“Never give up your dreams. I was just a kid who went to the gym to have fun and now this is what I do for a living, so never give up.”I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob at Proving Grounds on April 21, 2007. Rob currently holds the World Extreme Cagefighting light weight title after an impressive win over fellow Muay Thai veteran, Kit Cope last January.
The Huntington Beach, California Native began his tracks in the sport with Muay Thai Kick boxing, eventually making the transition to cage fighting. He reveled in win after win becoming one of the most feared light weights in MMA, making his mark as a World Extreme Cagefighting and King of the Cage veteran, and holding an impressive record of 14-3. Rob is the owner of the Huntington Beach Training center and is the head instructor, training with fellow MMA veterans, Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Marlene: Tell me how you feel about tonight.
Rob: I can’t wait to see the fights tonight, I got one of my guys fighting, Randy Bowers. He trains with me and is one of my sparring partners, so hopefully it’ll be an exciting night.
Marlene: How is WEC working out for you after your win over Kit?
Rob: Its working out well, I just bought brand new Lexus yesterday and a brand new house, so it’s working out well for me. My game has come full circle and I’ve really been able to use my stand up skills to my full ability now and it’s paying off, literally.
Marlene: You’re definitely known for your low leg kicks, and you’re actually a Muay Thai instructor that made that transition. Tell me about your last fight with Kit Cope. Was that tough match up for you because he was coming strictly from a Muay Thai background?
Rob: It was cool! To me it was my proving grounds and a chance for me to say “Hey, I’m not just a striker, I’m an MMA fighter, and I’m well rounded.” A lot of people said that I only fight guys that aren’t that good at stand up and I proved them wrong. I fought a guy that was equal to me on his feet and I just had better hips, I took him down and pounded him out.
Marlene: Throughout your career you established yourself as an amazing fighter, which fight would you say allowed you to evolve your game and made you want to push yourself even further.
Rob: Every time I’ve ever lost a fight, which has been three times, I’ve gotten better from it; I’ve learned from my mistakes, just like any true champion does, they learn and say to themselves “ I will get better.” Josh Thompson, for example, I wasn’t really in that fight mentally, we went to it for 15 minutes, and I learned from it. I healed up and went “Alright, there’s some shit I need to learn.” And I did.
Marlene: You have some big names at you gym. Are you working with them on a regular regimen, or how is that working?
Rob: Yeah, I brought in a big group of guys, mainly Zach Light whose an Iowa wrestler and just fought in the UFC. Randy Bowers whose fighting tonight here at No Limits. Russ Mira, Tiki, I got all these guys that surround me. We all come together and everybody has something they’re good at whether its stand up, Jiu Jitsu or wrestling.
Marlene: What’s next for you Rob? You just won that WEC Championship and that looks great for you but who are you looking at to fight at the in the near future.
Rob: I have the belt and I’m really glad I have the belt, and I worked really hard to get there, but to me it’s the defending that belt and serving up the next victim I get. To me I’m just having fun just beating people’s ass!
Marlene: Is there any body you have your eyes on? Any particular fighter you want to get your hands on?
Rob: Yeah, the next one that I’m in line for! The next guy that steps up, he’s getting a beat down.
Marlene: Anything else you want to add for Onthemat.com?
Rob: Yeah, never give up your dreams. I was just a kid who went to the gym to have fun and now this is what I do for a living, so never give up. I also want to thank Team Punishment, Sprawl, the HB Ultimate Training center and all my training partners, picos picosos and DVS Shoes.