In part II of my Journo to Journo interview with Kid Nate, we discuss the bantamweight title situation, Khabib Numagomedov and delve into some personal questions to help our readers get to know our fearless leader a little better. If you missed part I, you can find it here. The audio for this interview is available here.
UFC Bantamweight Title Situation
I admire Dominick Cruz for a number of reasons, but I'm not a fan of his fighting style. It's baffling to me that they've let him hold onto the title for this long. I think they just keep thinking he's going to recover. I mean, he had to have two ACL surgeries because he went with the cadaver ligament first time, and as Kevin Nicholson of Bloody Elbow told us, that's kind of a high risk, high reward approach, and not what he would recommend, and I think Cruz paid the price for that. Had they known he was going to be out two years plus, they would have stripped him of the title. I also think that because Barao doesn't speak English and Dominick Cruz is very well spoken, he's on Fox Sports and blah blah blah, then you have Barao, who I think a lot of casual fans couldn't tell apart from Jose Aldo to save their lives. I think if Urijah Faber had taken the title, he would be champion by now. I just think they don't have any commercial confidence in Barao as somebody they can sell, so they're letting Cruz sit on the title even though he's never really established himself as a draw.
I don't think it's terribly unfair to Barao. He has defended the interim title more than anyone is ever defended an interim title, but it's not like he's beat Cruz, he didn't beat the man so the title would always have a sort of hollow taste to it. He wants to fight Cruz, he wants to show he can beat Cruz and Cruz wants to defend his title, so I don't think it's a horrible injustice, but I do wish they would go ahead and strip Cruz of the belt. But I'm a pretty vocal non-fan of Cruz's fighting style, so I'm not the most objective person to talk about it.
I don't think we'll see Cruz at 100%. I think Barao will be a prohibitive favorite, I think if Cruz was 100% that Barao would still be a significant favorite; not a massive favorite, but a 2-1 favorite, maybe. Given the two year layoff, and given the nature of the injuries and the multiple surgeries on the same knee, you have to favour Barao, especially with his leg kick game. I can just see him working that knee viciously, and Cruz is somebody who doesn't have the weapons to get a knockout finish, and he's never shown much of an inclination for submissions, so he's going to be looking to outpoint Barao and shut down his game, while Barao is looking to knock him the f**k out. Barao is always going to have an advantage in that he has a lot of ways to win, he can lose rounds and still win the fight, while Cruz needs to win at least three out of five, which is hard to do against somebody as skilled, savvy and experienced as Barao, so I've got to favour Barao six ways from Sunday in that fight.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Pat Healy
What an awesome performance for Nurmy. I was amazed that he was able to handle Healy that well. There was a point in the second round where I thought Nurmagomedov was going to gas, and Healy was going to step up, but that did not happen. Nurmagomedov just stepped up, stopped looking tired and got more aggressive, and from there was doing the Matt Hughes-Frank Trigg thing.
I'd really liked what I had seen of Khabib before this, but I hadn't seen him against the calibre of fighter that Pat Healy is. I'm really high on Pay Healy. What he did to Jim Miller was incredible. Khabib just shut him down, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe the way Healy was unable to establish the clinch, he just had nothing for Khabib; it was amazing.
I don't think Khabib is quite ready for a title shot, they need to get him on Fox or on another Pay Per View main card, maybe one or two more fights before he gets in there and fights for the title, but I think as a fighter he has it all and as a personality he has a lot of character, with the traditional ancestral hat and everything. I love the way he was throwing that in dumbasses faces, who thought that was some kind of afro wig. That was hilarious to me.
I also think that the Dagestan element is interesting culturally. I think it's problematic obviously, because that's a part of the world that's had a lot of trouble, you know? The Boston bomber came from that same neck of the woods, and we're still having hate crimes. We had a bunch of yokels in New York City beat up a Sikh professor this weekend horribly, screaming, ‘Muslim' and ‘Terrorist' and stuff, so you still have a lot of tension, a lot of fear, a lot of racism and a lot of prejudice. I think Khabib is somebody that could help reach across those boundaries and bring people together, and bring some understanding of a part of the world that Americans know very little about, and what we do know is mostly bad.
Let's appreciate some of the good stuff about Dagestan and the people there and their commitment to combat sports and athletics. I think that's one of the upsides of athletic competition; the ability to bring people together when nothing else will. I'm really pumped about Khabib, but I would like to see him get a little bit more exposure so when he does fight for the title it's a really big deal. I don't think there's anybody in the division that can stop him from making a title run. I don't know if can beat Pettis, but up to Pettis? I think Benson Henderson would be a huge test for him, but it's not a matter of wanting to test Khabib, it's a matter of wanting to get him a little bit more exposure before he gets a title shot. That's my thinking on it.
Android, iPhone or Windows phone?
[Laughs] I definitely don't do windows phones. I'm an Android man just because I don't quite trust Apple. I hate iTunes, I hate dealing with iTunes, so I don't want to deal with it any more than I have to. I have an Apple MacBook that I like and use for work. I'm definitely not a fan of the PC, I'm a fan of googles technology and I'm happy with my Samsung phone. I think I have not the latest Samsung Galaxy, but the one before that, the S4, and I'm totally happy with that. The first android I had was a little bit like shooting a .357 or driving a Maserati. At first it was pinning my ears back and every time I touched the phone I felt like I was about to blow something up, but the S4 doesn't have that. I don't know if I've gotten a handle on it or the phones have become easier to use, but it can do anything I need, but I'm definitely not a gadget guy, I could give a shit.
Are you a gamer?
Nah, I think videogames are a complete waste of time. I did play some videogames this weekend; I took my kid to a birthday party and they had a little video arcade where they had a bunch of Donkey Kong and Pac Man machines and shit, and I did enjoy playing some Donkey Kong. I couldn't keep the cougars away from it though, I could only sneak in like one or two games, but that was fun. I play some online chess, that's about it for videogames.
I like Mad Men, and I liked The Wire when it was on, a lot. I've watched The Wire like two or three times through. I've tried to watch Breaking Bad a couple of times, and I just can't get past my suspension of disbelief. I just can't suspend my disbelief for that show. I've had maybe a little more experience with drug dealers than most people, and my wife works in prosecution so she's had a lot more experience, and it just doesn't pass the smell test. Everybody swears by it, and we've tried a couple of times, we've probably watched about a season and a half, but we just can't take it seriously, so I haven't been able to get into it.
When it comes to Dexter, I'm not into the torture porn. I think that's totally immoral and just awful. Same with Quentin Tarantino and stuff. The thing about torture, as Burroughs said, when you torture, you lose your ‘you'. You make think you are gaining some kind of power in a willingness to do anything, but you lose your humanity in the process. It's just a dead end road and I don't like the glamorization of it. That may sound funny from somebody who makes his living from extoling the wonders of cage fighting, but I think there's a huge difference between violent competition and the torture of helpless people. I don't like everything about Dexter. One of my friends is a huge Dexter fan, and she's even saying that the last season is sucking, so there's that.
I just... the torture thing really skeeves me off. The movies like ‘Saw' and the Tarantino Nazi movie... Anybody that knows anything about World War Two knows that the Allies didn't torture, the Nazis tortured. The allies did not do torture, the communists tortured. The allied information techniques that avoided torture were much more effective than torture. If you want to get a false confession, then use torture. I could go on about torture all day, but that's not what we're here for. Torture is bad, kids. Torture is real bad.
Comic Book Movies
I'm a big old school comics fan, I probably haven't read any superhero comics since the late ‘80s, but I still read the old ones to my kid. I liked the X-Men series, especially the first and second one. The third one wasn't that good. I saw half of the Superman movie with Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor, and that was pretty good, though it was slow, but then the power shut down in the theatre so I never finished it. As far as Thor and The Avengers and that stuff, I've tried to watch The Avengers on Netflix a couple of times, and just haven't been able to get through it. I liked the first Iron Man ok, but I didn't watch the second one. I think when you can see the stills in a comic book, it's a lot more fun than looking at the CGI in a movie that to me is a little grey and grainy. Spiderman just looks cooler when he's spinning in frozen motion to me, than he does when it's CGI animation which just looks a little herky-jerky and just doesn't have the same impact on me; maybe if I was eight I would like it.
Recent Movies & Favorite Movie of All Time
I have a five month old baby, so we haven't been to the movies in, you know, five months. I can't remember what the last movie we saw was, I have no idea. My favorite movie of all time? For some reason Usual Suspects is coming to mind, that's not really my favorite movie of all time, but it's one I like. That was in the era I paid a lot of attention to movies. Trainspotting as well. I'm a ‘90s guy. I like Dennis Hopper's ‘The Last Movie', that was the sort of thing I would watch when I was in college and watching psychedelic movies. My video consumption time is all spent on watching fights, I probably watch about 20 hours of fights a week between new events and watching footage of up and coming fighters and re-watching fights to do technical commentary. We don't let the kids watch TV at all, so I can only watch TV when the kids are asleep or not home and that just doesn't leave much time.
I mean, we let them watch some stuff, but we don't make a habit of having it on. If the TV is on and the kids are in the house, they're watching something for the kids. I'm not going to be sitting around the house having cage fighting on and having a five year old walking around seeing it. I've been showing him the universal horror movies, like Dracula and Frankenstein and he likes those. I just see kids today glued to their iPhones and unable to read a book and it just distresses me greatly. I'd rather have a kid that can play outside and read paper. There's plenty of time to watch TV and movies and play videogames.
Place You Would Like to Visit & Favorite Vacation Location?
I'm not a great traveller. I like to travel, but only when we have really good friends or relatives there. I've been really blessed in that aspect, because my family has travelled a lot. Probably my peak travelling experience ever was going to Machu Picchu in Peru when I was 13. The first day we were there was just like your normal, overcrowded tourist thing, and I couldn't appreciate what I was seeing; I just felt like I was on another stupid tour. The next day, after the last train went out, there were literally people hanging on the roof of the train with the strike that was supposed to last weeks coming up, and we said screw it, we can't get this three month old baby on the train, so we ended up getting a week with Machu Picchu all to ourselves, and even as a dumbass 13 year old I could understand that was awesome. I had five days of running around the ruins of Macchu Picchu and having it all to myself, which is an incredible experience.
Other places I've liked being are, Ilha Grande, the island off the coast of Brazil, I like to go to Northern California a lot. We honeymooned in Gualala, California, which is on those big cliffs on the Pacific coast. I had some really strange experiences in Guerneville in the wine country. We were doing this wine country tour and we stop in this little town that's like a David Lynch small town; there's drunk women falling out of SUV's at three in the afternoon, there's people nodding out in the cafés that are clearly junkies, their pupils are the size of needle pricks and they're sitting there nursing a cup of coffee and nodding out, so it was a very David Lynch experience. I enjoy that kind of thing. My wife has family in Holland and Spain, so we've enjoyed both of those, Vancouver is another place that's awesome. As far as places I would like to go... China is probably somewhere I would like to go before I die.
Do you believe in Aliens & UFOs?
I used to be a believer in the Carl Sagan mathematical odds almost guaranteeing that there's going to be intelligent life in outer space, and I do believe there is life in outer space; it seems pretty clear that it's probably teeming with life, but intelligent life seems like a much more difficult prospect. Some of the things we've learned over the past 15 in years in cosmology, and thanks to Hubble in the last 15 years we've got more hard data about the nature of the universe than we had gleaned in all of recorded history before that, and one of the things we've learned is the universe is a very dangerous place filled with quasars and roaming black holes and massive explosions that rip through galaxies at the speed of light and annihilate any life in their path. It seems to me that the evolution of intelligent life is a very, very rare thing, and if we screw this up, which we seem to be doing, that's going to be a grievous sin. That's where I'm at, I'm not expecting to see any intelligent aliens. I also think that if aliens have any intelligence, they'll stay the hell away from us.
I'm pretty much a confirmed atheist, although I really despise people who make atheism a religion. I think if you want to be an atheist, why are you talking about god all the time? Especially in a stupid way. I'm something of a student of Philosophy and Theology, I find that stuff interesting and I've studied a lot of religions, but I've just never been a believer. I've had some belief experiences, but I don't take those to be anything more than subjective mental states that I've experienced, but I think people that go around definitively saying, ‘Oh there is no god,' are idiots, because you can't know that, so why are you talking about it?
It's also distressing to me see science morphing into a sort of fundamentalist form. It was sad enough to see Christianity and Islam morph into these fundamentalist variants, but to see scientific scepticism morph into an intolerant fundamentalist religion is one of the most sad and sickening things I've ever seen. It's just baffling to me that people who fancy themselves critics of religion are racing to emulate the worst aspects of organised religion.
I grew up in a small town Baptist community, and I learned pretty early on that Baptist girls were a whole lot of fun, especially if you were willing to go to church with them, ‘because dad's always sleeping after Sunday services. I spent a lot of time listening to hellfire sermons, so I picked up some of that language.
You can follow Kid Nate via his Twitter account, @KidNate