Frank Trigg Looking for One More Run at Middleweight, Starting at BAMMA 6

Nick Caron@@nicholascaronAnalyst IMay 17, 2011

I had the opportunity to speak with MMA legend, Frank Trigg, last week as he prepares for his fight against John Phillips at BAMMA 6 on May 21.

A nearly 14-year veteran of the sport, Trigg has fought all over the world, but this is the first time that he will have the opportunity to fight in front of the rapidly expanding English fanbase.

“Yeah, this is the first time I’ve fought out there, but I’ve been out there plenty of times with my daughter, so I kind of know the area,” he told Bleacher Report MMA.

“I’m familiar with Wembley Arena.”

His opponent in the fight will be a man with one of the most interesting nicknames the sport: Welsh middleweight John “The White Mike Tyson” Phillips. Phillips is currently on a five fight win streak including a knockout victory over James Zikic at BAMMA 4 last September.

Fighting primarily in English promotions, the film on Phillips isn’t nearly as extensive as what can be found on Trigg, who has spent most of his career fighting at major events.

“Other than the fights on YouTube, I don’t know much about him. I’ve never met him or anything. I know he has a lot of power.”

With all 13 of his wins coming by way of strikes, the nickname may be appropriate, but Trigg isn’t scared to stand and bang with the knockout artist.

“His nickname is ‘The White Mike Tyson,’ but I’ve been training with guys who have power, too.”

A member of Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture gym, Trigg has the benefit of training with some of the very best the sport has to offer. But what makes the gym even more interesting is the surprising number of left-handed fighters who have been able to train with Trigg in preparation for this fight against the left-handed slugger Phillips.

“Martin Kampmann has been training with me as a lefty, and he hits really hard. Obviously Vitor Belfort...” Trigg explained.

“More than the average number, for sure. We actually have a bunch of guys at Xtreme Couture who are left handed. It’s about one out of every seven people that is truly left-handed, so to have as many guys to train with that are left-handed as we do has been great.”

Not only will fighting a fellow lefty be an interesting change-of-pace for “Twinkle Toes,” but a move up to 185 pounds is something that could yield even more success.

After making a two-fight run in the UFC as a welterweight, Trigg feels confident as he makes a permanent move to middleweight.

“The biggest mistake I ever made in my career was trying to come back to the UFC at 170 and fight the top guys right away,” he conceded.

“Physically, I wasn’t ready for it. I had retired for something like nine months and I ballooned up to 210 pounds, which is huge for me.

Trigg lost both fights by way of first round knockout, to Josh Koscheck and Matt Serra.

“I had a huge Tito Ortiz head and everything,” he laughed. “But when I came back, I tried to go down to 170 and I should’ve just fought at 185. I should’ve started slow, not fought on TV, tried to build myself back up physically. But I said, ‘Put me on TV, let me fight the best guys’ and it didn’t work out.”

Now nearing the end of his career, Trigg is looking to enjoy what he’s doing before fading off into the sunset on what has been a memorable career.

“I think I’ll enjoy fighting until I’m in my 80’s. But enjoying it and being able to do it are two completely different things, you know?”

“I can keep fighting, but I don’t want to be the guy who goes out on four knockout losses in a row or fights until his 50’s like Dan Severn,” Trigg asserted.

“That guy was fighting at UFC 1. He’s a legend in the sport and now he’s fighting at these tiny local shows all around the country, probably only making a few thousand dollars for each fight, and it’s just like, ‘Why?’ I want to go out on my own terms, like Randy Couture did.”

But with the understanding that his career is likely nearing its end, Trigg has lined up a number of opportunities outside of competition that will keep him happy going forward.

In addition to his work as an MMA commentator, Trigg also has his own clothing line and assists as a nutrition and workout expert. In fact, he recently alluded to the possibility of creating a “video cookbook for men” on his Twitter account, @FrankTrigg.

But it may be his adventure in the pro wrestling ring that could yield the highest payout for the current MMA star.

While fighters like Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley have made the transition from pro wrestling to MMA, it isn’t often that an American fighter is successful in a somewhat long-term run in an American wrestling promotion.

A long time friend of wrestling superstar Kurt Angle, Trigg joined Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling in 2008, aligning himself with Angle in the process. While his first run in the entertainment arena wasn’t wildly successful, there is certainly a base to begin with and he does seem to have a genuine love for pro wrestling.

“I’d definitely consider going back to pro wrestling in the future,” he admitted.

“It’s just such a different mindset. In pro wrestling, the outcomes are pre-determined and they’re working together for a common outcome. But what I’ve been training for my whole life is totally different. I’m trying to bring you to a place you don’t want to be, so it’s just a lot different.”

“I’d have to train probably for a year or two straight before I ever could make it as a regular character on TV and keep up with the guys. I have a lot of respect for everything they do.”

Certainly a person as determined as Frank Trigg will be successful in whatever he chooses to do down the road, but for right now, it’s all about living in the moment for the New York native and current Las Vegas occupant.

If there is one more run left in his body, we may see it this weekend when Frank Trigg battles John Phillips at BAMMA 6.

Those interested in ordering this weekend’s BAMMA 6 event can head over to BAMMA.tv, where the live streaming will take place, beginning at 11am PT, 2pm ET.


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