WEC 49 is coming up this weekend and will feature a headlining bout between Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus, with the winner expected to receive a title shot.
In 2009 Varner struggled with injuries that sidelined him for nearly a year.
The former WEC champion looked good early in his last fight against Ben Henderson but got caught in a guillotine choke.
When I sent out questions to Varner, he didn't want to go into detail about some of the statements he's made in his post-fight speeches or the fan reaction, but he did say that in the future he'll be making his statements with his fists.
Here is what Varner had to say in our Q&A:
B/R: The WEC has recently become a lot more popular. For fans who haven't gotten to know you yet, can you please tell us i) the three most interesting things about Jamie Varner, ii) The most challenging moment so far in your life, iii) a bit of inside information on how you became the fighter you are today.
Varner: The three interesting things people should know about are that I grew up racing motorcross and my dad was nationally recognized in the sport. I love to cook, and I have two French bulldogs.
The most challenging moments in my life were my mother getting sick last year, and also the loss of loved ones.
I believe I became a fighter because of hard work and dedication. Everything from my youth has shaped me into the man I am today. I hope to continue to learn and grow in all aspects of my life to become a better man.
As far as MMA skills are concerned, it helped that I began boxing at a young age and then attended a college that had both competitive boxing and a wrestling team.
B/R: Can you tell us about your training camp for this fight? (Where you've been training, with what training partners, what you've been working on, etc.)
Varner: I train at Arizona Combat Sports working on all aspects of MMA. Not one area is focused on more then another, they are all equally as important. Trevor and Todd Lally are my main trainers at AZCS and Steve Rosenberg has helped me out day in and day out.
B/R: Can you tell me what a victory here would mean for you, and where you think it would place you in WEC title picture.
Varner: It sounds like Reed Harris has stated that the winner will get a title shot. I'm really looking forward to getting that belt back around my waist. Even if I don't get a title shot immediately, I am coming to fight my hardest, and after the fight, it's up to Zuffa. They are by far the best fight promotion in the world and I will do whatever they tell me to do.
B/R: Being a former WEC champion, you've already achieved the highest honor within the promotion. That said, what keeps you motivated as a fighter, and what are your goals for the future?
Varner: I have some unfinished business getting the belt back.. I have been a competitor my whole life, I don't like to lose in anything!
B/R: After your loss to Ben Henderson, you said, “He didn’t want to box. I came to fight, Ben came to grapple. Two different things.” What was your intended meaning when you said this, and do you have anything different to say about that fight now that you've had more time to reflect?
Varner: I will have plenty to say...via my actions when I fight Ben again!
B/R: What kind of reaction do you get these days when you meet fans?
Varner: The fans have been great. When I meet them in person, I think they really get to know me and can see that I am just a down to earth guy. I am also very accessible on Twitter @jamievarner, on Facebook, and I post numerous video blogs on my website www.jamievarner.com. I feel these are great ways that I can connect with the fans. Also, my fans can @KO_reps on twitter if to win some of my autographed gear!
B/R: Can you tell me what you think about your upcoming opponent, Kamal Shalorus?
Varner: Best fighter you have never heard of in the WEC.
B/R: How do you see your fight with Shalorus playing out?
Varner: I am going to put on an impressive performance for the fans and the WEC. I will come out with my hand raised.
B/R: Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans?
Varner: Thank you so much for all of the support! Please continue to send me messages on Facebook and Twitter. Also a huge thanks to the sponsors who support me win or lose, in and out of the cage. They are: Affliction, ArizonaPain.com, MMA Warehouse, Revgear, Punch Drunk Gamer, and my management at www.KOreps.com. Lastly, my iphone app will be coming out soon, so check out www.Rituall22.com.