"I think it's a great style for me. It's a great matchup. I eat Jiu Jitsu guys for breakfast a lot of times. He's tough and he's got really good Jiu Jitsu and good standup. He's a well-rounded fighter, but I have fought 2 and 3-time Jiu Jitsu world champion guys man. And I'm a grappler myself so I really have some surprises for him. I have a tremendous respect for Dustin as an opponent...I should be able to overpower him, beat on him a little bit and catch him in submissions myself. Dustin is not going to do anything that I've never seen before. He's not going to throw anything my way that I've never seen. He's good off of his back and a good Jiu Jitsu guy, but that's all he is," stated stated UFC welterweight contender Karo Parisyan as he talked about his return to the Octagon after a long layoff to face Dustin Hazelett at UFC 106. Check it out!
PC: Karo, it has been a very long time since we last spoke. How are you doing man?
KP: Good man. I'm just training; 3 weeks until the fight, so 2 more weeks of hard training so I'm ready to go.
PC: Who have you been working with to prepare for Hazelett?
KP: I worked with Randy a little bit in Vegas. I did a couple of weeks out there. They have good wrestlers, good stand up guys, boxers and Jiu Jitsu guys; a lot of tall and lanky guys like Dustin. I've been getting them to kind of mimic what he does and I'm working on a lot of strength and conditioning. I just came back from training and its freaking hell, you know?
PC: I spoke to Dustin earlier and asked if he thought you were a good opponent for him because both of you guys had long layoffs. He felt that it didn't really matter, but thought you were a good fight for him style-wise. Do you think his style is a good one for you as well?
KP: I think it's a great style for me. It's a great matchup. I eat Jiu Jitsu guys for breakfast a lot of times. He's tough and he's got really good Jiu Jitsu and good standup. He's a well-rounded fighter, but I have fought 2 and 3-time Jiu Jitsu world champion guys man. And I'm a grappler myself so I really have some surprises for him. I have a tremendous respect for Dustin as an opponent. I don't know him as a person, but he looks like a nice guy. But like I said, I have been training a lot with tall and lanky guys. I think it is a great matchup due to the fact that I should be able to overpower him, beat on him a little bit and catch him in submissions myself. Dustin is not going to do anything that I've never seen before. He' not going to throw anything my way that I've never seen. He's good off of his back and a good Jiu Jitsu guy, but that's all he is. I'm a grappler myself, a Judo artist. I have good takedowns and my standup has come a long way, so it's a very good matchup man. I can't wait. I can't wait to get in the cage and it's going to be a lot of fun.
PC: You haven't fought since January and you will be coming off of a suspension. How did you deal with that mentally?
KP: It was a long layoff, yeah man. And I got married and a lot of stuff going on. It was a long layoff, but like I said man, I could be off for 4 or 5 years and still perform. I was off for 3 years and came back and fought Jason "Mayhem" Miller and dominated Mayhem. The doctor threw the towel in because he couldn't watch what was going on. I full mounted him and pounded on him, so I've fought before while coming back. As long as I'm training. I'm good. But the commission...I really got screwed man, big time. I thought that they should have made it a little bit easier for me, but they didn't. They gave me a real fist in the butt.
PC: They came down on you pretty hard. Have you taken care of all of the issues with the medication so you won't be in the same situation?
KP: Yeah. I'm feeling good now. I had a pulled hamstring and it always hurt, so I was taking something every now and then because it always hurt. It never healed. I have a chunk of muscle missing out of my leg, but it's all good. Everything is straight and like I said, I'm trying to stay focused and train for the fight. I want to beat Dustin pretty decisively.
PC: You fought another lanky Jiu Jitsu artist in Nick Diaz and that turned out to be a very good fight. Do you see Dustin in that same light or would you put him a peg under Diaz?
KP: No, I see a similar fight. It is a very similar matchup as to when I fought Nick Diaz. The thing is Diaz just keeps coming forward and forward man and that's how he breaks his opponent and beats them, so I'm going to push the pace on Dustin. I'm going to go man and I'm going to try to finish him.
PC: He's coming off of a layoff because of an injury, so at some point, he had to take time off from training. Your layoff is because of a suspension, so you could actually get in the gym still. Is that why it's important that you push the pace in hopes of tiring him out?
KP: Yeah. It should be a real good fight, I hope, and I want to win with conditioning. I want to put him on his back and wherever it goes, I'm going to be comfortable. I want to beat him up decisively and I want to outcondition him. I've been working on my conditioning a lot, my strength, my hands and my grappling. But that's it man. I'm going to push the pace and try to get that year that he's been off to show up. I want to see that ring rust. I will control the cage in every aspect of the fight, take him down, beat him up and get a submission or try to knock him out. Wherever this fight goes is fine. I'm sure he's got a lot of Judo guys to help him prepare for me, but every guy that I've fought, I've thrown. Even when I fight Judo guys, I eventually get my throw in and end up on top. When I fought Dong Yun Kim, he was a National Judo Champion in Korea. I believe he was 12-0; a great Judo guy. He was a National Team member and Korean Judo is freaking sick and I was able to throw him. I was in good shape that night, but I had taken some pain pills for my leg and I was sleepy during the fight.
PC: You have been labeled as a lazy fighter, a guy who doesn't train hard and a cocky fighter. What do you feel is the biggest misconception about Karo Parisyan?
KP: People don't understand man, when I talk, I am a real honest guy. When I am asked a particular question, I give a real honest answer. Sometimes it comes out wrong and people think I'm a douche and stuff. I don't think it comes off as a douche, I just think it's honest man. I think people misunderstand that a lot. They think I'm a douche, I love to talk and that I'm cocky. I'm never cocky man. When it comes down to the fight, I always respect my opponent and I know what could happen in the fight, so I'm not even cocky like that. It is a thin line between cocky and confidence. I like to show confidence and I think it's a misconception a lot of times on the way I come off, the way I talk and the things that I say. People like to say I'm not in shape and stuff, but shape or no shape, I am going to give you hell during the fight. I got a big heart and I've shown it many many times in my fights. I'm going to push this fight man. I'm going to prove people wrong. It's like the rebirth of Karo Parisyan. I gotta take over the division. I have never had an easy fight. I've always had tough guys in front of me. You can look at my record. This is a time to shine again and I'm just praying to God for the old Karo back. I don't want to be a better Karo. I just want to be the old Karo. I just want to keep training, stay focused and bring my big heart, which I have always had and always will have. When I fight, people bring the best out of me. When they push me or try to beat me up, that's when I open up. When they open up, that's when I open up. Every time I have had a boring fight, it is when guys don't really try to do anything to me. Kim didn't try to do much. He was fighting safe, so I had to be safe, but I think Dustin is going to try to open up and he's going to go for stuff and there's going to be times when I'm going to give him hell, from standup to ground.
PC: I like this fight a lot. Glad to have you back my man. Good luck. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
KP: I've been getting a lot of fan mail lately and I appreciate all of the fans. I love each and every one of them because if it wasn't for the fans paying to watch us fight and come to the show or pay for the pay-per-view, then we wouldn't have a sport. Karo would have been Karo and Dustin would have been Dustin, but we wouldn't have a job, so I want to give a big salute and take my hat off to the fans of the sport. And like I said, I can't wait to come back.