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UFC 78: An Interview With Jason Reinhardt

Jason ReinhardtOn November 17th Jason Reinhardt will step into the octagon for the very first time. The 37-year-old fighter doesn’t fit the mold of the typical UFC newcomer. Besides his age, Reinhardt will enter the cage with an 18-0 career mixed martial arts record, the best in all of MMA. His journey to the UFC is now only being fully realized long after it initially began. Reinhardt nearly was casted onto the 5th season of The Ultimate Fighter but didn’t make the final cut. His opponent at UFC 78, Joe Lauzon, did.

Reinhardt was still offered a fight in the UFC, against Roger Huerta at UFC 63, but he was unable to compete after an injury forced him to withdraw from the fight. In just over a month he will complete his journey to the UFC in Newark, New Jersey though his quest to win a UFC-championship will persist.

Jason, who trains with Miletich Fighting Systems in Iowa alongside former-UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia and other UFC and MMA veterans, took time out of his busy schedule to complete an interview with and will continue to provide additional updates for the site leading up to his fight against Joe Lauzon in November. First and foremost Jason thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview. Let’s jump right into things.

Jason: No problem, anytime. I’m always available to the fans. You tried out for the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter and didn’t make the final cut. Did this help you land a contract with the UFC or how did the UFC contact you about coming to the organization and taking on Lauzon?

Jason:Yes, I made it down to the final 18 for the Ultimate Fighter 5. It was devastating to get that far and not make it to the final cut. All I kept hearing was : “Your personality is made for a Reality Show” (laughs). I felt I did well in the TUF interviews. Who knows, being in the final 18 may have gotten me the exposure to be invited to the UFC? My first fight in the UFC was suppose to be in August of 2006 against Roger Huerta, but I had to pull out due to an injury. This was another set back. But, I never give up, no matter what. So, the UFC knew about me. I would like to think my dedication and perseverance also had something to do with me getting another chance. So, here I am fighting Joe Lauzon. Monte Cox and Chad Bergmeier called and said your fighting Lauzon in the UFC and I said, “Great, let’s do it”. I am very happy to be fighting such a tough and respectable fighter like Joe Lauzon. Right now your professional record sits at 18-0 with a wealth of submissions. Most would consider submissions your strong point but are there any weaknesses in your fight game you will look to improve heading into this fight against Lauzon?

Jason: Yes, my record is 18-0. I have fought some battles in the cage, believe me. I’ve had some very tough fights, and I’ve had some guys I’ve handled kinda easy over the years. I’ve always tried my best to respect all my opponents. Martial arts is all about respect, loyalty, and honor. Any fighter who takes this sport serious, trains hard, who has goals, and dreams I respect and I like seeing good people fulfilling their dreams. But, nothing comes easy in life. You have to truly want it…bad. I don’t respect lazy people!!

I have always fought who my manager tells me. It’s no different when I got the call to fight Joe Lauzon. Of course you have to be intelligent about your career. We are professionals. You don’t take a fight with someone like Joe Lauzon in a small show, where it won’t get you anywhere. That is stupid. I wish more people could understand this is a business too. I have been around a long time, and have seen a lot throughout my career. You save the Lion for the big show, in order to to showcase what you have worked for your whole life. Lauzon happens to be the lion. The whole world will know who Jason Reinhardt is after this fight: win, lose, or draw. If I didn’t think I was going to win the fight, I wouldn’t bother getting on the plane. As far as my submissions being my strong point as you say, yes, my record indicates this. I’ve won many fights by submissions.

Please don’t be offended, but I’m not going to tell the whole world if I have any weaknesses as an MMA fighter as you asked. Joe could be listening? And since he’s a computer guru, I know he’s gonna read this. I think every fighter has things they need to work on. This is professional fighting at the highest level. Come Nov. 17th people are free to make their own opinions. Let’s leave it at that. Purchase the pay per view, and see if Jason Reinhardt has any weaknesses. I love the fans, and I respect their opinions! How many fights are on your current UFC contract?

Jason: I have a 4 fight deal with the UFC. Were any other opponents or events ever discussed with you?

Jason: Yes, there have been several different shows approach my manager about me fighting for them. For example, Showtime, in late Jan. 2007, the WEC World Title in early Feb. 2007, against Eddie Wineland at 135 lbs., and the Gracie Fighting Challenge, in March 2007. I’m just very happy to finally make it to the UFC after all these years. When you truly want something in life bad enough, you won’t quit until you make it whether it’s being a fighter, a business man, an actor, a better husband, father, etc. Never let anyone tell you you can’t make it, or be the best you can be. I believe in being positive, and always surround yourself with positive people, who encourage you. Believe in yourself. Joe was recently quoted as saying the following regarding you coming to the UFC. Could you respond to these comments: “[UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva is probably sick of Jason emailing him, and it’s my job to shut him up. That’s how I got the fight with Jens, and that’s how Jason is getting in now. He is praying for lightning to strike twice, but it’s not gonna happen.”

Jason ReinhardtJason: Ya, Joe Lauzon tells the world to email Joe Silva and you will make it to the UFC, just as I supposedly did? Those were his words on his web site All I have to say about that is every fighter wanting to make it to the UFC, all you have to do is email Joe Silva or keep calling him on his cell phone and he will get you right in. Man, it’s easy. You bug Joe Silva enough, stalk him, sleep at the end of his driveway, etc. and your in the UFC. It’s that simple. Lauzon says so. Or just email me and I will give you Joe Silva’s email. On a serious note come on, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I’ve never emailed Joe Silva in my life. Well, I think I did one time, just to tell him how I thought I was taller than him (laughs).

And as far as Lauzon saying it’s his job to shut me up? I’m not going anywhere. I’m a fighter man, and I’m here to stay. I have a family to feed. I have nothing bad to say about Joe Lauzon. If he needs to say those words, like “it’s his job to shut me up, etc.. etc..” that’s cool. It’s funny because I’ve not said anything that I’m going to do to Joe Lauzon. That’s not my style. So, in reality, shut me up how, ya know? All I have to say to this kid, is keep talking, because we are fighting Nov. 17th and when the bell rings all those words mean nothing. It’s just me and him when that Octagon door closes. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve and I’m sure he does too. He’s a very good fighter, but so am I. This is why this fight has the potential to be extremely exciting. We both are very aggressive. Let’s face it, everyone wants to see an undefeated guy like myself fight, and many want to see an undefeated guy lose. I’m a marketable fighter so purchase the pay-per view and see what happens. I will not disappoint win, lose, or draw. The fans mean a lot to me. How do you think you match up against Lauzon?

Jason: I feel I match up with Lauzon well even with the big reach and weight advantage. Certain positions of the fight I match up good and not so well in other positions. This is why I’m working very very hard on things I need to work on with this long armed sucker (laughs)!

Hey man, it’s a fight, and this is the highest level, and I’m so happy to be competing at the highest level in the UFC. May the best man win. Last year you had to withdraw from a fight against Roger Huerta at UFC 63 due to a neck injury? Are there any lingering effects or are you healed and healthy?

Jason: I would rather not talk about my injury. I’m good to go. I’m strong. Let’s just say it’s been a long road but the point is, I made it and I’m ready to shock the world. You will never hear an excuse come out of my mouth. Looking ahead take us through your preparation for this fight in terms of daily training and what you will be focusing on?

Jason: I train with my long time camp Miletich Fighting Systems. Spencer Fisher has been working with me a lot, and is like my brother. Josh Neer has been helping me a lot, and I feel we have become close friends. All the guys man at MFS. Pat Miletich is the Master behind it all. I don’t feel comfortable telling the world at this point what I’m doing to prepare for Joe Lauzon. I am focusing on everything. This is not 1994.

I am very lucky to have the Gracie Barra camp 40 min. down the road from me in Springfield, Illinois as well. Miletich Fighting Systems is a 3 hour drive, so I have been going back and forth traveling, between Miletich Fighting Systems, in Iowa, and the Gracie Barra Springfield, Illinois. Academy. Professor Marcos Barros, who moved to Springfield, Illinois from Brazil, is a Gracie Barra Black Belt and has a very nice Academy in Springfield. His jiujitsu is amazing. He’s just an all around great person. Joe is in Hawaii to train with B.J. Penn. Will you try to change up your routine from the past to adapt to this?

Jason: I will listen to my coaches, and they are advising me on situations I need to adapt to and work on. B.J. Penn is a great fighter and coach and I’m sure he will have Joe Lauzon ready to rock n roll, just as my coaches will. A fight is a fight. There has been criticism over the UFC selecting you to face Lauzon in that they are protecting him from tough competition. Do you feel the UFC may be attempting to do this by bringing you in to face one of their more marketable fighters?

Jason: I will tell you what, if that is the UFC’s plan so be it. I’m up for any challenge. I am tough competition. I always come to fight. I’m nobody’s stepping stone. The UFC sure didn’t protect Joe Lauzon when they brought him into fight Jens Pulver now did they. We all know Randy Couture has remained successful as he aged. Do you think age will play a factor in this fight?

Jason: Randy Couture is successful because first, his mind is very strong, and he takes very good care of his body. I don’t party much. I may have a few beers after Nov. 17th though (laughs).

I’ve taken care of my body, even though I’ve fought tooth and nail over my chronic injury, I’ve suffered with for 6 years. I always am working out. I will be 38 years young come fight night. I feel age is in your mind. Your mind controls everything. So, no, I do not feel my age will have a bearing in this fight. Off the topic of your fight in particular what is your opinion on performance enhancing drugs in MMA? Is it as widespread as many fear and what do you think can be done to combat it?

Jason: My opinion on performance enhancing drugs such as steroids is that I would, personally, never judge a fighter or athlete for. It’s a personal choice a fighter has to make. However, for me personally, I do not want to embarrass the sport of MMA by doing that stuff. Dana White and the whole Zuffa team has worked too hard to have fighters tear down the good image of the sport. We have gone too far. If fighters have done them in the past, it’s time to stop I feel. We don’t need that stuff.

If it’s against the rules, I am personally against it. All it does, is cost you money with fines, you lose potential bonuses, sponsors, and it’s an embarrassment to your team, your family, and the UFC in general. Plus, you can lose your job as a professional fighter. Then, there is another issue…

There are situations where doctors actually prescribe steroids to help you heal from injuries. There’s a place right in Vegas called Cenegenics, where Dr. Allen Mintz has athletes who have been injured and prescribe steroids for healing purposes such as HGH and testosterone to help recover from serious injuries? He was recently on 60 min. Is he wrong? What’s the rules about going to a medical doctor for this kind of treatment? I believe this is a legitimate question? What’s the commissions stance on this? Is this against the rules? I don’t know. There are anti-aging centers all across this country which prescribe testosterone and HGH to people and athletes for real reasons, for your health. Some, for anti-aging purposes, and some for healing of injuries so what can be done to combat it, you ask? I don’t have the answers? It’s really a complex topic. Dana White is in a tough situation, and should not be criticized.

We are expected to perform at the highest level, and if we have a serious injury because of the demanding things we are required to put our bodies through, and go to a doctor and he tells us we can heal and continue to feed our family’s by him prescribing steroids, is this wrong?? I don’t know? I’m just being honest here. So, basically, in my opinion steroids have no place in our sport to improve and enhance our performance for the fight.. For healing of injuries, prescribed by a doctor, I don’t know? I feel it’s a legitimate question? Again, if it’s illegal, and against the rules, doctor prescribed or not, I’m against it. By what round and what method do you think you will win?

Jason: I personally think it’s about the craziest thing to say what round or what method a fighter is going to win a fight. Nobody truly knows at this level. I’m not good with that kind of stuff. 4 oz. gloves are unpredictable. Are there any people or sponsors you would like to publicly thank?

Jason: My sponsors I would like to thank are Doctor Randy Peterson, and Valera Peterson, Warrior Wear, Wally Shallabi from Midwest Insurance Agency, Drew Miller (owner of DMC Custom Homes). I would like to thank Pat Miletich and everyone from Miletich Fighting Systems especially Tim Sylvia as well as Mike Griffin from Pro Gym. Also thanks go out to my wrestling coach Miguel Murgas from Cuba and Greg Giddings They all have made it possible for me to train like a true professional athlete.

I would like to thank God for giving me the strength to never quit. I want to thank Jesus Christ who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us and who has given me the strength to never give up. Without him, I’m 110% sure I would not be where I am today as a fighter or person.

Thanks to my wife, my daughter, and all of my family and friends for all their support. Also thanks to Pastor Keith and everyone from the Miletich Bible Study, George Seaberg, and all the guys from the Wednesday morning group, who have inspired and taught me about Jesus Christ.

Finally thanks to all my MMA students. I’ll be home soon guys, thanks for holding down the gym. Thanks again for talking with us and best of luck in your upcoming fight.

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