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Exclusive: TUF Season 8 Winner Efrain Escudero Interview

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MMA4Real returns with another big interview. This time we catch up with The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 lightweight winner, Efrain Escudero, to find out how life is after the Spike TV hit reality show. We'll also see what he has on the horizon as he looks to become a force in the UFC lightweight division.

Charles Walker: First off, I would just like to thank you for taking time to talk to us here on MMA For Real.

Efrain Escudero: No problem, thanks for having me

Charles Walker: For those people that may not know much about you, tell us a little about yourself?

Efrain Escudero: I was born in Mexico and raised in this town called Somerton on the border of Yuma, AZ and Mexico. I grew up the son of a boxer and wrestled and boxed most of my life. I used fighting as a way to pay my tuition and support myself through the summer months. Fighting is now my life and I am either training for a fight or getting a teammate ready for his fight.

Charles Walker: And I'm sure it's great to get paid to do what you really like.  How was it winning the Ultimate Fighter season 8, especially when so much focus was on Phillipe Nover going into the finale?

Efrain Escudero: I never let that bother me. The fans have to pick someone and they all went with Dana on the Nover train. All I can say is CHCHU...

Charles Walker:  Well you created your own bandwagaon after that great victory.  Also, did you feel that Junie Browning’s antics kind of took away from the focus being on all the fighters and not just the in house drama?

Efrain Escudero: I can only say that I would never want my friends let alone the world see me act that way. If you can't fight you better get creative with your antics and that is what Junie did. He lost a lot of peoples respect and hopefully I earned a little.

Charles Walker: What has life been like since the finale and the end of the show?

Efrain Escudero: Great, Zuffa has been awesome to me. My gym treats me the same, the show was a small step along the way to much bigger things and I am trying to keep it in perspective.

Charles Walker:  Can you tell us who and where you train these days?

Efrain Escudero: Mostly at South West MMA under Santino DeFranco. I do travel to Tucson for a boxing coach but mostly SWMMA. We have Drew Fickett as a coach, Santino and with my boxing coach I am getting the holes in my game filled in.

Charles Walker: Sounds like you have a very good team out there in Tuscon.  Most of us know that you were supposed to be fighting Jeremy Stephens at Ultimate Fight Night 8 in April, but Stephens in a losing effort filled in for Hermes Franca this past Saturday at Ultimate Fight Night 7. Will you two still be facing off or have you been contacted about another possible opponent?

Efrain Escudero: Not sure my manager Jason Genet said to train like I was fighting BJ Penn and the opponent wont matter. We have a game plan for Jeremy, we can adjust it if need be.

Charles Walker: Are there any lightweights that you’d like to face off with in the near future?

Efrain Escudero: The best fights that the UFC can put together. I’ll fight anyone at 155.

Charles Walker: I know this topic has been discussed to death, but what is your take on the whole ‘Greasegate’ fiasco coming from the aftermath of Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn?

Efrain Escudero: Size was the factor in that fight. The sport has evolved from the tournament days where a one dimensional fighter of a lighter weight can beat a one dimensional heavier guy. The weight cutting alone that is going on in this sport makes that task very difficult. People should give GSP credit for taking BJ down (not easy to do), controlling the fight and dominating one of the best fighters ever. GSP worked his tail off to get to that point I doubt he would allow anything to taint the pureity of the fight as it only discounts the training he put in. Both fighters should be in UFC history books for being GREAT.

Charles Walker: Again thank you for your time. Any parting thoughts or anyone you would like to thank?

Efrain Escudero: I'd like to thank SWMMA, Jason Genet, Tapout, Zuffa, MTX Audio, Mexico, My Family, and the Fans

We thank Efrain Escudero and his management for their time in giving us a little glimpse into what's going on with the TUF 8 winner.  We wish him luck in his future bouts and hope to speak with him again soon.