Champions of The Future Part 2: KOTC and DREAM Veteran Abel Cullum

Shawn SmithCorrespondent IJune 24, 2009

“Silent But Deadly”: An Interview with Abel Cullum

Thanks to the WEC, DREAM and Sengoku there is a new weight division beginning to emerge. When most people think of this division there are three names that come to mind: Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Urijah Faber, and now Mike Brown.

However, thanks to these three league’s among others many new names are beginning to emerge in this fast paced exciting division. One of those names coming out of the DREAM featherweight grand-prix is “Silent Assasin” Abel Cullum.

Despite being the KOTC flyweight champion, Cullum was relatively unknown before his DREAM debut. He came in and had a solid unanimous decision victory in the first round over Akiyo Nishiura.

The fight that really elevated his level was his fight of the year contender against Hideo Tokoro. In this classic fight both men had each other rocked at numerous times.  

On top of this they both had excellent ground position many time resulting in a tight triangle choke on Cullum which looked impossible to escape although he found a way. Cullum is still young but with more experience there is no doubt he will be a force to be reckoned with in the featherweight division. 

*editors note: The following interview was done before the Hideo Tokoro fight which Cullum lost via rear naked choke in my personal fight of the year.

Can you explain to your fans how you got into mixed martial arts? At what age did you start training and what motivated you to get into mixed martial arts?

I became a fan of MMA with my dad watching the UFC and pride on tv. Then when I was about 13 my dad and I went to our first live event. I saw competitors around my size and weight which really made me want to compete. So I started training fought my first fight at 18 years old and started the template for Cullum Ground Fighting.


Tell us about “the Silent assassin” nickname?

I was in the locker room, for one of my first fights, and everyone around me was yelling hitting pads and getting all pumped for their fights and I was on the side doing yoga and just taking it easy until my fight came, and I finished Micheal Chupsa in 1min 26sec of the first round (I was the major underdog.) Seeing that my dad gave me the nickname.


You were successful in your most recent fight with Akiyo Nishiura. It was a hard fought battle in where use utilized many submission attempts and you wound up dominating the fight. Can you tell us what you thought of your performance? 

I am happy I got the win and will be returning to Japan in May, however I like to finish fights and that was my goal. So I am using that for motivation in this training camp.


What did you know about Nishiura before the fight and did anything in his performance surprise you?

A friend of mine gave me some film on him, so I was prepared for the "Wiki Shuffle" and his heavy right hand. I was surprised by his strength.


You were obviously feeling a lot of emotion after the big win, can you explain that to us?

As a kid growing up it was always my dream to fight in Pride in front of the Japanese fans. Everything from the ring announcers, the production and the fight was so amazing I was just in a place physically and emotionally that I cant even describe.

It was everything I "Dreamed" of and more I thank Dream and everyone who helped get me to this point for this opportunity I can not wait to go back and put on another performance for everyone to enjoy.


What is your preference: Fighting in the United States or Japan? 

I love fighting for New Mexico USA and am happy to do it anywhere.


Has DREAM been in contact with about who your likely next opponent will be? Is there a certain opponent you want to fight? 

Dream has not, and I would be honored to fight anyone left in this tournament.


You are also the KOTC flyweight champion. Any idea when we will see that title defended next?

I am not to sure right now the focus is 100% this Tournament.


Your jiu-jitsu looked phenomenal against Nishiura. Would you consider your jiu-jitsu the strongest point of your game?

I think the strongest point of my game is being relentless and always looking for the finish, and sometimes that on my feet, others it's on the ground.


Is there a part of your game you consider “weak” or do you consider yourself pretty well rounded?

I think my Ground was real loose and I have a lot to improve in every part of my game.

We like to end with our interviews by giving the readers a chance get to know the fighters beyond just mixed martial arts.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only take:

One movie, what would it be?

Step Brothers

Take one musical artists career complication CD, who would it be?

The Eagles

One video game, what would it be?


One food/dessert what would it be?

Sushi/and more sushi

One person, who would it be?

My Brother


Thanks again to Abel Cullum for taking the time to sit down and have a conversation wish us.

I would like to give you the chance to thank those that mean the most to your life and your MMA career.

Who are you sending your shout-outs to Abel?

My Gym Cullum Ground Fighting, all of my Coaches and Students, and My Dad brother And Grandma for supporting Me and pushing me through all the times in getting to this point.


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