195.
Chris Clements: Yeah, I think I am a smaller one, and I've thought about making the cut to 155. I think I could do it, but that would be like a 24/7 job all year round. I would never be able to have a beer here or there, or a cheeseburger or pizza. I wouldn't get my cheat day every week. I think my power kind of makes up for it.
Interviewer: What are your thoughts on Wisniewski? Is there any friction between the two of you?
Chris Clements: I've never met him, and from what I've heard, he seems like a pretty nice guy. I don't know anything about him in a negative sense. I've got no beef with him. I'm a pretty friendly guy. I remember when I was fighting Rich Clementi, in the second round I gave him a little tap on the shoulder and told him, 'You're the best buddy.'
I just like to be friendly, because it's not a grudge match for me. I fight my best when I'm calm.
Interviewer: Do you treat your bouts as a sport or a fight?
Chris Clements: For me, it's just a sport. I don't go in there hoping to hurt my opponent. Of course I want to knock them out, but I don't want to inflict any kind of major damage on them. I don't go in there with any grudges or anger. It's just my job.
Interviewer: With the questionable decisions judges sometime make, is your foremost thought to not let this fight go to the distance under any circumstances?
Chris Clements: I've never really thought about that, because in my whole career, I've never seen the judges. Every loss I've had was a submission, except for a bad referee stoppage to Rory Markham, and all my wins come by knockout. I've never been to a decision, so I've never really thought about it.
I just want to go in there and showcase my skills, and I want to show the UFC that they've been missing out on me. I want to make them know they made the right decision. I'm 36 years old. I don't have a 10 year career ahead of me. I want to go in there and make a statement.
Interviewer: What do you think of Wisniewski's style of fighting?
Chris Clements: I looked at a couple tapes when I first found out who I was fighting. I watched those tapes the first week or so of my camp to get an idea of him, then I never looked at those tapes again.
I see him sort of the same as Clementi. He has an extensive record, a lot of experience, very few TKOs or KOs, most of his wins by submission. I just kind of see him as the exact same opponent as Clementi, just a little bit taller.
I don't really expect anybody to stand up with me. When I fight, I'm prepared for everybody to take me down. I think I'm one of the most dangerous strikers in the world in MMA, so I don't see too many fighters prepared to stand up with me.
I figure his plan is to try to take me down, and I'm going to do my best to not let that happen. I think his best chance to win is a decision by holding me down and grinding me out. I hope for the fan's sake that he's not planning on doing that, but I know once I lay my hands on him, he'snot going to have any choice but to try and take me down. My job is to keep it on the feet and knock him out before he has the chance to take me down.
Interviewer: Do you think stage fright or octagon jitters will be a factor for you?
Chris Clements: It is the UFC and it is a big show, and that obviously puts a little more pressure on you. In my mind, I was more nervous going into the Clementi fight. I knew if I lost that fight, or any of the ones before that during my win streak, I knew I was never going to get to live my dream of fighting in the UFC. That made me more nervous.
My whole goal was to fight in the UFC, and now I've made it there. I can walk in that cage and be like, 'I'm living my dream. This was my goal, and I accomplished it, and anything that happens after this point is a bonus.'
Interviewer: How has your experience with Apex Sports Agency and Jason Chambers been?
Chris Clements: He's a real cool guy and a straight shooter. After I beat Clementi, I had a couple different agents call me. Some guys were sweet talking me and other guys were trying to talk themselves up, but Jason was like, 'I could talk to Joe Silva for you, see what he has to say, and I'll let you know from there.' He kept it simple, and everything has been great since.
He's easy to work with, and he makes sense when he talks. He was a fighter himself so he understands what his fighters are thinking and he understands the fight game. It's easier to trust a man to pick your fights when he's fought, himself.
I'm pretty happy to be a part of his team, and I'm excited to see what the future holds.
Follow Chris via his Twitter, @menaceclements