Gabe Ruediger (11-3, 0-1 UFC) is a former WEC Lightweight Champion who at one point put together an impressive set of nine victories in a row. However, Ruediger is best known amongst the MMA community as cast member of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5, where he was expelled from the show for failing to make weight ahead of a preliminary fight against Team Pulver’s Corey Hill.
MMAFrenzy.com recently caught up with Gabe to find out how the fallout from the show has affected him and how his career is progressing.
John Balfe – Hi Gabe, thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at MMAFrenzy.com. You’re training with Team Quest now. How is that working out for you? What do you do on a typical day’s training?
Gabe Ruediger – It’s great, I really couldn’t ask for a better a team. We have an obscene amount of talent in the room and everyone is very supportive of each other. Our training varies from day to day, but it is also very structured. Warm up, drill position, training is the specific position and then hard sparring. We do wrestling, stand up, ground. The gambit of combat oriented training. There are so many different styles and training partners that we do it all. Wrestling, thai boxing, Judo, boxing, jiu jitsu, and on and on…
JB – You had your first fight since UFC 63 against George Kassimatis last August, in which you won via a first round submission. How did that fight go for you? Was there any anxiety ahead of the fight due to it being your first fight in almost a year?
GR – The fight went well. It was over in a little over 3minutes by submission. I had George mounted and raining down strikes in less than a minute, but we went through the ropes and the fight was restarted. It was a good thing though, because I needed the extra ring time. Yes, there was some anxiety going into that fight. George had a legit record and I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to being back in the ring. A year is a long time and I felt the ring rust in that bout.
JB – Do you plan on fighting again before the year is out?
GR – Of course. I was supposed to fight on October 20th in fact. I made weight and was very prepared, but the show was cancelled by the athletic commission 2 hours before the event was supposed to start. That was a big let down. I want to fight as soon as possible and keep the momentum going.
JB – Most people know you as one of the cast members of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5, in which you left the show in unceremonious circumstances. Have you any regrets about how your experience in the house turned out, and, in hindsight, do you think you should have come into the show not carrying as much weight?
GR – Of course I would have liked to have done the show differently. It’s unfortunate to look back and realize how well I could have done. I would have come in less heavy and focused more on fighting than being on a TV show.
JB – How does the actual experience in the TUF house compare with how the television viewer sees it?
GR – The viewers get to watch a VERY VERY small portion of what actually happens. The editors also take liberties with the actual time line. There a MANY things that are not in actual chronological order that I saw while watching the series. Take this into consideration. TUF = 1008 filmed hours over a span of 6 weeks = 13 one hour episodes – commercials = 45 minute episodes.
JB – Are you still in touch with anyone from the show?
GR – Yes. I still talk to Cole Miller, Andy, Rob Emerson, Noah Thomas, and Gray. Ive seen other members of the cast and haven’t had any real issues with them. In fact, I saw Nate Diaz a little over a week ago and we talked.
JB - How do you think you would have matched up with the eventual finalists Manny Gamburyan and Nate Diaz?
GR – Well, I truly feel I could have won the show. Both those guys are VERY tough and deserved to be in finals. I would have to have WAY different strategies for each of them.
JB – A lot of people list your coach on the show, BJ Penn, as one of the top pound for pound fighters on the face of the earth. Given that you’ve had the chance to train and roll with him, just how good would you say he is?
GR - How good? I’ve known and trained with BJ since before I started fighting professionally. He is the most gifted fighter I’ve ever trained with, hands down.
JB – You’re a former WEC champion. Given that the WEC now falls under the Zuffa umbrella, does that represent a stumbling block for ever going back and competing there? Is the door still open to a UFC comeback?
GR – I’m sure it’s a possibility. My manager talked to Joe Silva and he said the door wasn’t shut. We shall see.
JB – Moving topic slightly, what are your thoughts about Randy Couture’s departure from the UFC?
GR – I’m not sure. Both sides have their story and I’m interested to see how it turns out.
JB – Have you any messages for your fans, or sponsors you’d like to mention?
GR – First a huge thank you to my fans and family that have stuck by me. I always say it, but they will never realize how much I appreciate them. My sponsors as well. FAIRTEX, TAPOUT, SINISTER BRAND, ON THE MAT, FORTY THIEVES COMBAT CLOTHING. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do.
Thanks for the interview. If anyone wants to see what I’m up to or correspond, check out my website WWW.GABEGODZILLA.COM