In just 10 days, the final fight in a trilogy that has been over six years in the making will finally happen. UFC On FX 4 features some great fights, and might arguably be better than it's next night PPV counterpart, UFC 147, but the rubber match I'm referring to here, is Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher. With one win a piece in the books, the third will finally allow one of these super tough lightweights to emerge as the trilogy winner. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Sam talked about his upcoming fight, and why it's next to impossible to stay in fight shape year round.
*Note: Interviewer is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. 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: You and Spencer both have a win over each other, and they were both decisions. What's your objective with this upcoming fight?
Sam Stout: I think at this stage in both our careers, win, lose or draw, this will be the last one. I think it will be a very different fight than the first two. The last time we fought was 2007. It's been over five years, now. In that time, I think I've really progressed a lot as a fighter. I've gotten a lot bigger, a lot stronger, I've learned a lot, and I've gained a lot of experience. Spencer was already experienced when I fought him, and has gained more, as well, but I just don't think that he's made the same strides in his all around game that I have over the last five years. I think I have the edge here, and that I walk away with my hand held in the air.
Interviewer: The first time you and Spencer fought, more than six years ago, the payscale was so much more modest than now. The highest paid athlete was Georges St. Pierre, and his payout was only $48k, and there wasn't a formal bonus system in place. With bonuses being between $40-70k these days, does that give you more incentive when you go into your fights to fight a certain way?
Sam Stout: I actually got a bonus for that first fight. It was $500 [laughs]. You know, the bonuses are definitely an extra incentive when you're going into a fight. It's something that's in the back of your mind, but for me, it doesn't really change the way I fight. I don't really fight for bonuses. I just have a style of fighting that leads to bonuses, I think.
Interviewer: Are we going to see more of your ground game in this fight, possibly a submission?
Sam Stout: I would definitely like to show some new tricks in this one. This is an opportunity for me to go out and show what I can do, and show how I've progressed as a fighter. I think when you look at our last fight, and this one coming up, you're going to say, 'Wow, Sam Stout is a completely different fighter.' That's what I'm going for.
Interviewer: What's training life been like since Shawn Tompkins' passing?
Sam Stout: It's definitely been a lot different. I never trained a day in my life before I met him, so it's been a very big adjustment for me. I miss him every day. I've had to make adjustments, and come up with gameplans for myself. I've had to dig deep to motivate and push myself in training. I've hired different coaches to fill the holes that were left when Shawn passed.
Interviewer: A lot of fighters are adding some really innovative regimens to their training, like hyperbaric chamber therapy, floatation tank therapy, yoga, etc. Do you subscibe to these new age techniques or do you believe that the old fashioned way is the best way?
Sam Stout: I definitely believe in it. This sport is really tough on your body, and people don't realize when they watch the fights that we're beating up on each other twice a day, for the most part, every single day. Taking care of my body has become a real big priority for me over the last couple years.
I've been doing lots of different things. I've been getting regular massages, doing yoga classes, and working with a new trainer named Carter Walls who does something called Sports Science Lab. It's a different type of strength and conditioning that's really easy on your body, is very low impact, and is great for rehabbing injuries. It really breaks away from the traditional strength and conditioning regimens. There is no weight lifting, really. It's all based on resistance and a lot of work in the pool and on different machines that are designed to maintain your body and give you longevity in your sports career.
Interviewer: With the current emphasis on scientific weight cuts and nutrition, do you use a dietician to aid you in your weight maintenance, or do you do that yourself?
Sam Stout: For me, I've been doing it for a very long time, and done a lot of experimenting. I do it all, for the most part, myself. I get advice from people that know what they're talking about from time to time. The best way is to eat really fresh ingredients in your cooking. It's not really rocket science. Eating clean is just the way to do it.
Interviewer: With the current rash of injuries that has been plaguing the UFC roster, is it worth it to stay in that "two weeks out fight shape" pretty much all the time, just in case you get the call to be a replacement for an injured fighter?
Sam Stout: Let me tell you this, I'm in "two weeks out fight shape" right now, and there's no way anyone could stand this kind of conditioning year round. It's not an option. It's ideal to be able to peak at the right time, and to be physically as prepared as possible. That being said, the guys who are ready to step in and fill an injured guy's shoes, there's definitely a benefit to that.
Look at Donald Cerrone. He got five fights in last year. Five fights means five paydays. If your body can handle that, and you feel up to that, and you're willing to stay in shape and make those sacrifices, that come with being in that top condition all year round, then all power to you, but I think it's going to shorten your career and creating more risk for injury. It's very mentally draining to be in camp year round. I don't think Donald had his best fight at the end of the year. He did that fifth fight and looked a little flat to me. I think the guy's a great fighter, but there comes a point where you've got to give your body a break.
Follow Sam via his Twitter, @SammyJStout