UFC On FX 3: Ian McCall On The Importance Of Mental Warfare

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 03: Ian McCall of the USA looks on during the UFC On FX flyweight bout between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall at Allphones Arena on March 3, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

On Friday night, the UFC will add another chapter to their history books with the UFC On FX 3 card. The newly formed flyweight division will be showcasing the much anticipated rematch between Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson as the main event. Following a hotly contested draw in their first outing, the two will finally get a chance to settle the score. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Ian McCall talked about the frustration that took hold of him immediately following their first fight, and the importance of getting into your opponent's head to gain a mental edge.

*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: Many fans thought you won the fight with Demetrious. What's your mindset been like since that fight?

Ian McCall: At first, I didn't really think about what was driving me crazy, but I was going nuts. I was literally angry, like all the time. My training was coming home with me too much. It was just eating away at me. I ended up moving in with my strength and conditioning coach, Corey Beasley. My wife was like, 'You're being a dick, and you need to move out while you're training.'

I moved in with him, did a lot of meditation and tried to get my head on straight. I finally realized that it was just unfinished business. I'm too much of a perfectionist to have something unfinished, especially to not have the result I wanted. I felt like I won. Everyone else felt like I won. It was driving me insane, but luckily I've been able to shake all that off, and keep it as motivation, instead of letting it negatively affect me.

Interviewer: What do you feel will make the difference in this fight and the last one?

Ian McCall: I've got to stop screwing around and showing off. I've got to just pressure him. I really think I have too much fun in there sometimes. I need to just get my job done and focus on finishing when I get the chance. I want to finish him within three. I'm going to finish him in three. He's never been finished, and I want to be the one to do it.

On a different note, you know, people have Joseph Benavidez ranked above me. Maybe it's because he finished Yasuhiro Urushitani, I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that I didn't finish DJ. I don't know, but I think if I go out there and put a stamp on DJ, and I finish him in spectacular fashion, I'll get a little more respect. I was kind of bitter that anyone would rank him above me because he's only had one fight at 125.

Interviewer: Does that fuel a fire in you to want to finish DJ and then move straight on to Joe B?

Ian McCall: Oh, of course. I feel like I've always got something to prove. People always put me as the underdog. I don't mind it, and it's nothing against the fighter. It's just something deep down in me that makes me want to try harder.

Interviewer: Since the first fight, has any animosity of "beef" developed between you and Demetrious?

Ian McCall: I know that I've gotten under his skin. It's really hard to get under mine. I've always kept the outlook that he's a great guy. He's super nice and everything, and I don't really have anything bad to say about him.

I heard an interview with Ariel Helwani, and he was talking about how much he hates my mustache. He just seems really bothered by me. He said he saw a baby, and I think this was on his honeymoon, but he was getting ice cream with his wife, and he saw a baby with a mustache. I'm guessing it was like a binky (pacifier) with a mustache painted on it. He said all he could think about was punching that baby because of the mustache. I was like 'Woah! I'm definitely in your head.'

He's said I'm unprofessional for getting the crowd going, and whatever bullsh*t he wants to talk. I don't really care. He can hate me, and I won't care. I'm always going to have a smile on my face. It just makes it a little better when I get to punch him in the mouth.

Interviewer: Is it a part of your gameplan to get under his skin, sort of like mental warfare is winning small victories before you even step in the cage?

Ian McCall: Absolutely, and not only that, but the last thing he remembers of me, is that last round with me being on top of him, punching him in the face, and not really being able to escape from underneath me. I'm sure all of it is getting heavy on him. He's not going to enjoy this. It's not going to be over quickly.

Someone asked if we were doing any new training. I'm doing the same stuff I've always done. He said that he is now swimming with bricks attached to him as part of his training. I though that was good for him, because I'm going to take him into deep water and I'm going to drown him.

It's just the beginning. This mental aspect is like I've already won the first round. It's already eating away at him. I'm more on point than I've ever been. The tides are going to turn around in this one, I think.

Interviewer: Do you feel that there needs to be a clear cut winner in a fight, no matter what? Maybe have it go an extra round if a fight is a draw on the judge's score cards?

Ian McCall: I don't see why not. Maybe it's because I've got cardio for days, but I think they should. This sport is different. It's the ultimate test. Maybe they should just add a round on. At least make the main events that way. I think the judging needs to change, too. It's pretty backwards. I think they should have a lot of MMA experience. They should have been in at least a handful of professional fights. They shouldn't just be a friend of the commissioner that got a job because they want to try it out. That's not how it should work. People's livelihoods are in the balance here. It needs to get better.

Follow Ian via his Twitter, @UncleCreepyMMA

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