After Kyle Kingsbury's loss on The Ultimate Fighter, he took some time to sit down with us and talk about his fight, Brazilian soccer players, and the absolute awesomeness of Stankie!
SP: Were you intimidated by Krzysztof's experience?
KK: I knew about his experience, but I also knew that he had quite a few losses. I didn't underestimate him by any means, though. I knew he was very well rounded. I had heard mixed reviews on his ground game in the house and it's kinda hard to know what to believe, because you get information from both sides. I wasn't sure if his hand injury was legitimate or not and I wasn't sure if his ground game was legitimate or not. I guess it turned out to be better than I expected.
SP: So you were getting information form Frank Mir's team?
KK: Yea, I guess a lot of the guys on Mir's team were upset with the way the training was going towards the end. I know Tom Lawlor was one of them. And Junie, which they showed, said that it was hard to get training partners. I guess it was a common theme that guys would go in there and do their own thing. As they would hear more and more about how everybody is training with everybody on Team Nogueira, it got to a few guys. So I was able to get some information from Tom in terms of what Krzysztof's game plan was, and he told me the hand injury was legit. Stuff like that.
SP: What did you think of Kaplan claiming that Lawlor never actually knocked him out cold?
KK: That didn't surprise me at all. Kaplan is the kind of guy who really doesn't give credit to anybody. You could see that from his loss to Phillipe. If you have a game plan that's so dumb -to take a few good punches and take it from there- and it goes the way it did, I wouldn't still be telling people I could take this guy's best punch.
SP: What were your reactions to watching Nogueira play soccer and be pretty horrible at it?
KK: [Laughing] He told us that he never played soccer, but no matter what the sport was, he was going to really bust his butt and lay it all out there. Knowing Nogueira, I thought that if these guys [Mir and Nog] were even remotely close to each other skill-wise, I'd give the edge to Nogueira just because I know he has heart. It's competition against Mir. He even said that it's almost a preview of their fight in terns of mentality and you can see the difference with Nogueira laying out for balls and Mir was just kinda jogging around.
SP: Frank seemed pretty upset about the situation overall, so what were your thoughts on seeing him react that way?
KK: He did get very upset and that's exactly what I had hoped for. With the money on the line and just wanting to win, I didn't mind being a little obnoxious and pulling the antics that I did. It definitely helped and if that was the difference-maker, then I'm glad I did it. On the other hand, I respect the hell out of Frank Mir. I really do. But at that point, I don't think he really liked me going into the competition, so it wasn't like I was going to pull any punches. Obviously, when you get the win it looks like it paid off.
SP: This next one is my favorite question. What was it like for you working with Stankie?
KK: I loved working with Stankie. Honestly, you could have put a better boxing coach on our team for sure. I mean, there could have been somebody that was more technically sounds that would have helped improve our hands a bit more, but given the fact that you're there as long as you are, having a character like Stankie was priceless. He made practices and pre-practices and post-practices and dinner so much better. Every time you were around him, he would just laugh and smile. He brought up morale of the team. On days when you're beat up with aches and pains and you don't really want to train, you have him there yelling, "C'mon pussy!" then smack you upside the head. You would have to smile and say, "Ok, Stankie." He was able to give us good workouts. Maybe he didn't show us the most, technique-wise, but that's fine. I think most guys, myself included, had pretty good striking backgrounds anyway. Having him there, being so happy and funny, that's where the value was. I definitely wouldn't trade him for the world.
SP: That's everything I have. Thanks a lot for your time. Good luck.
KK: Appreciate it.