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UFC Stockholm interview: Alex Nicholson on broken jaws, backfists, and a baby on the way

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UFC middleweight Alex “The Spartan” Nicholson spoke with Bloody Elbow to discuss his UFC Stockholm scrap with Jack “The Joker” Hermansson, sustaining gruesome jaw injuries, and being ranked higher in the world at heavyweight.

UFC Stockholm interview: Alex Nicholson

On the fourth and final fight of his UFC contract, the 7-3 middleweight Alex Nicholson is headed to Stockholm to face Sweden’s own Jack Hermansson, at UFC Fight Night 109 on May 28, 2017. Before heading into enemy territory, Nicholson caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss having his jaw broken in back to back bouts, his opponent tagging him on social media, plus past and potential future bouts at heavyweight.

The first time I saw you compete was in the heavyweight division, at Island Fights 33 in March of 2015. You KO’d Dillon Cleckler with a spinning back-elbow, but what were you doing fighting at 265?

“I was having trouble finding fights, man. I started at ‘85, that’s where I’m back too now at the highest level, but I beat a top ranked guy and then was having trouble finding fights. You can always travel, but when you’re not in a huge organization, they don’t pay for a lot of the stuff, so it’s hard to be able to afford to travel.”

Making your 265 debut by besting current UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman:

“I saw Dillon fight Richard White, who I trained with before when I made my heavyweight debut against Chase Sherman. I beat Chase Sherman, actually with the spinning back fist, and then I followed it up with a nice elbow. Then I got the call to fight Dillon Cleckler and I thought, ‘it’s a big dude, but my technique is there. I think I can survive.’ If you watch the video, he actually landed an overhand right that broke my nose.”

Suffering a broken jaw in your 1st round TKO of Chaz Morgan, to earn a call up to the UFC:

“He landed a big, powerful shot, and it broke my jaw in 2 places. The doctor said my wisdom tooth was coming in, and the jaw bone filled in that space. It was rough, man. That was the only fight I had where I took a step back. I bit down on my mouthpiece and felt my gums fold in. You can see, I had a bigger tooth. My mandible was split in half. Then I realized it was fight or flight, and I’m not the type to run away. So, I really focused in. I remember that feeling. I was dialed in... It was like the Matrix; everything felt slowed down a little bit. I think it was God. God dialed me in, and tuned me to my senses... I throw a left hook, connects, he goes down then I pound his head in until the ref pulls me off of him.”

Re-breaking your jaw in your UFC debut vs. Misha Cirkunov at UFC Fight Night 82:

“A lot of people don’t understand that that was the 2nd time I broke my jaw. A lot of people think, ‘oh, Cirkunov cranked and broke his face.’ Not taking anything away from that guy’s grappling abilities. He’s probably one of the best grapplers on the planet, and that’s something I’m working on. I’ve gotten a lot better. I learned my lesson; getting your face broken on national television, in the biggest thing you’ve ever done, the biggest achievement as far as sports in my life, it set me back, man.”

Proposing to your girlfriend at the weigh-ins:

“It’s the biggest moment in my life, and she’s gotten into martial arts. A lot of people say I did it for people, and this and that, but it was for her, man. I love that girl. I was more nervous about proposing at weigh-ins than I was fighting Misha Cirkunov, and making my debut, because it’s really not a big deal for me to fight. It was great to be able to do that. No matter what you do, people are going to talk, so it was more about me letting her know that she is the biggest, most important thing. To me, my family and my friends go first, above all things, so that was able to signify that for me the best. I was glad I was able to show the world at the same time. It was cool; I think we were SportsCenter’s #4 on the Top-10.”

Baby boy on the way:

“Odin, his name’s going to be Odin. Hannah [Goldy] as well is 1-0 as a professional fighter. She made her debut in Island Fights and she won. That was actually Mikey’s [Perry] last knockout before he got the call to fight in the UFC. She’s planning on popping our baby boy out, and getting her second pro fight within 6 months to a year after, depending on how everything goes, God willing. We’re really excited. I’ve never had more motivation than I do now. Before, it was win for me, for me to progress. Now, it’s not like I want to win for myself, now I have to win for my family.”

The killer mentality :

“A lot of people don’t like the mentality, man. I’m not going to let that opponent hurt me. I’m not going to let him do physical harm. I’m going to hurt him, and I will talk about it that way. I will talk about taking his life in there, because I’m trying to. I’m trying to kill him, because he should be trying to kill me. If he’s not, then he’s going to die. It’s my mentality.”

Travelling for UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm, Sweden:

“We’re excited to go to Sweden. I heard it’s an amazing with amazing people. I feel like travelling helps open you up, open your mind up to new things. Everything kind of correlates together and expands you as a person.”

“Hannah’s coming. She’s going to be real real real pregnant, but we’re ready. The team’s ready; my father will be there. Mike’s [Perry] going to the retreat; they got an athlete retreat for everybody in the UFC. It’s a little bit too close to my fight, but he’s helping me train big time, and he’s deciding whether or not he wants to fly out depending on when he has to come up. If he’s got a fight coming up, he’s got to focus on that. That’s where we’re at now; we like to be there for each other, but we got to focus on business.”

Being tagged on social media by upcoming opponent Jack Hermansson:

“If it’s f-ck me, then it’s f-ck you. Like Sam Alvey, nicest guy in the world, didn’t have a problem with him. We fought, still a good friend of mine. This guy [Hermansson] tagged me in some shit the other day of his little workout video. Like, dude don’t tag me; don’t mention my name. I don’t tag you in my videos. A video of him in the park, and that’s the thing, you call yourself ‘The Joker.’ This isn’t a joke, this is real life. I’m going to come at you with the intent to hurt you. Don’t mention my name.”

Prediction:

“I just don’t see any way that he can beat me. I really don’t. I think I’m a better, bigger, stronger person anywhere it goes. If he underestimates my ground game, I’m going to choke his ass unconscious.”

Hard work paying off:

“The hard work is paying off, man. You know, these guys complain about our paychecks, and obviously, sure I would like more; I would always like more. I have a house, I have a car, my family’s going to be taken care of, and I’m going to knock Jack out in devastating fashion and hopefully turn my $20k into $70k.”

Next:

“I don’t want to sound like the McGregor following, but I fought heavyweight, I fought 205, and I fought middleweight. I’ve beaten a UFC fighter who fights in the UFC at heavyweight, so I’m open to fighting in other weight classes, for sure. Like I said, I’d like to beat Jack [Hermansson], and get back in there as soon as possible, and pull a Cerrone, hopefully a month later, injuries willing.”

Watch UFC middleweight Alex “The Spartan” Nicholson wage war with Jack “The Joker” Hermansson at UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm, Sweden on May 28, 2017. Stay Tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!