I had the chance to talk with Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli, otherwise known as the “Kimbo Killer,” after his recent fight in the WEF promotion here in Orlando, Fla., on April 22, 2011.
Seth defeated Dave Mewborn via TKO at 3:06 in Round 1 and will face Canadian fighter and former North American Hockey League enforcer, Steve Bossé on June 17.
Bleacher Report: Many people may not know who Mewborn is. What can you tell us about your latest victim?
Seth Petruzelli: “I didn’t know anything about him, either. I looked him up and found out he was 8-3, had some good fights, and had a tough fight against a former Ultimate Fighter. [He] lost the decision, but still had a tough fight.”
“I knew he was a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Dangerous! He’s a dangerous fighter and a good fight for me. I had no worries that I would lose the fight, but it was a good comeback fight, I guess you could say. Plus, he was a tall fighter, about 6’4”. He had a lot of reach on me.”
“I thought it was a good fight for me. It pushed me. It pushed me a little bit, but that’s what I wanted and I came out the victor, which is awesome.”
BR: When you weigh in, you weigh 205 or 206 pounds. How much do you put back on by fight night by the time you step into the ring?
Seth: “I would love to come in at 220, but normally I’m about 215 lbs to 218 lbs. I could come in at 220. It’s just the nerves before a fight...can’t eat as much as I’d like to. I walk around normally at 220 to 230 pounds.”
BR: Is your weight cut pretty easy for you?
Seth: “For some reason, it comes easy for me. I just change my eating habits a little bit, start eating cleaner. I eat a lot more, obviously because I’m training harder. So, I need all of the extra calories for training.”
“I usually cut 10 pounds before weigh-ins. I usually cut three or four pounds two days before weigh ins and then the rest [on] weigh-in day.”
BR: You looked to be in great shape for your fight with Mewborn. I know it must feel good to be back to your old self and knocking people out again.
Seth: “Yeah, definitely.”
“I don’t know what it is with the UFC. Obviously it’s something mental, because I know when I go in there, mentally I don’t feel the same as when I fight outside of the UFC.”
“Except for my second fight ever in my career, which was 10 years ago, I’ve been undefeated outside of the UFC. So, it’s obviously something mental within the UFC.”
BR: People talk about the UFC jitters. Is that a reality?
Seth: “Yeah, it is. I mean, it’s not so much jitters, I’m nervous before every fight. But, I don’t know if it’s something psychological. Maybe that’s why I’m a psych major. I’m trying to figure out what the hell is the matter with my head when it comes to the UFC.”
“It’s just something inside the cage that I don’t push myself to what I know I can do. It seems like I give up too easy, I don’t know.”
BR: You come from a Shito Ryu Karate and kickboxing background, have fought in K-1 and are also a brown belt in the De La Riva form of BJJ.
Seth: “Yeah, I’ve been in Karate since I was six or seven years old.”
BR: Is it true that you just received the fourth stripe on your brown belt in BJJ?
Seth: “Yeah, I just received my fourth stripe on my brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.”
“I look forward to getting my black belt eventually. I’ve been doing BJJ for 10 years now. So, I’ve known other guys that have gotten their black belt before me. But, I know I don’t do a lot of gi. I’m a fighter, so I know it takes a little longer because you’re not doing gi all of the time.”
“What I’d like to do is have a really nice submission victory in one of my fights and maybe Thiago "Batata" Domingues will give me my black belt. [Laughs]”
BR: You’ve only gone to decision victory once, have had one submission and 11 KO’s.
Seth: “Yes. Actually, one of those [KO’s] was a triangle and he [Seth's opponent] went out and I punched him and they called it a TKO. So, I like to count that as a submission victory as well.”
BR: Without giving away too much of your secret formula, how did you approach your last fight in terms of game plan and what did you differently from your two previous fights?
Seth: “To be honest with you, I trained the exact same way. I trained a little longer in this camp when I was down helping Luiz Cane get ready for his UFC fight, about eight weeks out from my last fight.”
“I started off the camp a little bit long, but I took a couple of days [off] in the middle of that to let my body heal. I think I trained smarter for this fight; mentally, I won’t let myself lose. I didn’t want to let myself lose again. I know I’m a better fighter than what I showed my last two fights.”
“I just got it in my head where I won’t lose.”
BR: You have an upcoming fight in Canada with Steve Bossé. What can you tell us about him?
Seth: “Yea, ‘The Boss” Steve Bossé. Yes, the Canadian ex-hockey player–definitely a tough fight. I know he’s looking to go to the UFC. I think he’s 8-1 or something like that...tough striker.”
“But, that’s the kind of fights I like, the strikers. Because, I think when it comes to striking, no one’s ever really stepped up and challenged me, except for the one time I went to K-1.
"But besides that, I haven’t had any challenges when it comes to stand-up in the ring and I think that he’s going to be the one to do that.”
“So, I look forward to having a Battle Royale of the hands in the ring.”
BR: You just had your two-year gym anniversary this past January. Tell us about The Jungle MMA facility and who you have training there that we should look out for; besides “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, of course.
Seth: “Yeah, January was our two-year anniversary so, we’ve been open for 2½ years now. Things are going excellent here. It’s picking up like crazy. We have well over 200 students here and a bunch of great up-and-coming fighters.”
“We have about 5 to 10 amateur fighters that are training here. Obviously, Tom Lawlor is still here, myself, Mike Lee is our black belt BJJ instructor and fighter here.”
BR: Are you Lawlor’s trainer or do you just train together?
Seth: “We kind of train each other. He helps me out with the wrestling and I help him out with the hands. Jiu Jitsu-wise we’re about equal–when it comes to knowledge about Jiu Jitsu and stuff like that. We definitely help each other out with our weaknesses and strengths.”
BR: What do you think of Zuffa’s acquisition of Strikeforce? Do you think it’s a good thing?
Seth: “It’s a double-edged sword to me. I think it’s great because, it will give all of the fighters of Strikeforce the benefits that the UFC has; the insurance now that they have. Just the name of the UFC backing them up, I know Strikeforce won’t go under, which is huge.”
“It’s bad because, I think competition drives success and drives people to make better corporations and better businesses. So, it’s good and bad for me. It’s good if they let me fight for Strikeforce! [Laughs]”
BR: How is your relationship with Dana White and the UFC? He seems to like you. Is it feasible to say that we might see you back in the Zuffa limelight sometime in the near future?
Seth: “I have a really good relationship with [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva. He’s a great guy. Pretty much the last thing he said to me was, ‘Get some wins and we’ll have you back.’ I think they know that I’m an exciting fighter when I get in the ring, no matter what.”
BR: When is the Seth Petruzelli Round 5 figure coming out? They have a Kimbo figure...where’s the “Kimbo Killer” figure?
Has anyone from Round 5 contacted you about making the “The Silverback” figure and is that something you’d be down for?
Seth: “No, that would be nice. The only figure that I own is the Kimbo figure. Tom [Lawlor] bought it for me for Christmas present. What a nice guy. [Sarcastically]”
BR: I think they need to make a figure of you so you can relive that ass-kicking in 3-D.
Seth: “That would be nice, but they haven’t contacted me. If they want to, they can contact me at The Jungle MMA.”
BR: How awesome would it be to have your own Halloween series of figures? Maybe you dressed as Kimbo? I’d buy one.
Seth: “[Laughing] My action figure could come with the Kimbo Halloween costume!”
BR: Do you have a prediction for the JDS vs Carwin fight next weekend at UFC 131?
Seth: “I like Carwin so much. He’s a great guy. Because I know him, my heart says Carwin, but my head says Dos Santos. It will be a great fight. I’m pulling for Carwin, let’s just say that.”
BR: What do you think will be the determining factor as to who will win?
Seth: “I guess it would be cardio. We will see if Carwin can last after a round, if he can breathe. I think it will come down to conditioning, to tell you the truth.”
BR: Seth, thank you for your time and good luck with your upcoming fight!
Seth: Thank you! I appreciate it.
Anyone in the Orlando, Fla., area who wants to train with and be trained by professional UFC fighters, stop by Seth’s gym, The Jungle MMA and you won’t be disappointed!