Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Forrest Petz Interview

Forrest Petz was days away from his fight with Travis Clark. Unfortunately due to an injury, Clark was forced to pull out of the highly anticipated bout. Already with 3 wins this year against quality opponents, Petz was hoping to ride the momentum to a win and an NAAFS title. Even with that fight out the door, Petz, A UFC veteran with an impressive resume was someone I was anxious to get an interview with.

Q: You were scheduled to fight Travis Clark this coming weekend. Clark had to withdraw due to an injury. How frustrating is that to have it happen so close to the fight?
A: It sucks. I mean, I still hope to get a replacement. As long as I fight somebody I will be alright. Having trained specifically for Travis, its a bummer, but that's how the fight game works sometimes.

Q: Any word on a replacement?
A: I just heard about Travis last night so its pretty new right now. I got my fingers crossed.

Q: You have a lot of experience and a great resume. Does that make it harder to get a short notice replacement?
A: It might, I don't know. I don't know what they are looking to pay my opponent. Because I am fighting at 185 maybe a guy will see me coming up in weight and think I am not as dangerous, so who knows. I have taken fights on short notice, been on that end, so I know its an opportunity for some guys to jump on, a good stepping stone.

Q: That's where I was going next. Could someone look at it like "Hey, its Forrest Petz, he fought in the UFC, this is a big opportunity"?
A: Yeah you can look at it as an opportunity. Depending on where he is in his career and how bad he needs a fight right now.

Q: Had the fight with Travis happened, how do you feel you match up with him?
A: Well, I was planning on winning obviously. I felt I could have stopped him inside the distance. The biggest issue I would have with him is his size because he is a natural 185 pounder. He has a goofy kickboxing style that causes problems for people because its unorthodox, but fighting guys like like that isn't a big issue with me. Wrestling wise, I felt I had enough to negate his takedowns or at least get up off the floor. My wrestling, offensively, has never been anything to write home about, but is pretty good defensively. So I felt I could have had a stand-up war with the guy and come out on top.

Q: You have three wins this year, with that kind of momentum, does it make you more anxious to get back in the cage?
A: Yeah, sometimes when you are on a roll you wanna keep on rolling. That's how I feel.

Q: Not only you, but Strong Style has been a roll lately. Does teammates having success motivate you more?
A: Yeah, it gives you confidence, that the guys are fighting tooth and nail, and if they have success on a National level, you must be pretty good to. So, we all keep each other sharp and everyone is at their best now.

Q: I interview other Strong Style fighters, and they always mention working with you. Does that give you your own sense of pride when others have success and mention you?
A: I mean, its cool, but the thing is, we all work together so everyone wants to throw around credit. Guys like Chris Lozano, Brian Rogers and John Hawk, with or without me they are gonna do some damage. Its nice they mention me, but I cant take any of the credit for what they do.

Q: Long term, is the goal to get another shot with UFC, or is it more of "if it happens it happens"?
A: Yeah, I mean I am just taking one fight at a time. I went 0-2 on my last run, my first run I went 2-3. So, in all honesty, that's never impressive. I gotta do something. In order for them to take a look at me, I have to do something pretty impressive. I am three fights into a win streak right now, I have to add on to that in order for that. Fight guys who if you beat them, you make some noise. I can do that, my last run in the UFC I didn't put my best foot forward. I am capable of a lot better and can compete on that level. Right now, I have to find my way back. if it happens, that's awesome, but I am not counting on it. Right now I am just trying to take fights and win and see where it gets me.

Q: That being said, would the NAAFS title be a help towards getting back there?
A: It would be great to have a title around here. Its like the best fighter in Ohio, which is cool to hang your hat on. But I look at it as a fight. Just a win over Travis Clark. The title is cool to bring to the gym and have it there, but I just want solid wins. This would have been a good one. A win over Travis Clark would have been a solid win. My last 3 guys all had winning records, fought at bigger shows, Travis hasn't, but he is undefeated, so a win over him for a title would have looked pretty impressive.

Q: Looking back, is there one fight in your career that you are most proud of or meant the most?
A: There are a few. When I beat Sam Morgan, my first time in the UFC, I went out and beat the guy. One judge had it 30-23, which is the most lopsided score they ever had in the UFC in a three round fight. There are others that have personal meaning. I had a fight in 2006 against Daniel Moraes, he wasn't a big name, and it wasn't even that great of a fight, but a lot of circumstances around the fight, and coming out on top, made it special. The one with Dan Hardy, if you have ever seen the fight, it was one where I had to dig deep, and was a kick ass fight. The other one I liked was when I fought Taiwan Howard at Fight Night in the Flats. That is one of my favorites times fighting. After it was over having friends and family there. I had bounced back from a two fight skid and felt good to win that one.

Q: Does being a ref give you any perspective on fighting that maybe you didn't used to have?
A: I don't know. Not really. If there is one thing, as a fighter, when the crowd boos it messes with your head and makes you do things you shouldn't do. When you are a ref, you get booed all the time. Calls are unpopular or you make a bad call. It rolls off my back now, and as a fighter I don't even hear it.

Q: Being a fighter, when does it give you better perspective to tell when a fighter has had enough?
A: For sure. Being a fighter makes you a better ref than being a ref makes you a better fighter. Just knowing whats going on. For sure that's helped me.

Q: Where did the name Meat Cleaver come from?
A: My old roommate, he was goofing around. At the time I fought for King of the Cage, there was a promoter that used me a lot named Cory Fisher, and he called me the Hit Man. In my mind, the only Hit Man was Thomas Hearns, the boxer, he retired the nickname. My Buddy Joe said " We gotta give you something different, something people will remember, the Meat Cleaver". Even then I just joked around with it, didn't think ti would be my nickname. I was filling out my info for a fight, and my buddy filled it out while I was getting my medicals, I had no idea he wrote that nickname down.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: All the dudes at Strong Style, Marcus and everyone. This is a team sport, you fight individual, but there is a group of people who get you ready. My friend John Lennon has helped me out, and Intimidation Clothing always sponsors me to, so gotta give them a shout out.

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