We actually knew Efrain Escudero back in the day…well, sort of knew him. Dude lived in our apartment complex, came over to our parties and we had no idea. Pretty sure we even used his keg tap once. Who the hell would have known that the future winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 was just a stone’s throw away from our front door. That’s pretty nuts, but not as wild as Efrain’s knockout of Cole Miller at UFC 103. Michael Schiavello and I were in the hallway of the American Airlines Center during the fight in a desperate attempt to grab a few hot dogs. Our placement of mustard on our dogs was interrupted by an entire arena gasping as if someone’s head was just severed in the octagon. We immediately looked back at the monitor to see the replay of Efrain catching Cole Miller with a right hook and finishing him off with some laser guided ground and pound. Dude is now 13-0 and he fights this Monday (January 11th) at UFC Fight Night 20. We tried to get this interview earlier in the week but we were both stuck in airport missed connection flight hell. Here is our exclusive interview conducted by D**k Grayson only at MiddleEasy.com – Because MMA is everything.
What kind of kid were you growing up? You know, I actually was a pretty good kid when it came to my family but in school I was always fighting and stuff so it made it a little difficult for my parents. I was on probation when I was 15 years old. I was always getting into trouble, trying to fit in with the crowd and gangs and stuff.
Presently, when you’re out with your friends what type of person are you? Party animal? Quiet?I’m both, I love to have a good time. I’m never at the point where I’m fighting anybody but I love to dance. When we go out to a club or something I’m always mobbing with a lot of my friends and it’s pretty fun just going out there, having a great time. We leave the fighting for the octagon.
What are your thoughts on your upcoming fight versus Evan Dunham? He’s undefeated like you are. Yeah, I think it’s going to be a great fight. Both of us have prepared ourselves to the best of our ability and I think it’s going to be one hell of a war.
Being a wrestler, what is you opinion on other wrestlers abandoning their base to improve their standup? You know, I do believe all the upcoming wrestlers like Koscheck that became a national champ and all of a sudden started knocking everybody out, that’s a good example of learning stand-up but you can never forget your roots. That’s one of my biggest emphasis.
What are your thoughts on Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin? I believe Mir got a lot bigger but…Shane Carwin is a good friend of mine, he’s managed by my manager…but Frank Mir was the opposite coach of (my season of) The Ultimate Fighter and…I don’t know, I…I hope it’s an exciting fight.
What about Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis? You know Nick Diaz you can never count him out. He’s actually one of my favorite fighters of all times just because his attitude and the way he goes in there and fight. I used to always like watching his fights just because he never stops, there’s no quitting in Diaz man.
Name one fighter that impresses you. Georges St. Pierre.
What’s one camp that you would like to train in? Probably up there in Boston with Kenny Florian.
You’ve trained with BJ Penn, who would you like to see him fight next? I want BJ to fight whoever he wants to fight. I would like to see him and Georges St. Pierre go at it one more time.
What are your thoughts on Shinya Aoki recently breaking his opponent’s arm? I don’t know if it was an accident but things happen, this is our sport. Better him than me right?
If you were to corner Gomi in the ring against Shinya Aoki, what would you tell him? Submit him.
Submit him? Try to take it down to the ground as soon as possible just because Gomi’s jiu-jitsu is phenomenal and Aoki’s is phenomenal too but I think he has the upper hand on that one. As we all seen, his fight against Nick Diaz was just an incredible beating and then he got submitted.
Junie Browning’s career got derailed a little bit, what are your thoughts on him as a fighter? He’s a good fighter, he just needs to improve on some aspects. He can’t put too much pressure on himself but other than that, he’s a good fighter. He’s still young.
More Mexican fighters are beginning to emerge in MMA. Do you feel you are one of those trailblazers and if you do, is there any added pressure for you?No, I actually want more Mexican fighters in MMA. I want more fellow Mexican fighters born in Mexico to be representing our country. I was born in Mexico, I’m all for it. I would love to see more fellow Mexicans in the UFC.
Do you think some of the Pride rules, like head stomps, should make a comeback in MMA? Ah…no, not really. I like the rules right now. I’ll trade headstomps for elbows to the face.
Now you train in the Southwest, is there an up and coming female fighter brewing in the Southwest that you know of? Yes! She’s actually been fighting with us, she’s tough. I don’t recall her name right now but she just started not too long ago and she had her first pro fight and the ref was a beginner and stopped the fight early.
Do you know what organization she fighters under? Maybe we can hunt her down. She fought in ‘Rage in the Cage’.
What do you think women’s MMA needs to do in order to continue progressing?I think they should open up a female organization. A lot of gyms where you go, a lot of people only know MMA as a men’s sport but they never really introduce it as a women’s sport. A lot of girls I know say they want to train but I never see a gym for girls.
Name one talent other than fighting that you have? Soccer!
What’s the nerdiest thing you’re into? Ugh…gang life.
That’s nerdy? Yeah, I like to know what the tattoos mean, what the gangs mean, what they represent, where they originated from but not like any ordinary gang. Not like ‘Southside’. More like Mara Salvatrucha, Barrio Azteca, Norteños, Sureños and all that.
That was the last thing I was expecting. Yeah, haha. Well I’m a criminal defense major.
Now out of these three super powers, which one would you like to have: The ability to breathe underwater, the ability to fly or Telekinesis. Hmm…telekinesis.
You were a downloadable character in UFC Undisputed 2009, are you happy with your digital representation? Yes I was.
We both have something in common in that I took some classes in Pima College West. I actually took some Yoga and Sign Language over there.Oh really?
Yeah man, I got some Tucson roots. My friend Uncle Mike wants to know if you ever partied at the Star Ranch apartments near Gates Pass?I actually lived there.
You lived there? Yeah, when I was going to Pima Community College.
Nice, we lived there too. The site creator and myself. Really? We always threw parties, my apartment was 2204. .
Oh wow, that’s hilarious. We were 5104. We were in building 5.Oh really? That building was fun too.
Yeah, we tore that place up? Oh, you probably lived near my old roommate…
Alright, last question. What’s better? Los Betos or Taco Bell? Los Betos dog.
Nice. Is there anything shout-outs you want to give? Just want to thank all my sponsors, my training camp for helping me out. This camp was stressful, it was hard. I want to thank all my sponsors: Bud Light, MTX Audio, Dethrone Royalty, Tapout thanks for supporting me. Thanks for being their for me. And I just want to thank my manager, my training partners and you too for taking the time to do this interview.