Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Isaiah Chapman Interview
Isaiah Chapman is weeks away from his scheduled fight with Nate Mango. With a win Chapman would advance to the finals of the 135 pound Amateur series and his chance to repeat and win the title again. Chapman is regarded by many as the top amateur in the sport, but deserves respect for staying as an amateur and not rushing to turn pro. Coming from a wrestling background, Chapman has picked up the other aspects of MMA and become a very well rounded fighter.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in MMA?
A: I always had an interest in it. I wrestled in middle school, so coming up I loved competition. once I graduated I wanted to keep going and take it further. A buddy of mine asked me to come train with him for a weekend and ever since I started I never stopped. I got hooked on the sport and the competition.
Q: Coming from a wrestling background, was the striking hard for you to pick up?
A: Not at all. I picked it up fairly easy, but i was a lot of practice.
Q: Does being a father make it hard to find time for training?
A: Somewhat on certain days. I take my little girl with me sometimes for the toddler class. With the newborn, it depends on the day. Some training days are cut short. But I got everything balanced pretty well.
Q: A lot of people say you are the top amateur fighter around here. Does that put more pressure on you to live up to that?
A: Of course it does. I appreciate the way I am thought of, but of course it puts extra pressure on you to stay that way in the eyes of others. I am always pushing myself to be better than the fight before, better than yesterday. SO I am always working hard to get to the next step.
Q: Does that put a bigger target on your head, meaning, everyone brings their best to fight you?
A: Oh for sure. The target just gives you incentive to stay in the gym and keep going.
Q: I interview Nichole Long (NAAFS Matchmaker) and we talked about you staying amateur with all you have accomplished. She called it the "right way". Do you feel people sometimes rush to turn pro?
A: I do. As an amateur it's your chance to learn everything you can and sharped all the tools you have to take it to the next level. So before I go pro, I wanna make sure I am prepared and ready. I don't want to just do the minimum and then jump in unprepared. I wanna do my home work and study up on my skills.
Q: Coming up you are scheduled to fight Nate Mango. You beat him once by Rear Naked Choke. Have you seen improvements in him that make him more of a threat?
A: I have seen a couple of his fights. I'll say his improved, but as a fighter, I think everyone improves from their last fight. I am not going into this fight without any caution. He is coming for his rematch, but I will be ready. It's not a fight I will take easily. I will go in like any fight, not knowing what to expect, but I will be ready for everything.
Q: Is there a key for you in this fight. Something you wanna do?
A: I wanna make sure to showcase my skills.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: No, not really. I accept a win however it comes.
Q: You have fought people who like to talk. You have never been a talker and some people say they respect that. Is that something you make a conscious effort to do?
A: For sure. It's just the kind of person I am. I am not the type to run my mouth. I train hard in the gym and show my talents in the cage. I think that and running your mouth are two totally different things. I think you are respected more if you show what you got in the cage and not run your mouth all the time.
Q: If you win this its a chance to fight for and repeat as NAAFS amateur champion. What would that mean to you?
A: It would mean a lot. It would be a great accomplishment for me. It is something I want and am working hard to achieve. I see it in my grasp and am going to push for it.
Q: Tyler Saltsman already advanced to the finals. You beat him by decision. Would you rather fight someone you already have a win over or someone knew like a Cody Garbrandt or someone, or does it not matter?
A: It really doesn't matter. I will say, it would be nice to have someone knew. Something different for everyone to say. But like I said, each fighter gets better with each fight, so as any fight, I will train harder and be ready and be a better fighter than before.
Q: You just attended Bellator. Was there anyone or anything that stood out?
A: I liked the heart of a lot of guys in there. A lot of them went in ready to fight and wanting to fight. There were a few fighters I kept my eye on cause that's the next level, so of course I was watching.
Q: How long till you think you are ready for that stage?
A: I wont make any statements haha, but I will be there soon enough.
Q: You train at one of the gyms I really like, Rock Hard, what are the benefits of training there?
A: Training at a gym like Rock hard, you get the moves broken down to you, we are very technical. We get a lot of one on one coaching so we get the moves. We break everything down. Its a good atmosphere, I like the people. Everyone tries to improve their teammate rather than their self cause we all grow together.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I wanna thank my coaches and teammates, my supporters, my friends and family for being there for me, and thank you for the interview. And thanks to NAAFS for giving me the opportunity.