There are fighters who say they'll fight anyone and others who actually will. James Irvin belongs to the latter and jumped at the chance to take on Anderson Silva this Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC Fight Night.
|On July 19, Irvin hopes to knock out Silva 'eventually.' (UFC)|
Q: What was your first reaction when you were asked to fight Anderson Silva?
Irvin: I was head over heels, I was just like, "Where do I sign? Can I sign right now?" I just figured there would be a bunch of other fighters banging on the door and that actually wasn't the case, there was actually quite a few guys who turned the fight down and wanted nothing to do with this guy whatsoever. I find it kind of humorous that when Joe Rogan does interviews with the fighters afterwards everyone's like, "I'll fight anyone the UFC puts in front of me and I just want to fight the best." Bulls***, obviously not.
Q: Do you plan to strike with Silva?
Irvin: That's always my gameplan, my dream. My best skills are standing and striking and if I can keep any fight standing, that's obviously my intention. But the guy, he's a world class fighter. He's better than me at every aspect of this game. He's better on the ground. He's better striking. So I'm going to have to take some of his shots to give some, but I have no intentions of going to the ground.
Q: If he's better than you in every aspect of the game, do you think -- in order to win -- that you're going to absorb some shots and then score with a power punch of sorts?
Irvin: That's the biggest thing. I have my knees, my elbows, and certain parts of my game I haven't got to show. But anybody who fights in the UFC is very well rounded and we're not one-dimensional by no means. Me being 20 pounds bigger is the biggest asset I have going into this fight, being bigger and stronger, so I fully intend to eat two or three of his punches just to give one back. If I have to eat 20 or 30 of his to land five or 10 of mine, I'm going to do that, and when mine land, they're going to count and one of mine is going to knock him out eventually.
Q: Are you doing anything different for Silva in training?
Irvin: My Muay Thai is my strength. I go to Thailand usually for all my fights. I've been there numerous times and that's my strength and kind of falls into the way I fight. So actually lots of Muay Thai -- he's a standup guy, but my training partners, I've been training with southpaws and only left handed fighters right now. All the guys I spar with now are 6-foot-4 or taller and all of them are very good in the clinch, so I try to mimic him the best I can.
Q: I remember you talking about how you visualized your flying knee KO over Terry Martin numerous times before scoring it. Is visualization a big part of your game?
Irvin: You kind of have to go through that to get the jitters out of you so when you actually get in there you actually go and you execute it. A lot of times you'll get in the ring and if you didn't plan on something you're going to be like, "F*** that, I am not doing that in this fight." But if it's something I've rewound and went through my game plan over and over again, like the Houston Alexander fight, I must have thrown that superman (punch) a thousand times that week and even backstage, I was throwing it in my mind and on the mits over and over again. We knew that was my first punch.
Q: This card was put together really fast. Is it a problem fighting on short notice?