"Almeida is a real good Jiu Jitsu guy, so you gotta respect his skills man. The second you disrespect his skills, you're going to get disrespected. But I'm definitely focusing a lot of my training on ground defense and standing back up...Almeida's strong point is his ground, but like I've said in previous interviews, this guy may come out looking like Sugar Ray Leonard. You never know until the bell rings and you go through a couple of combinations. I'm just training to fight a bad ass motherfucker in Ricardo Almeida and just like my other fights, enjoy the show," stated UFC middleweight Kendall Grove as he talked about his upcoming clash with Ricardo Almeida at UFC 101. Check it out!
PC: How is your training progression been going?
KG: It's going good. I feel good. I have a few small injuries here and there for this camp. Hopefully I'm going to be 100% by August 8th, but I'm just training smart and hard. I'm fighting a well-accomplished Jiu Jitsu practitioner and just getting my game on.
PC: Now that you're training out of Hawaii full-time, how long does it take for you to adjust to the different time zones? How soon will you be making your way to Philadelphia?
KG: I will be heading to Orange County to link up with BJ's guys on the 26th to do my last hard week there with them. That will give me a chance to graduate and see where I'm at and get acclimated to that time and then jump on a short 6-hour flight to Philadelphia instead of being on a 12-hour flight straight, so I will have a week to adjust to west coast time and then 4 or 5 days to get acclimated to east coast time. I think I outta be good getting acclimated for this fight.
PC: I'm sure you have watched a ton of footage on Almeida since we last spoke. Have you seen anything new in his game?
KG: Yes, if he gets your neck, protect (laughing). He's really good with the guillotine. He's really strong at it. You could tell that's like his bread and butter. He gets it all of the time. It's no joke, so I flew in a lot of good guys to help me prepare for this kind of fight. Training with guys that are real good at the guillotine and front head locks; they've been busting me up. I've been getting a lot of technical Jiu Jitsu looks. I got the Maui boys helping me with my standup and stuff, so yeah man, I can't wait.
PC: A lot of people are assuming you're strictly working your ground game to defend against Almeida, but how important is it for you to make sure your hands are tight because that's where you want the fight?
KG: Almeida is a real good Jiu Jitsu guy, so you gotta respect his skills man. The second you disrespect his skills, you're going to get disrespected. But I'm definitely focusing a lot of my training on ground defense and standing back up. I'm also training everything else, like my hands, my kickboxing, a lot of Vale Tudo sparring and just real technical stuff. I've been doing a lot of strength and conditioning and training smart man, trying to come into this thing with as less injuries as possible. I'm training to fight the world champ every time now. Almeida's strong point is his ground, but like I've said in previous interviews, this guy may come out looking like Sugar Ray Leonard. You never know until the bell rings and you go through a couple of combinations. I'm just training to fight a bad ass motherfucker in Ricardo Almeida and just like my other fights, enjoy the show.
PC: One thing that you Hawaiian fighters get knocked for is not training hard. Do you think it's just because Hawaii is a vacation spot for most of us so people think you guys are over there on vacation as well?
KG: I don't know. I'm not here to live up to anybody's expectations. I'm here doing my own thing. It's funny being in Hawaii because like Matt Hughes said when he was getting ready to fight BJ, we can just jump in the water whenever we want. We don't need shirts, we're on the island, we just need a pair of sunglasses; that's us. But we also train too, you know? We got hit with that hard, especially after BJ's last fight. But every dog has his day, you know. I don't know the reason we get that stereotype, but we're human beings. Sometimes we have personal problems that they try not to bring into the cage with them, but sometimes you can't help it. Other times, it's just not our night. Who knows what the reason was? I know he was training hard. I always train hard for every single fight, but we also train smart to be prepared. I don't want to look like a punk out there, but sometimes your opponent is good enough to make you look like a punk (laughing). But that's the game we play. We roll the dice every time we go out there. The fight game is a gamble, you know. You go in there and you're fighting somebody else and whatever happens, happens. I fight for myself, my family, my friends and where I come from. If anybody else doesn't like that, they can go eat a cock meat sandwich. I don't care what they say. I don't care what they think. It bugs me because anytime you see somebody talking negative about you, it bugs you, but I'm not going to let it upset me to where I do something stupid or let it bother me to where I'm not going to perform good. I just laugh at it because these guys have nothing better to do but to hate on me, so I'm just going to go out there and fight and put on a show.
PC: I know your daughter is coming up on her first birthday. How do you plan on celebrating that with her before you leave the island?
KG: I'm actually going to Orange County the day after her one year birthday party. But we got a little shindig here in Hawaii. I know Joe Stevenson and his family is coming down and a couple of my other friends in Vegas are coming down. We're going to have a big Luau party. We Hawaiians do it big out here for the one year party so we're ready. No drinking for me though; just a little pig and then the next day, fly out to Orange County and then its game time.
PC: Is there any pressure on you fighting on the card that follows UFC 100?
KG: I don't give a shit. I'm just excited that I'm fighting one more time. Pressure? Nah, there is never any pressure unless your job is on the line. But I honestly didn't see the card. I got the play-by-play from Rude Boy. I heard Bisping got knocked the fuck out bad, Lesnar looked pretty good and St. Pierre looked awesome and unstoppable as usual. There is no pressure though. Every fight is the best thus far, you know what I mean? I don't feel any pressure fighting after 100. Our card could have all better fights or it could just bomb totally. You never know until the event happens, but I know there are some great fights in the future and fuck that shit!
PC: You know it's always good to catch up with you my man. Is there anything you want to say in closing? If you can't handle the heat then get out of the kitchen.
KG: Thank you Percy for giving me the opportunity to do an interview with you before my upcoming fight. Thanks to all of the fans, all of Hawaii, all of my mainland fans. Thanks to Punishment, Cage Fighter, my boy Ingmar Santos from coming down from Brazil to help my school out, all of the boys at I&I and my daughter...Happy Birthday, KG!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]