Five Minutes with Efrain Escudero Josh Davis May 23, 2011 UFC Efrain Escudero is one of the hottest talents in the light weight division. He first won over fans when he came from nowhere to win the Ultimate Fighter season 8 and then he won over even more fans when he refused to tap in his fight with Evan Dunham. Escudero recently sat down with the MMA Corner to discuss his loss to Dunham as well as his new training partners and his upcoming fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC Fight Night 22 on September 15, 2010. The MMA Corner: How did you get your start in Mixed Martial Arts? Escudero: I grew up wrestling so I have always had that competitive spirit. As a wrestler there is not much you can do after wrestling. You do not have million dollar contracts to turn pro like you do in other sports like football or soccer. MMA was a perfect fit for me. It allowed me to continue to compete and my wrestling knowledge allowed me to move into this sport. The MMA Corner: What made you want to step up to fight Matt Wiman? Escudero: Matt is a real tough opponent and a big name fighter. Everybody in the UFC these days is so well rounded and so talented. Matt, though, is a bigger name so I wanted to do it. I have to move up the ladder somehow and I thought this was a good opportunity to do it. Maybe later on we can fight. The MMA Corner: You were originally schedule to face John Gunderson, then you were expected to fight Matt Wiman and now you are fighting Charles Oliveira, how do you deal with all of these changes in opponents? Escudero: There was a forty-eight hour process where things were changing. There was a little bit of commotion in the gym about who I was training for, but the bottom line is I can always be better. I can always be in better shape, I can always be a better wrestler, I can always be a better boxer so my training is always for me to get better, not just train for one guy. I always go into the gym to train hard and to get better as a fighter. It doesn’t matter who am I fighting I am always training hard. The MMA Corner: Do you feel that a month gives you enough time to properly prepare and game plan for this fight? Escudero: I do believe that a month is enough time for me. I usually do camps about seven weeks out but a month is still four weeks and that should be enough time. I am in great shape and I’m training hard so we will find out September 15. The MMA Corner: What is your game plan for this fight? Escudero: Wouldn’t everybody like to know that? You will just have to tune in and watch on September 15. The MMA Corner: How is your new camp going? Escudero: Camp is going really good. We are picking it up pretty hard. Ben Henderson is helping me a lot. He is a great athlete and a good training partner. All of the guys here are really helpful and they have been kicking my butt getting me ready for this fight. The MMA Corner: How are you enjoying training with your new team? Escudero: Well, I’ve had them since the Dunham fight and I really like them. They are like part of my family now. They are really helpful and supportive and they make me a better fighter. They treat me like just another fighter. I am nobody special and we all want to work with each other to makes us all better. We are a team and everybody here wants to help me. The MMA Corner: What prompted the change to the new camp? Escudero: After the Dunham fight, I noticed that the only thing lacking was my cardio. I learned that I really needed to work on that and get in better shape. So I knew that if I wanted to get better I had to change the people that I was training with. I had to surround myself with the best people possible and this was the way to do it. The MMA Corner: What did you learn from your loss to Dunham? Escudero: I learned that you can’t control being the best fighter, you can’t control being the best jiu jitsu guy, you can’t control being the best boxer and you can’t control being the best wrestler, what you can control though is being the best conditioned fighter, so I learned that is what I needed to work on. The MMA Corner: You have had a lot of time to think about your submission loss, if you are in that same position will you tap quicker or will you try to tough it out? Escudero: I will tough it out no question. If you are going to beat me then you better come and beat me. I am not going to quit. You will have to beat me. The MMA Corner: Do you feel any added pressure from being billed as the co-main event of this card? Escudero: I don’t feel any added pressure. I am looking at this fight as just another fight. I just want to go in there and fight and it doesn’t matter if I am the first fight or the main event. Regardless of where I fight, I could get nervous or antsy but I still have to go out and fight so there is no added pressure. The MMA Corener: What made you decide to fly a fan out to come train with you? Escudero? I want to people to know me as a person. I want to take care of my fans. I didn’t come from nothing, I was never nothing, and I am still nothing. I am just an average kid trying to make a living and I am trying to move up in this sport. I’m doing this because I love it, not because I want to be famous and I just want to give the fans an opportunity to see what this sport is all about. The MMA Corner: What can we expect fro you on September 15th? Escudero: You can expect some early fire works. Expect an Independence Day. On September 15th, Escudero plans to continue to show the world that he is one of the best young talents in the sport. He will use his never say die and no quit attitude to give the fans the exciting fights that they want to see. The light division better take notice, because Escudero is here and he is here to stay.