Just a few weeks ago, we were treated to a fantastic fight at the TUF Nations finale featuring the impressive welterweight standout, Nordine Taleb. He would compete at 185 lbs that night, as that was the weight class he competed at during his time in the TUF house, but says his optimal fighting weight, the one he intends to stay at, is 170.
For Nordine, this was a last chance at a career he'd been dreaming about and working towards for more than 10 years. After a close decision loss in his televised house fight, the MMA community was shocked to see him on the roster for Season 19, the first fighter ever to be on back to back seasons of the long running reality series. The details would come to light that he had actually tried out for TUF 19 first, but lost his fight with Mike King.
Disappointed with his loss, he never expected that 5 days later, he would get a call from the UFC offering him a place in the TUF Nations house that became available when another candidate was forced to drop out. He would go on to lose a controversial decision to Tyler Manawaroa, pretty much wiping away any chance at a spot on the UFC roster.
Ring-a-ding-ding, the UFC is calling again, this time with an opportunity to fight on the TUF Nations finale card, in a bout that would see him rise to the occasion in an exciting, unanimous decision victory against Vik Grujic. Now, with a couple season of TUF in the rear view, and a very decisive victory in the books, Nordine can look forward to his very promising career.
Bloody Elbow was able to secure a quick interview with Taleb who gave details on his fights as well as some future hopes for his UFC career. Here's what he had to say:
Bloody Elbow: Were you expecting to be given this extra shot at a contract?
Nordine Taleb: I lost my fight on The Ultimate Fighter, so I didn't expect to be signed by the UFC. When they called me I was very happy, because I knew it would be my last shot at the UFC, so I prepared myself very, very well to be effective.
Bloody Elbow: While you were competing on TUF, how many days were there between the time you knew you were fighting until the actual fight?
Nordine Taleb: On TUF Canada it was about 4 days, I think.
Bloody Elbow: How long did you know who your actual opponent would be?
Nordine Taleb: Probably 10 days
Bloody Elbow: How long were you in Las Vegas for?
Nordine Taleb: About a week
Bloody Elbow: If you could choose any welterweight to be your next opponent, who would it be?
Nordine Taleb: That's a good question... My objective is to reach the top 10 before 2016, and to be the best you have to fight the best, so whoever will get me there, but of course I'm dreaming about big fights, like Hendricks and Lawler. Whoever I fight, I will fight like it's the last fight of my life.
Bloody Elbow: What was the first fight you ever saw that made you say, ‘I want to be a fighter?'
Nordine Taleb: It was a long process for me, it didn't happen in one moment. Since I was very young I've always dreamed about being a fighter. It was just a matter of timing, opportunity and destiny. Destiny brought me to Montreal, where I was introduced to Tristar gym and Firas Zahabi who built me into a fighter.
Bloody Elbow: What fighters inspire you?
Nordine Taleb: The first fighter to inspire me was Wanderlei Silva. It's not that I want to fight like him, I just like how he always comes to fight in a war. You can see in his eyes that he wants to take your head off, that's what I like.
Bloody Elbow: If there was one area of your fight style that you want to improve on the most, which would it be?
Nordine Taleb: I just want to grow more as a fighter. It's not about the skills. I know thousands of skills standing and I know thousands of skills in Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. For me, it's putting everything together and being able to mix it up more. It's my mind-set before the fight I'm looking to improve more than skills. I don't want to sound cocky, but I've been training my ass off for ten years and I've learned a lot. Now I'm just looking to get experience and let my techniques go more in the fight.
You can follow Nordine via his Twitter account, @NordineTaleb