Exclusive interview with Melvin Manhoef

If you see a dude with his neck attached to a chain dancing around like he just found a twenty-dollar bill in his pocket, run the other way. Seriously, just run the other way. Melvin Manhoef has a 96% KO ratio and he rocks a skirt. Maybe I should flip that around. Melvin Manhoef rocks a skirt because he has a 96% KO ratio. You’re not going to make fun of a dude that has the force to punch a hole through time and space. There’s no doubt you’ve seen Melvin Manhoef send some guy’s head hurdling into the 4th row. He’s one of the most exciting fighters in MMA and K-1 and somehow MiddleEasy interviewer, D**k Grayson, convinced Manhoef to talk to him for upwards of an hour. I don’t know how he did it, but I’m stoked. You should be too…and if you’re not, Manhoef will detonate one of those hydrogen bombs he calls fists on your forehead. Check out our exclusive interview with Melvin Manhoef only at MiddleEasy.com – Because MMA is Everything. 

Rumors is you’re going to sign with the UFC in the next few weeks. I cannot confirm this. [laughs]

Who is your next MMA opponent? I don’t know yet. I’m going to fight in Dream on Dynamite in Japan but we don’t know the opponent yet. Maybe if this is an injury in the K-1 GP, I will be a replacement. 

If we were to visit Amsterdam, which coffee shops should we visit? I think the coffee shops of my friends.

You’re going to plug in your friends’ coffee shops? What are their names?I have two: “The Green Heaven” and “The Dolphins“. I think The Dolphins is very good. Dolphins and Speakeasy are the best.

You have the highest knock out ratio in MMA. How does that feel? It feels pretty ok. You know…I cannot explain how if it goes all the time like this, I am very happy. Nobody has asked me this question so I don’t know how I feel. I think it’s awesome. To be one of the smallest guys and have a lot of KOs so I like it.

Would you say your hardest fight was against Evangelista Cyborg? Yeah because two weeks before the fight, I broke my toe. It was a really hard fight you know. It was an awesome fight though…I really like to fight. I don’t care if I get knocked out or of I knock people out. I think the more chances you take, the more exciting the fight is. That’s my opinion.

You were in your first fight at the age of 19 against Jordie Junkers. At this time I was still kickboxing…doing muay thai…this guy was an opponent and I never did something like this and my trainer said…’if you’re going to do this, you’re going to be an awesome fighter.’ I said ‘OK’. What the heck.’ I did it so…and then I don’t do it for a long time. It was my first MMA fight with punches on the head.

But that’s how your story begins?Yeah. This is the first time I got introduced into real MMA. I was doing Rings, you know Rings in Holland? They said you can’t hit someone in the head on the ground, so I go to Holland and it was like a 30 second time-limit. So I would do my thing, hold them on the ground for 30 seconds, and they they would reset and continue. So it wasn’t real fighting. “It’s Showtime” was when I was first introduced to the real MMA. 

Now you train with Badr Hari is that correct?Yeah.

Do you think he will ever fully cross over into MMA? Yeah. He will. He will. I think maybe because yeah—he is a fighter so maybe he will come. I don’t know. I cannot speak for him. He has to speak for himself. He has a good contract with K1. I think that if its gonna be, its going to be pretty awesome because I think that he is one of the greatest K1 fighters at the moment.

Overeem got into a bar brawl. When’s the last time you were in one? It’s very long for me man. It’s a really long time ago. I cannot remember.

What happened? Is it safe to say you won? Yeah I won but I don’t talk about these kind of things because now I am a fighter and you have to give a good example. It’s a long time ago and I’m glad that is a long time ago.

Another K1 fighter, do you think Remy Bojansky will ever cross into MMA? He cannot go the MMA way. You saw the kick Badr gave him? He was crying like a baby.

You’re given a title shot against Lyoto Machida, how would you approach the fight? He is very—he is moving a lot you know? With Machida, I would stand still in the middle of the ring and then move, move, move….when he would come, I would go and brawl with him. This is my opinion, but I’m gonna brawl with everybody. For me its real difficult you know? I fight with emotions, not with my head.

Bas Rutten said should work on your submission defense after your Filho fight.Yeah of course. You know I will work on my defense. I stand a lot of times with JZ, Pitbull and everybody. But everybody is helping me there in my submission defense, Jorge Santiago. These guys are all blackbelts in brazilian jiu jitsu and in the gym nobody can submit me with an armbar. In the gym it’s very difficult to submit me. When I am on the ground, I got a little shocked and I think that’s why he submit me. Otherwise, I’m not bad on the ground. I’m not good. Maybe time will tell. Maybe when I have some time in UFC or Strikeforce or Dream you can see me and you can see the ground skills.

Before your fights Mike Passenier is telling you something, what is it?That is a secret. I cannot tell you my secret. He is pumping me up. One thing you can see is he is always asking me is ‘Am I the boss’ and I say ‘Yeah I’m the boss.’ This is the only one thing I can tell. The rest I cannot tell.

What is the whole story behind the chain? The chain? My friends they call me ‘the animal’ the ‘the cannibal’. They call me different kinds of names. They call me like a wild beast. You know? Like a tiger…like a wild animal, so they make a joke like “Mike is releasing me”.

You are the only one in MMA and K1 that can rock a gladiator skirt.A friend of mine had it also and I started to wear that also. When you are in the ring, with two guys…two gladiators that want to be the best—this is why I did it you know? It’s nothing special.

Badr Hari is sponsored by KIA. What car would you like to be sponsored by?It doesn’t matter. If one company would like to sponsor me, it’d be pretty ok you know? I like BMW also. I like this car. If a car company really wanted to sponsor me, I’d be happy. I’d be honored to wear the logo on my shirt.

If we were to party in Amsterdam, where should we go on a Friday night?I think if you go to Jimmy Woo is very popular now.

And what about the next morning when we’re hungover? And for a hangover…for breakfast or to party again? Because the best thing for a hangover is to party again man. That is what you have to do. Then you go to The Powerzone or something and just go on. Then for Sunday you can chill out and you can go to a friend of mine at Chow Playa. He’ll take a care of you, he’s open at 1…it’s very popular for Thai food.

What music do you listen to when you train?I listen to everything. A little bit of rap a little bit of house. Everything that psyches me up a little bit and make training go fast. I would like to listen to—I always listen to rap. It has to have a good rhythm.

Are you going to appear in the EA MMA sports game?I hope so. I don’t know what I have to do for it, otherwise I do it. It is no problem. I like to play UFC on the XBOX so it would be nice.

People call you the Mike Tyson of MMA. You getting a tattoo on your face? Uh no. I think my wife would kill me. She wont kill me if I put her name I think but I don’t know. Its an awesome place. Now I don’t want to do it, but maybe later. I really find it awesome. Ive always wanted one on my neck, so maybe. I cannot say no because I like these kind of things.

Do you still have your Cage Rage light heavyweight belt? Yeah I have it. If I win a belt, I take it home man. I don’t give it back.

You fought on American soil once, how did you like it? In K1…it was with Dynamite. I like it very much, but the doctors and the commissions and everything…it was pretty difficult. You cannot use a lot of tape. I already break my hands like 3 times. I have to tape my hands really good. Otherwise you beak your hands and you have the recovery and its taking a lot of time. That was the only minus point of fighting there, but otherwise it was great. It was awesome.

Who do you think won against the Lyoto versus Shogun fight?I did not see the fight because it is very difficult to get the fights here in Holland, but I heard that it was a close fight and that Machida was the winner and they judged correctly I heard. I didn’t know if its true.

Were you able to watch the Brandon Vera versus Couture fight?No, I have it at home though. When I am in my K1 training, I don’t watch MMA because it’s confusing because I have to stand different. But I don’t watch too much MMA. Sometimes it is very hard. I wanted to see the fight against St. Pierre and Pitbull but it took me like fucking all day, so I said fuck it. Now my friends burn the dvds for me of a whole collection. Always when I am going to Japan, I watch everything.

Who do you think is going to win between BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez?I think Penn. I think Penn is more skilled on the ground. This is my opinion. Penn is also good on stand-up. Diego Sanchez is also good, but I think Penn will win the fight.

Name one person that you think could transition form K1 to MMA. I think Badr would do well.

What about MMA to K1? I think Pitbull. JZ also.

Do you think women should fight 3 rounds or 5 rounds?Depends on it. Three rounds – also for the guys – I think is much better. You are keeping the action. I think when it is five rounds, I think the action is going less. That is my opinion. I think it is equal. If you see the fight between Cristina, I think it is pretty good fight. Yeah Gina Carano and Cyborg, I think it is a pretty good and aggressive fight for girls. I was also curious who will win the fight. So three round or five round, I think five rounds also can be ok.

In your opinion, what do you think women’s MMA has to do to continue to grow? More women. More excellent women and get them in the sport. 

Just getting more women into the sport? Yeah. It is difficult. They are different than guys. I think to make it more spectacular for the women maybe—maybe increase the intensity with the time in the cage. Make it a little bit smaller so you have to fight.

Why did you make the decision to go to Mike’s gym and not to Golden Glory?Because I was training a long time already with Mike. He was a friend of mine already a little bit. And Golden Glory is too far for me. I live in Amsterdam.

When you fight in Japan, what do you do afterward to celebrate?We don’t go anywhere. I’m sitting in my hotel room. We evaluate what we did. Make some fun. Make some jokes. Drinking a lot and then we go to sleep and go home.

Finally, what are you going to be doing this weekend?This weekend, I have my own show. I am organizing my own show. This weekend I am busy with my own show and training very hard and preparing myself for K-1 Dynamite.

Do you have any shout-outs? Yes. I want to shout-out to all of my fans and my family and friends. I don’t want to forget anyone so all my fans. I think next year I’m going to be more stronger, more explosive and give more exciting fights.
Published on November 24, 2009 at 8:11 am
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