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Exclusive Interview with UFC Fighter Spencer "The King" Fisher

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Spencer “The King” Fisher (22-4) has become the poster child for MMA in the state of North Carolina. Hailing from Cashiers, Spencer (age 33) burst onto the scene in the UFC back in October of 2005. It didn’t take long for him to gain a reputation as one of the most exciting fighters in the lightweight division. Spencer possesses a versatile MMA game that makes him very tough to gameplan for. His crowd pleasing, fast-paced style makes almost every fight he’s involved in entertaining. From his shouts of “Whooooo!” after a victory (in homage to fellow Carolinian Ric Flair) to his frequent mention of his home state in interviews, Fisher is a man that is proud of where he comes from. Now preparing for his first fight of 2009, this 33-year-old father of three girls took time out from training to talk with MMAForReal.

Rich Wyatt: Growing up in Cashiers, what kind of sports were you into as a kid?


Spencer Fisher: I played soccer a bit growing up. I was also a big pro wrestling fan as a kid. We had two channels and on Saturday mornings I used to always watch pro wrestling and cartoons.


Rich Wyatt: How did you first get introduced to mixed martial arts?


Spencer Fisher: Mark Zachary in Cashiers was the local Karate teacher in town. I began training in Karate and excelled at it. Like everybody else I saw some of the first UFC events and it captured my interest. At the time there was a guy teaching Jeet Kune Do in Asheville so I trained with him as well. I also began to train boxing with Reggie Holland, a local boxer, as well. It was really all of these things that got me started.


Rich Wyatt: When did you first venture out to Davenport to train with the Miletich camp and how did you end up there?


Spencer Fisher: I went to a Jens Pulver seminar in Wilmington shortly after he had beaten Caol Uno. Seeing him win a world title like that convinced me that he was a guy that I wanted to learn from. I met him there and he told me the location of Pat’s place in Iowa. My wife and I picked up our stuff and moved out there.


Rich Wyatt: Do you still train there primarily?


Spencer Fisher: No. I’ve opened my own gym in Moline, Illinois.


Rich Wyatt: You made your UFC debut back in 2005 against Thiago Alves, a man who is challenging for Georges St. Pierre’s world welterweight title in July. You submitted Thiago in the second round. What was that like, fighting such a talented opponent in your UFC debut?


Spencer Fisher: Well, I didn’t really care who the opponent was. Getting in there was my lifelong dream. I would have fought someone 100 pounds heavier than me. Having come from a small town like I did, it was just a great feeling and a real dream come true.


Rich Wyatt: You began to really get a following after your highlight reel knockout of Matt Wiman and your two wars with Sam Stout. What has been your favorite fight thus far in your career?



Spencer Fisher: I’d say my fight with Josh Neer sticks out the most. It was actually before I had even had a chance to fight in the UFC. That fight gave me a gut check on whether or not I really wanted to do this for a living. It was a match on a Victory Fighting Championship show out here in the Midwest. I was the champ and he was the challenger. Before the fight I had read some of the stuff he had written on the internet about me and it motivated me to train harder than I ever had. I ended up winning a hard fought split decision. Some people still tell me it was the best fight they’ve ever seen. We developed a strong friendship over that fight.


Rich Wyatt: You’ve won your last two consecutive UFC fights and now have a fight scheduled for the UFC’s June 13th show in Germany. Will this be your first visit to Europe?


Spencer Fisher: No. I’ve been over for some of the U.K. shows. But this will be my first time competing over in Europe.


Rich Wyatt: Your upcoming opponent will be Caol Uno (25-11-4). What do you see as Caol’s strengths and how do you see this fight going?


Spencer Fisher: Well, his strengths are his heart and conditioning. It’s no secret that my weakness is my wrestling and he seems to be a strong wrestler. I see him going for a single leg the whole time. I think he’s an exciting fighter and I look up to the guy. Ironically, I met Jens shortly after he had fought Uno. I think it’ll be a great knockout victory for me.


Rich Wyatt: Tell us what a typical week of training is like for you while in training camp before a fight?


Spencer Fisher: Well, like I mentioned earlier, I own my own gym now. I teach all my own classes and go in at 8:00 AM. I’ll teach a class from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. I usually work cardio from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. Some days we work plyometrics. Other days we work drills like running with a weighted sled uphill. We do a lot of reps. I try to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. We also get more intense with sparring as we get closer to the date of the fight. I train with lots of talented sparring partners.


Rich Wyatt: If you win this match, where do you think that puts you in the pecking order of the lightweight division? Also, is there anyone out there in particular that you’d really like to fight?


Spencer Fisher: A win against Uno would have to throw me in the mix. I’m not a guy who cares about titles or rankings. I think B.J. Penn is the best in the world right now. He’s the man and I’d love a shot at him. I want to fight whoever wants to fight me. My thing is: I’m not going to be out there and fight boring. I always look to finish and expect my opponents to do the same. I’m going out there to knock you out. I’ll fight anybody that they put in front of me that will come to fight.


Rich Wyatt: The state of North Carolina began sanctioning the sport of MMA just last year. I know you were at the Southern Fight League show up in Asheville last Saturday. What are your thoughts on the MMA scene here in North Carolina?


Spencer Fisher: It’s growing. You know, I’m excited about it. People forget that UFC 3 and UFC 5 were in Charlotte. Then the legal problems happened and now things have come full circle. There is no other place I’d rather fight than North Carolina.


Rich Wyatt: There had been guys from North Carolina fight in the UFC before Spencer Fisher came along, but you were really the trailblazer for fighters from this area. You were the first to become relevant on the biggest stage in the sport. How great has it been to watch the sport grow in popularity so much here in your home state?


Spencer Fisher: I love it. Meeting all these guys, the guys I’ve always looked up to, has been great. I’m just a big fan of the sport and I still look up to these guys that are my peers and that I work with. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something like this and I’m glad to see North Carolina getting so involved in the sport.


Rich Wyatt: As time goes by and more and more athletes begin competing here, do you think that we’ll begin to see more guys from North Carolina fighting for the big shows?


Spencer Fisher: I can’t imagine why not. I know several guys from North Carolina right now that are doing great. I don’t think it’ll be long before more are competing at this level.


Rich Wyatt: I understand that your wife, Emily, has competed a few times in MMA. What’s it like cornering for her?


Spencer Fisher: It’s the worst feeling in the world. The only thing worse would be watching your kid fight. It’s a bit of a helpless feeling. I can help train and prepare her, but it all falls on her in the cage. There’s nothing I can do to help her in there. Actually, she just fought recently and she’s been successful so far.


Rich Wyatt: Who do you like in the B.J. Penn-Kenny Florian fight for the lightweight title later this summer?


Spencer Fisher: That’s a good question. It depends on which BJ shows up. Does he want to prove a point to everyone that he’s still the best in the world? If so I think it’s no contest. If he comes in bored or uninterested, Florian is hungry and will take it. It’s a tough one to call.


Rich Wyatt: You have perhaps the best fighter entrance music in the sport. Can we look forward to hearing Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” playing on June 13th in Germany?


Spencer Fisher: It’s funny because I think that I started a craze with that. It’s like I tell people all the time: I’m from North Carolina and we liked Johnny Cash before it was cool to like Johnny Cash. Jason Lambert wanted to come out to the song but told me if I wanted to it would be mine and mine only.


Rich Wyatt: Is there anything that you’d like to say in closing?


Spencer Fisher: I just want to thank everyone for their support. To all the up and coming fighters there in North Carolina: keep on keeping on and don’t give up. I’d also like to thank my sponsors, Toe2Toe, KO Dynasty and Choppers Inc. would like to thank Spencer Fisher for taking time to talk with us. We wish him the best in his upcoming fights.