In the sport of MMA, many different countries have been represented by fighters, and pride runs deep within the fans themselves.
With many American and Brazilian fighters in the UFC, there seems to be very few from the other end of the globe. England and Japan are represented to a point, but the continent of Australia has had very little representation in comparison.
Australia is home to some of the most deadly animals on the planet, and home to many unique species. But the wildlife is not the only dangerous creatures to come from the land down under.
The Australian UFC Middleweight contender, Kyle Noke, will be facing dangerous Ed Herman at UFC on Versus 5 on Sunday. Noke will be looking to improve his winning streak to six with a victory over Herman.
MMA Sports Writer Gregory Chase spoke with Noke about his upcoming fight, his experience with TUF, his thoughts on Chael Sonnen, and more.
GC: Let me start by saying thank you for your time and that I enjoyed watching you on The Ultimate Fighter and your fights since then.
KN: Ah, thank you!
GC: And that last win over Camozzi was incredible, that was definitely exciting to watch! But if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you some questions about your upcoming fight.
KN: Yeah, no problem at all!
GC: You’re fighting Ed Herman, a fellow Ultimate Fighter show contestant. How do you see the fight playing out? What do you think his game plan is?
KN: You know, I’m not too sure of his game plan. I think he may try to keep it on the feet, you know…which is good for me because that’s where I like to keep it. Hopefully, we can implement ours on the night and not worry about his.
GC: Now you would like to keep it standing, but you both have excellent ground game, how do you think stylistically you match up?
KN: I think we match up good, you know. Whether the fight stays on the feet or on the ground, it makes for an exciting fight!
GC: You were originally going to face Tom Lawlor. Do you feel you are fully prepared for this fight? And what, if anything, changed during your training camp once it switched to Herman?
KN: Yeah, I think I’m fully prepared, you know, the switch up wasn’t too far out, the UFC gave me enough notice. So we were able to adapt and change for Ed Herman so, you know, it’s just a slight adjustment. Like I said, we had plenty of time, so it was all good!
GC: Was there anything specific you worked on in preparation for Herman as opposed to Lawlor?
KN: Not really, you know, I guess we didn’t exercise so much on the takedown defense, with Tom Lawlor being a great wrestler. But we still concentrated on it with Ed Herman because he has good takedowns, but that’s probably the only change we did.
GC: Do you feel like this an easier fight than Lawlor, tougher, or about the same?
KN: Oh, it’s about the same. Tom is a tough guy as well, so is Ed. You know, from all the fights I’ve watched of Ed, it’s hard to put him away. He’s a tough guy and he’s always gonna come at you, so I think it makes for a great fight!
GC: You’re on an impressive five-fight winning streak right now, the longest of your career. How does that affect you mentally in your upcoming fight? Is there any nervousness to keep it going, or is it all motivation?
KN: It’s all just motivation, you know. I don’t let it affect me at all. I just take every fight as they come. It’s just another fight, so I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing it!
GC: So on a less fight-oriented note, how was your experience on The Ultimate Fighter with Chuck Liddell? What was the most significant factor you took from that experience?
KN: You know, the experience itself was great, obviously wouldn’t be here without it. It is tough being on the show on the same hand, people don’t realize it. You’re away from your normal camp, it’s not the way you’re used to getting ready for fights and stuff.
If I had the opportunity to do it again, yeah I would do it again, make it in the UFC. The show wasn’t THAT bad where I didn’t want to do it. And with Chuck Liddell, it was awesome, you know, he was a great coach, a really cool dude, and I learned a lot from the guy.
GC: So would you ever want to eventually go back and be a coach yourself?
KN: Yeah sure, if they offered me that opportunity, I would love to do it, it would be an awesome experience, I think!
GC: What is one thing from being on that show, which viewers do not see, that you thought was great, or really enjoyed?
KN: I’m not sure, I think they get to see a lot of it. I guess just the friendships you make. I came away with good friends from the show, so I guess that’s one thing to take away from it.
GC: Now you were the bodyguard and trainer for Steve Irwin for a while before he passed. During your time with the great “Crocodile Hunter,” did you learn anything from your time with him that has carried over to MMA in your life or in the cage?
KN: Sure, you know, he always had a great passion for everything he’d done. He instilled that passion for me and that drive in me, and I think I wouldn’t have committed 100 percent like I am now. I don’t think I would be so committed to this sport, if I hadn’t worked for him and met him.
GC: Aside from your upcoming fight, care to make any predictions for the rest of the card?
KN: You know, that’s a tough one. I’ve been REALLY bad with my picks lately, but um, I think Dan Hardy is gonna win that one. You never know.
GC: How do you think he’s going to win?
KN: I think maybe a knockout. But you never know, because Chris Lytle will always find a way to win sometimes, and when you think he’s about to get knocked out, he comes back.
GC: You are currently a Middleweight in the UFC, how do you think a fight with you and Champion, Anderson Silva, would play out?
KN: Um, I don’t know. I would love that opportunity. That’s what we’re all fighting for, is that opportunity itself. I sure Greg Jackson would come up with a game plan if that ever happened.
GC: Now would you feel comfortable striking with Silva, or would you like to focus more on the ground?
KN: You know, I would take the fight wherever it went. I’m confident in my standup, I’d try and stand with him. But it’s the same as all my fights, I’m comfortable standing and if that doesn’t work so good, I’ll go to the ground.
GC: Also, being in the Middleweight division, what is your take on Chael Sonnen’s words toward Anderson, Brazilians and other fighters in general? What’s your perspective on his talk?
KN: I don’t really like guys who disrespect people and talk about them, you know. I think all your actions should be done inside the cage.
I understand he trying to hype a fight, but when you disrespect the whole country like that, it’s kind of disrespectful. There’s taunting a guy and hyping a fight, then there’s going too far, and I think that he went too far.
GC: If you had one thing about you that you wanted the fans to know, that they didn’t already, what would it be?
KN: Oh, I don’t know (laughs). I would never quit. I think just my fighting ability. I’m gonna get in there and try and fight every fight with all my heart and try to finish and put on the best show I can.
GC: Well Kyle Noke, thank you so much for your time and answering some questions. I look forward to watching your fight against Ed Herman on Aug. 14, and I wish you much success!
KN: No problem, thanks a lot, thanks for the interview!
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