Among the many stories heading into UFC 134, that of UFC lightweight Spencer "The King" Fisher seems to get lost by the wayside.
For some reason, people seem to gloss over his superlative fighting spirit, excellent knockouts, and wins over Thiago Alves, Sam Stout, Dan Lauzon, Jeremy Stephens, and Caol Uno.
Spencer Fisher recently spoke with Bleacher Report about his upcoming bout at UFC 134 against Thiago Tavares as well as some other topics regarding his career and mixed martial arts as a whole.
"I think [Tavares] is an explosive guy," Fisher said. "I think that his chin is very suspect. I think that he transitions well in Jiu-Jitsu. I think he breaks easy and I’m just gonna go out and exploit that," Fisher said.
Fisher followed up on Tavares by saying, "He's had some good fights—but he’s not been really tested on his chin. He’s getting put to sleep by guys who shouldn’t be able to stand with him."
As for how Fisher envisions the fight playing out?
"I think he’s gonna be diving for my shoelaces," Fisher said. "I’m gonna look to catch him coming in."
His fight against Tavares in Rio de Janeiro, is the third fight in a row that he's had in a foreign country (with the other two being in Australia for UFC 127 and the UK for UFC 120).
Although it may seem like a nuisance, and Fisher certainly agreed that while "it is [difficult], you have to get acclimated to the time and the food over there is kind of limited," he's ultimately glad to have the experience.
"I love it," Fisher said. "It’s a chance for me to see the world without being in the military or something, so I enjoy it... I get to see some cool stuff and enjoy myself."
In fact, Fisher actually requested to be included in the UFC's return to Brazil. He asked UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, and Silva was kind enough to acquiesce to his request.
Fisher doesn't just view going to Brazil as another fun experience but as something more, almost a kind of pilgrimage.
"I'm going to pretty much the birthplace of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and thankful for it."
It's a pretty impressive accomplishment for a man who began his martial arts training as a child in a school cafeteria.
"I started out my training in Shotokan Karate," Fisher said. "It was the only karate school, and it was inside a cafeteria. I was very hyper as a child. [My grandparents] thought that by putting me in Karate, it could control me a little bit."
Unfortunately for his grandparents, the Karate only made things worse.
"Not only was I angry," Fisher said. "But, I was angry with what I thought was skill... I got into street fights with my karate and ended up getting into it with a boxer, and that didn't work out so well for myself. I immediately ended up training in boxing thereafter."
Of course, this is not all to say that Fisher was a punk or a bully; there just wasn't anything else to do where he lived.
Fisher reminisced, saying, "Back where I'm from, there's not much to do. We had one stoplight in our home town. It was either basketball or soccer; those were the only sports we had, and then there was school. We had to have some type of fun, so for me it was getting into street fights or as close to that as you could."
Fisher has since left his home of Cashiers, N.C., and now runs a gym, Team Evolution MMA, out of Moline, Ill. However, Fisher's training camp is located in Chicago.
"Everybody needs a coach," Fisher said regarding running a gym while training for a fight. "I love my guys, and they are all coming into their own, but I can't train myself. Everybody needs a coach; no matter what level you're at, you need a coach."
Fisher's solution was to live in an apartment above Gracie Barra Chicago, where he trains under Carlos Lemos Jr., two-time Pan-American jiu-jitsu champion.
Fisher has also changed up his training a little bit when it comes to wrestling.
"Before this fight I’ve gone over moves and positions," Fisher said. But, this time I’ve actually been wrestling wrestling, not just 'hey, show me something.' It’s not just something in my back pocket; this time I have it. So I hope to really show those skills."
In addition, Fisher has brought in former adversary Matt Wiman (the two met at UFC 60, where Wiman was on the bad end of a flying-knee knockout) as a training partner.
Fisher believes that Wiman has been invaluable.
"Matt has already fought [Tavares] before," Fisherd said. "Matt knows him well, and Matt knows my style well, and I think we’ve got a good thing going."
And what exactly is that style?
Fisher himself summed it up best when he said, "I’m a guy who goes out and who looks to fight. I fight my ass off and people appreciate that... A lot of people can appreciate my style because I’m a fast-paced, in-your-face type person. I give up a lot of takedowns because I fight so hard. I try to finish; I try to crush them."
Fisher's exciting fighting style as well as the amazing growth the sport has seen since his current stint with the UFC began in 2006 has led to the North Carolina native's enjoying his share of fame.
"Well, I'll say this," Fisher said regarding the growth of the sport. "Every time when I travel, I always run into someone who knows who I am, and I’m not one of the main guys out there. I’m not a Georges St-Pierre or a B.J. Penn, and people are knowing who I am. Every place I go somebody knows who I am. And these are small towns and someone always recognizes who I am... So the sport is catching on very fast."
Fortunately, Fisher takes the increased fame in stride and isn't startled or annoyed by it.
"Those people who talk to me—whether they hate me or love me—they pay my bills, so I love it... Everybody has a short window in this sport, and I got a free meal out of it," said Fisher. "And I love to eat, so that’s great."
Fisher cites his love of eating as one of the reasons he has so far steered clear of a drop to the featherweight (145-pound) division, but a drop isn't out of the question entirely.
"I like to eat a lot," said Fisher. "And a lot of guys think moving to ’45 is the answer for them. There wouldn’t be nothing for that reason to do it because I like fighting the guys that they’re fighting, but it would just be for the challenge of making ’45 and being successful at it. It was tossed around two fights ago about me dropping down. Sure, I think about it."
But will Fisher, who is currently 35 years of age, have time left in his career for a drop to featherweight? How much longer will he be fighting?
According to Fisher, he'll fight as long as the UFC allows him to.
"I love it," Fisher said concerning fighting for the UFC.
Fisher may have his back to the wall at UFC 134. Since he is only 1-3 in his past four, a loss could doom him.
Nevertheless, Fisher feels good.
"I know everybody says 'Oh, I’m re-charged, re-dedicated,' and it’s kind of a whole cliché, but I feel good. I feel good going into this fight. I’m hyped about it. I’m nervous and scared and all these things I’m supposed to be for this fight, and we were getting to a point where I was like, 'Oh, this fight isn’t very exciting for me,' but now I’m very excited for this fight. I’m gonna let it all hang out, and whatever happens is gonna happen, but you can bet your ass it’s not going free."
Things then got away from the topic of UFC 134, and Fisher himself and wandered onto the current MMA scene.
When prodded about Dennis Hallman's unfortunate choice of attire, Fisher laughed and said, "I thought it was sick. It made me uncomfortable to watch. I'd have a hard time grabbing the guy."
When asked about Fedor Emelianenko's recent loss to Dan Henderson, Fisher had good insight into the problem.
"I think the sport's evolving," said Fisher. "I think it just caught up when [Emelianenko] fought the right guys. He’s a small heavyweight, as well, but I think he’s been very successful and is one of the all-time greats at heavyweight, as well."
And how did Fisher get his "The King" moniker?
"My mom was an Elvis fan," Fisher said. "I liked Elvis too. And after a lot of my fights, I was doing silly dances, too. It just kind of caught on and stuck."
Fisher gave one final shout-out to his people and said, "I’d like to thank Gracie Barra, Matt Wiman, all my guys from Evolution, and Will Power, who does my strength and conditioning."
Matt Saccaro is a Bleacher Report featured columnist and an avid MMA fan. For articles like the one above and for brilliant 140-character insights into MMA, follow him on Twitter @mattsaccaro
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