Interview with TUF Semi-Finalist Kyle Watson

(GusDom) Well, it’s a pleasure to have the chance to interview you. Can you just fill us in on how you got started in BJJ as well as MMA:


(Kyle) I was always interested in martial arts, but growing up in a small town, there wasn’t anything available. We didn’t even have wrestling in our high school. So I was left watching Bruce Lee and Van Damme movies, thinking that this was what fighting was all about. After discovering the UFC, my eyes were opened, but it wasn’t until college that I was able to understand for myself what real fighting was. I stumbled upon a world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor (Jack McVicker) and I became an addict. My whole world and decision-making process revolved around my training schedule. Then, after about a year and a half of dedication, I wanted to test my progress in a realistic setting. At the time, the popularity of MMA wasn’t anything like it is today. I had to look around and try to find a promoter who would let me get in the ring/cage. Today there are local fights every weekend, and promotions are a dime a dozen. I won my first fight and couldn’t describe the rush. So I decided to continue that direction, and with each fight I furthered my pursuit of becoming a better martial artist. But ultimately as the popularity of the sport gained momentum, my goals shifted and I decided that I wanted to be known in the sport and hoped to make a career of it one day. And here I am.


(GusDom) How did you get involved with Matt Hughes’ Hit Squad?:


(Kyle) There were a lot of things that seemed to fall into place that led me to the Hit Squad. First, Marc Fiore (Hit Squad head coach) moved to my home town. And with my success in BJJ competitions and MMA fights, he had seen my name in the local paper a few times. I think this set the stage. Secondly, I became friends with a guy (Derek) who fought on the same show that I fought Spencer Fisher. He also happened to be friends with the gym Manager Todd Laux. When it came time for the gym to open and they began looking for a BJJ coach, my name was dropped. And oddly enough, Derek was my first Jiu-Jitsu student when I started at the gym. In addition, a few of the guys who were helping Hughes prepare for his second match with GSP were also old training partners of mine. So once again my name got tossed around. At that time I had already graduated from the University of Illinois and had a great management job in Champaign, IL . I was sitting at my desk one day when I got the call from Fiore. At first I thought it was a prank. I had been working full time and fighting on the side, but it was very difficult to manage it all. I was spreading myself too thin. Fiore offered to interview me for the head BJJ coach position. I was honored and excited, and after I interviewed, they gave me the position. And here I am three years later.


(GusDom) You tried out for the TUF 12 show and obviously got in. Tell us what the experience was like, as well as some funny moments that happened in the house:


(Kyle) It was a really strange dynamic. It’s weird cause I watched all the shows but a lot of it you really can’t grasp from watching it. I was telling a lot of people before the show that I was really mentally strong and I would breeze right through this. I lived in the dorms here (at the H.I.T Squad) for two years. I got there and the isolation was the killer. I didn’t understand that they were going to take away everything, no TV, no music, nothing to read. The only thing we were allowed was one religious text so you could have the bible. The reason they did this is for example, if someone had an IPOD they would just go in their room and listen to music if they had nothing to do and that doesn’t make for good TV. There were no board games and no cards. Guys would sit around for hours and play cards if they could. All we had was a pool table, swimming pool and liquor. Basically they wanted us to all mingle together and get pissed at each other. It was a really strange set up and it pushed us to our limits. there were several funny moments though, like when Nam got caught in the shower, washing himself vigorously. Also, it was classic when Koscheck walked in while marc Stevens was making fun of him.


(GusDom) How has being on the show changed your life?:


(Kyle) It has made me a lot busier. I feel like I am attached to the computer and phone. But it has helped in a lot of ways. I am getting contacted about conducting seminars much more frequently. I am also gettting better sponsorship opportunities and recognition. It is very satisfying to know I have reached one of my big career goals. Now I just have to keep winning.


(GusDom) What do you enjoy doing? Other than fighting of course:


(Kyle) In my free time, I love to hang out with my friends, fiancee, and three dogs. I am also passionate aout teaching Jiu-Jitsu as well. It doesn’t feel like work because I love doing it.


(GusDom) Ok, feel free to give any shout outs (friends/sponsors):


(Kyle) Follow me on my official website, facebook (Kyle Watson – The Ultimate Fighter Season 12) and Twitter (@kylewatsontuf12). Also, check out my sponsors and Thanks for your support!!!

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