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UFC Stockholm interview: Ben Saunders on Father Time, Bravo vs. Bisping, and his Latvian roots

UFC Stockholm’s Ben Saunders spoke with Bloody Elbow about facing Dean Lister protege Peter Sobotta, undefeated Father Time, and what went down between Eddie Bravo and Michael Bisping.

With 30 professional MMA matches under his belt, UFC welterweight Ben Saunders is scheduled for his 1st fight outside of North America, as he faces Dean Lister black belt Peter Sobotta, on the main card of UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Teixeira on May 28, 2017. Before heading overseas, Saunders caught up with Bloody Elbow to reflect on his fight with Court McGee in Phoenix, keep it real in regards to Father Time, and his plans to explore Latvia with UFC LHW contender Misha Cirkunov.

Earning a unanimous decision victory over Court McGee at UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Penn:

“Court’s a damn cyborg. I knew going into that fight, how tough he was. We both respect each other tremendously, as professional fighters and just as human beings. There’s a lot of mutual respect there. I think we both did a great job putting on a show and giving it our all throughout the fight.”

Thoughts on seeing B.J. Penn getting dusted by Yair Rodriguez:

“Man, you never want to see someone you like that much go out like that. In the fight game, respect’s got to be given. It’s a testament to that new breed coming up. We’re all here making impacts on the evolution of the game. Hell, I’ve watched B.J. and I am where I am, too, because of the inspirations he’s given. It just sucks when you see that happen, and then it takes you out. Obviously, Father Time is going to be in my future, too. You can’t beat time. It is what it is. Props to both of them. B.J. is a damn warrior; he went out on his shield, and you have to respect that with everything.”

Eddie Bravo vs. Michael Bisping at the MMA Awards:

“I think it was just, a misunderstanding and alcohol just don’t mix well, haha. I don’t know man, it was something that was misunderstood and not really a big deal. Bisping is cool. At the end of it, I offered to help him vs. GSP; Eddie offered to help for GSP. We all know the gameplan is going to be GSP trying to use his wrestling and nullify Bisping on the ground, in my personal opinion. So, we were offering help and we’ll see.”

Michael Bisping vs. Georges St. Pierre cancelled:

“What? From what end?”

Dana White removed GSP from the fight:

“Well, at the end of the day, that works because the #1 contender [Yoel Romero] now gets what he rightfully deserves, and that’s a shot at the title. Who knows.”

You’ve been a professional fighter since 2004; what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in MMA?

“Anytime you see a leg snap in two. Corey Hill, I was on the same card and he was the fight right before me. He had his shin snapped right before I walked, so that was a very eerie situation to kind of wait for, him getting stretcher’d out or carried out and all that... Same thing happened with Anderson Silva. I already knew what was happening; I kind of walked away like, ‘ughhhhhh! That sucks.’ Tyrone Spong you saw happen. unfortunately, in GLORY Kickboxing. I don’t know if it’s the worst injury, but it’s the worst looking.”

Travelling to Stockholm, Sweden for UFC Fight Night 109:

“I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a good time. I’ve never been there. I’ll be able to go out and acclimate to the timezone change. We also got a 10th Planet out there, right there in Stockholm, so I’ll have a place to train out there. If there’s a language barrier, I won’t even have to deal with it. So, I’m like super stoked for it.”

Exploring Latvian roots with UFC light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov :

“I’m actually going to go to Latvia with Misha, after the co-main event. He’s from Latvia. I’m going to go out there because that’s where I’m from originally. That’s where my grandmother’s from. I’ve never been, so I want to check it out. She passed away like 2 years ago, so it would be cool to see where she came from, and where half of my genetics came from. It’s going to be super cool, man, and then I’m going to try to do a few seminars around Europe, just kind of visit and chill.”

Thoughts on your 16-5-1 opponent Peter Sobotta:

“He’s very tough, a very good opponent. I think I have more fights, more experience, more fights at a high level. I’ve fought some real tough competition. He’s fought some good guys, too, but ultimately I’m too good in this game. I feel like I’m literally in my prime right now. I think I can beat anybody and this guy, unfortunately, is just next in line. As far as skillset and respect, 100%. He’s well rounded. His main strength is his groundwork, and I welcome that everyday against anybody.”

How does an Eddie Bravo protege vs. Dean Lister protege play out?

“I think I can finish it standing; I think I can finish it on the ground, and my statistics prove I can do it in every round. So, who knows? I try to flow. I don’t need to over-anticipate what my plans are. I’m well rounded. I’m dangerous and can finish the fight from every angle, every range. That’s what I worked my entire life to get to.”


“Man, you give me a list of the Top-10, and I’ll say them all.”

Watch UFC welterweight Ben Saunders wage war with Peter Sobotta 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!

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