"He's been a champion for a long time and I was hearing rumblings even before the fight that he was looking to get out of this soon. Me and you have talked about it; you can't have one foot in the game and one foot out in fighting. It has to be all or nothing or it makes things very difficult. So if he has those thoughts planted like his end is near, then it's time to go. If you can't fully commit 100% to this, you will get hurt," stated world-class boxing and mixed martial arts trainer Ron Frazier, who shared his thoughts on a number of topics, including Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, Chael Sonnen, Robbie Lawler, and much more. Check it out!
PC: You have a few fighters that just made their successful pro debuts. Tell us about them.
RF: Yeah, Shai Lindsey made his pro debut and he submitted a guy in the 2nd round. Gil Guardado fought on the same card and he got a submission [guillotine] in the 1st round after some brutal ground and pound. The guy realized that standing up with him was going to be a problem, so he took it to the ground and it was even more of a problem.
PC: I have heard you talk about those two guys for some time now. What was the thing that you were looking for that made you decide to turn them pro?
RF: Gil had 8 amateur fights and Shai had 7. Shai is only 20 years old and he's been with me since he was 14 and it was just time. He is one of those guys where no one will ever outwork this kid and he picks up on everything. You show him a move and all of a sudden he is doing the move that you showed him on you, and it's like, "Wait a minute! You're not supposed to be doing that that quick." And then I have another kid, Boston Salmon, and we are gonna turn him pro here soon. He is at the next level as far as hands is concerned. And just working with these young guys keeps me on my toes a little bit and makes me get back to the basics that I even forgot about.
PC: Coming from a boxing background where guys have hundreds of fights as an amateur and going to MMA where guys have 10 fights or so and then turn pro, how different is that for you and how did you adjust?
RF: It is a little bit different in a sense of when they turn pro in MMA, they are still growing and learning, but it is on-the-job training. So you have to be careful with that. But a lot of guys, like Gil for instance, have been training with me for 5 years. Shai has been training with me for 6 years, so they put in a lot of work with me and they have trained with a lot of advanced pros and held their own, so it was time. Boston is a different case because he is a kid who had an extensive amateur background. I didn't know he had wrestled as well. He was ready to turn pro in boxing and he had a sour taste in his mouth with some of the things that were going on and he wanted to try his hand in MMA. I didn't know he had wrestled for 4 years already and once I found that out, I was like, "This is easy!"
PC: Another guy you spent a lot of time with is Johny Hendricks. It had to be tough to see him lose that type of decision to GSP.
RF: It was tough to see because I know Johny and I know he worked extremely hard for that fight and to have it go to the judges like that where I think people clearly saw that he won 3 rounds and maybe lost 2...it's tough. But that's part of the fight business. The judges have a job to do and sometimes they don't get it right. There is a way to alleviate that and make sure it don't go to the judges, and that's easier said than done when you have great fighters and great champions, but there were situations where Johny even said himself that he was holding a little back because he was worried about going the full 5 rounds.
PC: Based on some of St-Pierre's recent performances, do you think he should start thinking about retirement or do you think people are overreacting?
RF: I think it's a situation where he is under a lot of pressure. He's been a champion for a long time and I was hearing rumblings even before the fight that he was looking to get out of this soon. Me and you have talked about it; you can't have one foot in the game and one foot out in fighting. It has to be all or nothing or it makes things very difficult. So if he has those thoughts planted like his end is near, then it's time to go. If you can't fully commit 100% to this, you will get hurt.
PC: Do you think it's time for the UFC to stop selling Chael Sonnen as a co-main event type of guy? Not taking anything away from Rashad because he put on a great fight, but with the exception of the Shogun fight, Chael hasn't looked up for some of these challenges lately.
RF: It was time for that a long time ago. The thing is this, if you look at his fights...and nothing against Chael. Chael sells tickets and he has a great stick that he does, but that was his 14th loss. If you look at his record, he hasn't been elite ever really. He talked himself into the second Anderson Silva fight, he talked himself into the Jon Jones fight, and then he beat Shogun. But you never know what you are gonna get from Shogun. You can get Shogun that's motivated or the one that don't care. So he beats Shogun and everyone is like, "He's back," and then he gets dominated by Rashad and then it's like, "Wait a minute!" Chael is what Chael is. And plus, Chael is not a 205er. If you look at his record at 205, it's always been iffy.
PC: What did you think about Robbie Lawler pulling off the upset against Rory MacDonald?
RF: I wasn't surprised. I actually told somebody on a radio show the day before...he was a +300 dog and I said he was a very live dog. He is only like 30 or 31 years old, although he's been fighting for a long time because he is a kid that turned pro at 18 or 19 years old. It's another situation where he got with a different camp and learned some new tricks and he seems more focused and motivated than he's ever been. He has always been a big hitter and very dangerous, but I think now that he's taking his craft more serious, he's gonna be very dangerous and he can beat a lot of people.
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