Rory Markham will make up half the co-main event at UFC 95 when he takes on Britain's own Dan Hardy, Feb 21 live and free on Spike TV. Markham made his UFC debut last July at Fight Night 14 and turned heads with his highlight reel knockout over Brodie Farber, but still caught some criticism and now he'll be looking to prove he's for real. Check out this exclusive interview after the jump.
SP: How has your health been?
RM: Great; 100 percent. To have some time in between fights is really crucial. It's an under-looked and under-appreciated element of the sport. We need our rest; we need to get out of the game for a little bit. Even if it's just to stop answering questions from your buddies like, ‘Oh, hey, how's it been,' you know. It's just about gettin out of the game for a little bit. It's a crucial element for me, or else I'm really going to end up not liking my job, and I love my job so I want to keep it that way.
SP: You've had a lot of trouble in the past with injuries, so are you doing anything differently to help prevent that from happening in the future?
RM: Not really. In the past, my fights were so close together that a nagging injury would hinder some of my intense training, and if you've got a fight right around the corner, you have to back off of them. Now that I can space them out better and know when I'm going to fight, I can peak right and do all the right things, and that's how you're gonna get the best fights.
SP: I would never say this, but there are some out there who claim the Miletich Camp isn't what it once was. What do you say to those people?
RM: I just tell them to be patient. There definitely has been a changing of the guard; we have the new killers coming up in me, Ben Rothwell, Ryan McGivern, Mike Ciesnolevicz, L.C. Davis, and Josh Neer. Jesse Lennox is a new stud coming up. We've got plenty of guys, it's just younger guys and we're all chomping at the heels and we're all ready to go out there and improve ourselves. In any changing of the guard, there's a little time of hiatus. Right before the elephant wakes, he's in his deepest sleep and I think that's what's going to happen; you're going to see a whole new generation of Miletich Team comin' out and destroying guys. And some of are already established, so it's just a matter of time before we hit our stride.
SP: You're a big movie buff. Have you seen any good ones lately?
RM: Absolutely. Taken with Liam Neeson. It was the first time I had seen my girlfriend Nicolette literally sitting on the edge of her seat. I looked at her and said, ‘What are you doing?' and she said "I'm sorry, this is just so great." He was so believable as a character. Coming from a family man to becoming what he becomes, I just saw that character change and he really covered all the dynamics of a human being and I really loved his performance.
Image Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Image Sport/Getty Images
SP: So do you have any picks for the Oscars?
RM: Honestly, this is just my bias, I want Heath Ledger. Some of these comic book movies, man. I haven't met anyone who didn't say Iron Man wasn't one of the best movies they'd ever seen. But The Dark Knight was just so dark and gritty. The Nolan brothers were able to capture it, and with Heath Ledger's performance, if he doesn't grab it, I'm going to be really disappointed in the Oscars. It was something that was jut freaky, and I was just so impressed with that.
SP: Have you ever been to London?
RM: No, this will be my first time across the pond. It's something that I've wanted to do, I've wanted to get travel out of this job, err, career. I forgot who said, "Don't tell me what you know, tell me where you've been," there's a lot of weight to that and I hope to go out and get cultured from this. Dan Gable said it best, "There's nothing like experience," and all you're experiences add to your depth as a fighter, and that's what I really seek.
(ed note: Mark Twain said "Don't tell me what you know, tell me where you've been.")
SP: You and Hardy are both bangers, are you expecting a war out of this?
RM: Yea, I think so. It's definitely slated to be. I'm going to try and execute my game plan and be smart and not get too lulled into what he's doing. I always like to impose my will on my opponents and my will is always exciting.
SP: Alright Rory, that's all I have. It was good talking to you. Thanks for your time and good luck.
RM: Ok, man. Thanks a lot. I'll see you around.