At UFC 118, four out the ten total fights on the card will be featuring fighters in the lightweight division.
UFC newcomer, Nik Lentz will be one of the fighters in that lightweight showcase, and he managed to take some time out of his busy schedule preparing for Ultimate Fighter season nine finalist, Andre Winner to speak with Bleacher Report.
B/R: Ok so let’s just get this out of the way now, because I am dying to know. How did you get the nickname ‘The Carnie’?
NL: I was in Japan and on the last day I went to the arcades. By the end of the day I had won around 30 different things from stuffed animals to remote controlled cars. As I was walking back to the hotel, Japanese people were clapping for me and congratulating me on my epic claw machine prowess. Then when I got back to the hotel a women that spoke English explained to me what everything was and after that I got the name because of how good I was at all the carnival type games.
B/R: Midway through earning your college degree, you decided to forgo your college wrestling scholarship and jump straight into MMA. What made you decide to make the jump so soon?
NL: I had tried MMA and felt like I was a lot more talented at it. I was a good wrestler, but I knew with the proper training that I could be a great MMA fighter. Besides, I had really lost a lot of the drive for wrestling. They train hard at all times, but do not take the time to think about why they do things.
B/R: How did your family react to your decision?
NL:As always they were very supportive
B/R: When you started out, Minnesota Martial Arts was the place for you. How has it been training alongside such high profile fighters like UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk?
NL: It was an easy pick to go to the academy. I have always known that if you want to be successful at anything you do in life, you have to surround yourself with people that are good at it. Training with champions makes you one.
B/R: Let’s talk about your upcoming bout at UFC 118 in Boston against Andre Winner. With your wrestling background, do you feel that you’ll be able to take control early considering many European fighters are lacking in that area?
NL: Yes and no, I feel that I definitely have the wrestling to control him, but he is very good at sprawling and brawling. I think it will be a good fight, but in the end I will be able to control him.
B/R: What other fights are you most interested in checking out on the card and why?
NL: I don't really watch the fights when I'm there. I have enough to worry about. I am not really the best fan of MMA. If I watch fights it's usually to learn, after that I like to do other things with my off time.
B/R: What is something about you that most MMA fans would be surprised to know?
NL: Well it has been discussed before, but I am a big gamer. Whenever I'm not training, I'm usually playing video games. I also watch anime religiously and have very little interest in things that most athletes do.
B/R: If Nik Lentz wasn’t a mixed martial artist, what would he be doing right now?
NL: I dont know, I went to school to be a doctor...but who knows
B/R: Thanks for your time Nik. Good Luck Saturday.
Nik's fight can be seen on Spike TV as part of the UFC 118 Preliminaries show.