Wednesday, April 4, 2012
John Hawk Interview
"Big" John Hawk is coming into his Bellator fight on April 20th off of a split decision loss to Roger Hollett that many, if not most, thought he won after controlling the second and third rounds. This time, in Cleveland, there is no worry of losing a home town decision, but Hawk has no plans of going to a decision against Marcus Vanttinen. On a loaded card with several big fights, Hawk has a chance to back up his claim and show he is one of the top light heavyweights around.
Q; Before we get into this fight, your last fight you lost a split decision in your last fight to Roger Hollett, in what seemed like a home town decision. How surprised were you when they announced him as the winner?
A: I was very surprised when he was announced as the winner. If you go back and watch the video of the fight, you can see where I won the third round and I raised my hands and he looked straight down like he had been defeated. My hands were up, I thought I won. He may have had more finesse, but hell, he hit me one or two times the whole fight. I could have been more active on the cage but he was strong and kept me against the cage. I was working, throwing knees, he was strong as hell, so I can't deny that. In the third round when he was weak, that's when I could open up, I cut him up good. I thought I won the second and third round easy. I guess it was a home town decision, he was the number one prospect in Canada, Bellator had him ranked like number six, and they were pumping this kid up. He was 13-2 with thirteen knockouts and I was supposed to get knocked out, and I went in their and I thought took the victory away from him. All my losses seem to be split decisions. I think maybe I have done something to the judges or they don't like the way I fight, but things are going to change from now on?
Q: You said you easily won the second and third, I gave you all three, but the first was close. Do you think it's a case of them scoring his occasional hard shot as opposed to all the work you did on the cage that wasn't as obvious?
A: I think so. Shit, Jason, you know me, I got a good ass chin, I can take a punch. When I watch the replay, he literally spun my head around. He hit me one good time I remember. I have never been dazed in a fight, I have been hit hard but never dazed. He hit my hard and my head spun around, but I was coming forward, so I took a punch but was still pushing the action. With my cage control, he had no answer, he was strong and had good takedown defense, so I couldn't take him down. It's MMA, it should be scored all around not just boxing. He didn't do anything to me, I controlled the cage, I controlled the pace.
Q: Does the loss put more pressure on you to win this one?
A: Yes and no I guess Jason. I'm 6-4 so my people see my record and its deceiving. I know I am better than a 6-4 fighter. I was finished once and that was my first fight at 205. The others were split decisions where I feel I wont the fights, against Spohn and Hollett. So, to me, I just don't know, I am at the point now where I am gonna suck "fuck it". I have great endurance so now am gonna be more explosive. I am not gonna wait three rounds, I am gonna finish you. So fuck everybody, you will see a new Hawk on April 20th.
Q: You are fighting Marcus Vantinnen on April 20th, he has a 21-3 pro record, but it doesn't look like he has fought anyone like you, would you agree?
A: Of course! I am not trying to have a big head or anything, but at the same time I feel like I am one of the better 205 pounders out there. I will fight anyone at 205. Look at him, on Sherdog he is 21-3, he has four times as wins as I do. I'll take anyone. He has fought mostly in M-1, overseas. They fight a little different, as Americans, we fight a little harder, we are more MMA fighters than anyone else. He never fought anyone like me who will put the pressure on you, push the pace. I have cardio for days, so bring it.
Q: Do you think there is a chance he comes in, sees your record, and under estimates you?
A: I think there is. Anyone, even locally, locally its hard to get a fight. I am 6-4 and people still don't wanna fight me. People locally know who I am, they know I am a dangerous fighter, so I am glad they are flying someone in from Finland. He will come in and look at my record, and think I am a jobber. I am not a jobber. They thought I was against Hollett, and I proved myself. I think they are bringing me in again as a jobber. Against a guy who is a top prospect, but I will fight whoever and take any challenge. I wanna fight the best so when I showcase my skills they know I am legit. He will think I am a pushover and after the first minute he will have an "oh shit" face.
Q: Are you hoping they put you one early or later or do you not care?
A: I would rather be before. At first, I was supposed to be on the main card. It was supposed to be Eddie Alvarez, Jessica Eye, me and maybe Dan Spohn. Then they added Brian Rogers and the tournaments and it bumped me off the main card, which is fine with me. If I am not on the main card, I would love to be in the first four fights. Get in there and get it done.
Q: From what you have seen, where is your biggest advantage?
A: I don't know. The kid is well rounded, boxing, kickboxing, good takedowns, he is tall, uses his reach. My advantage is my cardio, pressure and cage work.
Q: Where is his possible biggest threat?
A: None! I think I am a better fighter, training every scenario. I think I am better on the ground and I know I am a better boxer. If he wants to stand and bang that's fine, if he wants to go to the ground that's fine, we will see some elbows on the ground.
Q: Is there a key to winning, maybe pushing the pace?
A: It's not even pushing the pace cause half the judges don't understand MMA. Lately its all about a knock-out. You can't go into a fight looking for a knock-out cause you'll never get it. They just happen. I have to be more aggressive. I'll push the pace but with a lot of throwing and everything.
Q: You are known for your stand-up, but does part of you want to fight someone who will go to the ground so you can show you do have a ground game?
A: Yes and no. I like to bang so don't get me wrong. People like to see big guys throwing. But I would love to fight a guy who does all that stuff. But at the same time, prepare for everything. I gotta be well versed in everything I do.
Q: You have a few teammates on the card. Does so many people getting ready at the same time have any extra benefits?
A: Yes and no. With Brian Rogers getting ready its nice cause he is just a weight class below me so we can train more together. Basically for this fight, Stipe (Miocic) is a perfect training partner cause he has the height of my opponent. This guys striking and grappling isn't close to what Stipe's is. But at the same time it's nice to work with someone explosive like Brian. It's always nice to have teammates on a big card. In the home town there is a little more pressure, but not much because I am expected to be beat, but I am gonna prove people wrong.
Q: Is this an opportunity to show people that Strong Style is a top level gym?
A: Oh yeah for sure. I always considered Strong Style one of the best gyms in the area and damn near Nation. You get people who leave there and always wanna come back. Strong Style is a tough place to be, we work hard and have some of the best fighters in the area and even Nationally. Its a chance to showcase it on a big show. With me, Brian Rogers and Jessica Eye already established in Bellator, its nice to establish us more there, especially since next year Bellator will be bigger. With Stipe in the UFC its another thing, opens more options for everyone.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I am looking for a TKO by round two.
Q: After this fight, any idea what you want next, maybe the Light Heavyweight tournament, or you just thinking about this?
A: I am focused on this, its a big fight for me. I'd love to get in the tournament. I want a good victory and go from there. I am not under contract, so make a statement and go from there. I love Bellator, they treat me well. It's my first fight since November, so I would like to fight again in June. So get this victory, take a couple days off and get back in June. I wanna be active this year.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Of course, my teammates at Strong Style, Marcus Marinelli, Pablo Castro, Joe Delguyd. My sponsors, John P. Lennon, Intimidation Clothing, AKI Fight Gear, Tru Assassin, Cal Crowell Diverse Training System, he is the best strength and conditioning coach around. Also my girlfriend for the support. It's not easy being with someone going through the training and weight cutting, so it means a lot for her to stick by me.