Fury FC 2-Final Combat Fighter Interview Part 2: Mike EastonOn a card featuring top jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts stars such as Delson “Pe de Chumbo” Heleno (Gracie Barra), who is attempting to avenge a loss to the dangerous Daniel Acacio (Chute Boxe), as well as former BJJ world champion, Givanildo Santana, two names stand out from the others: Dave Kaplan and Mike Easton. Both representing the United States and Team Lloyd Irvin as the only American competitors on this card, they carry with them undefeated amateur and professional records, in addition to a number of regional titles. With both Dave and Mike poised to take the next step up the ladder in the professional fight game, On the Mat interviewed the two American representatives to get some more insight into what it takes to travel to the home of jiu-jitsu and compete against their toughest opposition to date:
Mike Easton of Team Lloyd Irvin in Camp Springs, MD makes his international debut against Brazilian Top Team black belt, Hudson Rocha at Fury FC in Sao Paolo, Brazil on November, 30. He’ll be a long way from home and fighting his most difficult opposition to date, but Mike has been groomed for this fight for some time, and he has the skills in every range not only to make this a tough fight, but to pick up a victory in impressive fashion. His jiu-jitsu pedigree is nothing to turn your nose up at, and it doesn’t even scratch the surface of his overall abilities. A Lloyd Irvin brown belt, Mike is a Pan American purple belt silver medalist, many times Grapplers Quest and NAGA champion, as well as being undefeated in both Muay Thai and mixed martial arts competition. A two-time Reality Fighting Champion (in the 135 lb and 145 lb weight classes) and WKA Eastern Regional and National Champion, Mike is looking forward to taking a leap up in competition in preparation for a potential shot at the UFC and A-level fights in Japan. Only time will tell in regards to the future, but OnTheMat.com caught up with him before his flight to Brazil, and this is what he ha to say:
OTM: How’s it going Mike?
MIKE: Excellent. Unbelievable. I feel great.
OTM: You leave for Brazil two days after Thanksgiving, which gives you a couple days in Sao Paolo to relax and make final preparations for the fight. How are you feeling for the fight, and whom will you have in your corner for this one?
MIKE: I feel great for the fight. I’m in some of the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I can’t wait to get in the ring. Master Lloyd Irvin will be in my corner, as always, and I’ll also have Jeff Ruth.
OTM: Can you describe your style for those who haven’t seen you fight? What are your strengths in the ring?
MIKE: Well, as everyone knows, I love to strike. I love to show my muay thai and boxing skills. I’m also very good on the ground, though. I placed 2nd at the 2006 Pan Am’s at purple belt, which is very tough to do, and I’ve won numerous Grapplers Quest and NAGA titles. I just competed at the ADCC North American trials and made a very good showing. I’d rather strike, but I have no problem going to the ground.
OTM: You’ve been with Team Lloyd Irvin since day 1. How do you feel that the training there prepares you to face a fighter of Hudson Rocha’s caliber?
MIKE: Man, the training at Lloyd Irvin’s Martial Arts Academy is unreal. It’s the best thing since sliced bread…which is WAY better than unsliced bread. Seriously, though, we do things that other teams do not do, and we focus a lot on cardio. We DO NOT get tired. I have awesome training partners for every aspect of a fight. Oh, yeah, and we have awesome Tae Bo. Seriously. Watch out for that stuff, man. It’s no joke…you’re just walking around, trying to relax , thinking nobody is going to jump out of a hallway and spin kick you ninja-style, and BAM! It’s already too late…
OTM: Rumor has it that the UFC may be opening up a 145 lb division in the near future. How would you feel about stepping into the octagon?
MIKE: Oh, that would be a dream come true for me. It’s my destiny to become famous in this sport, and to prove that I am the best 145 lb fighter in the world, I’ll have to step into the cage at the UFC.
OTM: Can you give us a little bit of insight into your strategy for the fight? Can we expect to see some striking, or will you be looking for the submission?
MIKE: Knockout. Plain and simple. It’s the plan, it’s always been the plan. I’m the type of guy who feels that he can stand with anyone, but I can also grapple with anyone. I want to give the fans in Brazil what they want to see, and I’m going to show everyone in the crowd how we roll at Team Lloyd Irvin.
OTM: This fight is unusual for you for a couple of reasons. It’s your first fight outside of the United States, and only your second away from the East Coast. Also, you really haven’t had to cut as much weight for this fight as you typically do. How are you feeling about fighting at 145 lbs and making your international debut?
MIKE: I feel very, very strong at this weight. I am really confident and looking forward to making my international debut. This fight is going to put me on the map, and it’ll set me up to fight the big dogs and let me prove that I am one of the best 145 lb fighters in the world.
OTM: What can you tell the readers about your opponent? Have you been able to get much information on him?
MIKE: He’s a BJJ black belt, and he’s had 4 fights from what I’ve heard. He’s mainly a grappler, coming from Brazilian Top Team and he likes the guillotine choke. As a matter of fact, I like the guillotine choke myself. Sadly, we probably won’t be seeing it, since I’m going to knock him out.
OTM: What made you interested in taking the fight against Hudson, and where do you see your career going following this fight? Are there any specific people you would be interesting in getting into the ring against, or any shows you would really want to fight in?
MIKE: What made me interested? Number one is that I have always wanted to fight in Brazil. I remember back when I was a white belt and first started training, I heard about Hudson and looked his name up. I thought to myself back then that I was going to fight him one day, and now I have the chance to do it. It’s my destiny to make it to the top, and it’s all starting to come true.
I would fight in whatever show pays the best money and puts the best opponents in front of me. I’d gladly fight in the UFC. It would be cool, because I can’t wait to get in the cage against guys like Jens Pulver, Mark Homnick, and Urijah Faber.
OTM: What’s the training regimen like at Team Lloyd Irvin? How do you prepare for your fights?
MIKE: The training is awesome. I do HARD cardio three days a week, a lot of Thai boxing and boxing sparring 3 days a week, and technical striking two days per week. I wrestle and train jiu-jitsu everyday. Practices are two-a-day, everyday…except for Sunday. On Sunday, I mostly like to got to church and chill with my family and friends. And eat Corn Pops. Corn Pops…so good…
OTM: Do you feel that this fight will be any different from your recent fights in the Reality Fighting organization? How will the rules affect the fight?
MIKE: I prepare myself for any and every type of situation, regardless of the rules or organization. They all result in the same thing: me on top, and me as the Champ. I will prove to everyone that I am the greatest 145 lb fighter in the world.
OTM: Your confidence has to be one of your greatest attributes. How do you feel that it affects the way you fight?
MIKE: My confidence IS probably my greatest strength. I believe that I am the greatest, and for me, whatever I believe is true. I believe in myself 100%, and I know that I will do what I say I am going to do. Some people think I am a little cocky…as a matter of fact, I am cocky. All the greats in every sport were from before anyone had heard of them to the time when they were on top. If you don’t think you’re going to win and win big, then what are you doing in the ring?
All that said, I am a cool, genuine guy, though, especially when you meet me, and I respect everyone I have ever competed against.
OTM: Thanks for your time, Mike, and good luck in Brazil. We know you’ll represent, as always.
MIKE: Thank you for interviewing me, man. Team Lloyd Irvin, baby! I have one last thing to say: Brandon Vera is going to be the next UFC heavyweight champ, and I’m coming for that 145 lb UFC belt. It’s all mine, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Mua hahahahahaha!