In less than a week, Salisbury, North Carolina's own Rodney "Sho Nuff The Master" Wallace (9-0) will make his UFC debut at the TUF Season 10 Finale on SPIKE TV. It will be an interesting matchup as he faces former WEC light heavyweight champion and UFC veteran "All-American" Brian Stann (7-2; 7 KOs). Stann trains with one of the best MMA teams (Greg Jackson's team in New Mexico) in the world. Also, Stann has the edge in experience and height (6'1" to Rodney's 5'9"). But Rodney is a very tactical and talented fighter and this is one of the matchups that I'm most looking forward to on the card, not just because of the local implications (FYI- Stann, for those who don't know, was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina).
Rich Wyatt: You're making your UFC debut on Saturday. How has training gone in the past several weeks?
Rodney Wallace: Going real well. Ain't nothing really changed as far as my training regimen. I just keep progressing. One difference is that training has been a little more concentrated on getting me ready as opposed to other fighters in the gym in recent weeks. Training has gone well, though. I feel great, seriously.
Rich Wyatt: Who have you been working with preparing for this fight?
Rodney Wallace: Nobody really changed from my normal fight preparation. My trainers at Team ROC, including several really talented guys at our gym. I've been working some jiu-jitsu. Team ROC up in Raleigh has some black belts that I've been working with to get ready.
Rich Wyatt: When do you head out to Las Vegas and who are you taking from your team?
Rodney Wallace: I'm flying out to Vegas on Tuesday and I'm taking Hallie Hair and Reynard Brown with me.
Rich Wyatt: You're fighting a guy, in Brian Stann, that has a lot more experience than you in high profile fights. I realize that you may not want to give away any strategy, but how do you see this fight going?
Rodney Wallace: Really, as far as the fight itself goes, I don't usually strategize in the way that you might think. I know what his strengths and weaknesses are. I know that his standup is a strength. When we get in there I'll exploit everything I can. You never know, he views his standup as a strength but we might get in there and find that his isn't as good as mine. Or, he might be so overconfident with his standup that I'll grapple with him just to take him out of his comfort zone. It all depends on what he does when we get in the cage. I'll be ready to act and react no matter what happens in there.
Rich Wyatt: Anything else you want to say before your big fight on Saturday night?
Rodney Wallace: I'd like to thank Kimura Wear, they have my signature T-shirt on their website now. B & A Supplements, that's a sponsorship I just got last week. Thanks, also, to everybody here locally for the support.