Once at the top of the UFC heavyweight division, Jeff Monson has been on a roll lately, racking up eight straight victories. In that stretch, he has notable victories over King of the Cage champion Tony Lopez and Croatian prospect Maro Perak.

Monson took part in an interview with The MMA Corner to discuss his upcoming fight against undefeated Daniel Cormier. This fight will take place on Saturday, June 18 at “Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum.”

“The Snowman” has not fought in a major organization since 2009 at Dream 8, but is focused to step back into the spotlight.

“I’m really excited,” said Monson. “It was my dream to fight for a big organization again and now I can live that.  I’m determined to go in there and prove myself all over again.”

Since his fight under the Dream banner, Monson has bounced around in smaller organizations, fighting in almost every month. At 40-years-old, you would think this many fights in a small span would affect him, but he says otherwise, “I feel great.  I just had to get all these tests done now that I’m 40, so I’ve been poked and prodded and am great!”

His opponent, Cormier, is a former collegiate wrestler at Oklahoma State, and has also competed in the Olympics for the United States. When asked about Cormier, Monson stated, “I think he is a great fighter and wrestler and this is a good match-up for us.  I know he will try and use his wrestling against me and take me down, but I feel good fighting on my back, so I’m ready for whatever he throws my way.”

Monson is a member of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., one of the premier training camps in mixed martial arts. The main priority when preparing for Cormier will be working on his takedown defense, as well as keeping his body healthy.

“I’ve been training with my team at ATT and IHP.  I’ve been focusing on my takedown defense and ground game for sure as well as my endurance and cardio.”

Monson is known for his ground game, not in the wrestling area, but in the grappling department. Twenty-six of his 42 wins have come by way of submission, and he has also won many grappling competitions in his career.

So how does Monson see the fight playing out?

“I think it will be a ground fight.  He’s going to use his wrestling and I’ll use my grappling and BJJ.  Hopefully, I’m able to take him out before it goes to decision. My goal is to put on an amazing show for my fans.”

This will be the toughest MMA challenge for Cormier, but will be an impressive victory for the veteran as well if he can emerge with his hand raised.

“It will prove this old man has still got it!” exclaimed Monson.

Monson is certainly not one of the bigger heavyweights in the world, measuring 5-foot-9 while weighing approximately 230 pounds. He believes a move down to light heavyweight is approaching.

“My plan has always been to move down to light heavyweight,” Monson explained.  “Of course, a lot will depend upon what Strikeforce wants me to do, but I’m hoping that after this scheduled fight I can start to make the drop.  My goal was to start fighting at light heavyweight by end of July/August.”

Early in his career, Monson competed in the UFC on two separate occasions, first from 2000 to 2002, and then was resigned again in 2006. On the idea of getting a third chance in the UFC, Monson is all for it.

“I left on great terms with the UFC and would love the opportunity to fight with them again,” Monson stated. “Strikeforce has offered me a multi-fight deal, but now that they are under the Zuffa brand who knows how everything will play out.”

During his time in the UFC, he faced some of the best fighters in the world including Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and Ricco Rodriguez. But the most notable bout of his career came when he challenged Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight belt, a fight in which Monson lost by unanimous decision.

Is a rematch possible for these two?

“Every fighter always wants to go back and face those he lost to,” admitted Monson. “I’d love to face him again and prove that loss was just a fluke for me.”

Monson will certainly not look past Cormier, and is focused on defeating anyone put in front of him. “I just want to fight for and win another championship, so whoever is standing in that way I want to fight.”

Jeff Monson can be followed on Facebook and via Twitter (@JeffMonson).  He would like to thank Training Mask for helping him prepare for this fight, as well as Feltus, Live Colors, La Parilla, ATT, IHP and his management team at ML Management, Tina and Ray.

Photo Credit: MMA Linker

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.