411 MMA Interviews: Andrei Arlovski
Less than two years ago, former UFC heavyweight champion and MMA fighter Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski (18-9, 1NC, MMA) was at a major crossroads in his career. The fighter had suffered a string of four straight losses. First in Affliction against former top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and then he lost his next three fights under the Strikeforce banner against Brett Rogers, Antonio Silva, and Sergei Kharitonov. After getting knocked out by Kharitonov in an opening round fight for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, his old coach and trainer in Chicago, Mike Garcia, believed it was time for Arlovski to retire and hang it up. Arlovski thought differently and credits current coach and trainer Greg Jackson and moving his training camps full-time to Albuquerque, New Mexico for his recent success. As of late, Arlovski has won his lat three out of four fights. The only blemish being a no contest in a fourth fight with another former UFC heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia. The fight was ruled a no contest after Arlovski dropped Sylvia and hit him with an illegal soccer kick at a One FC event, despite that the technique was supposed to be legal under One FC’s rules.
Most recently, Arlovski fought earlier this month at the debut World Series of Fighting event in Las Vegas where he defeated veteran Strikeforce fighter Devin Cole. Arlovski won the fight by knockout in the first round and has finally put the four fight losing streak behind him. Arlovski will also be appearing in the next Universal Soldier movie, Day of Reckoning, alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren which is due out on November 30 in theaters. Days after his win over Devin Cole, 411mania.com got the chance to speak with Arlovski about his recent success and what his next plans are:
Jeffrey Harris: How are you feeling after winning your last fight over Devin Cole by knockout?
Andrei Arlovski: I feel great. Just ready to go again. And this week — next week, I’m going to start training again.
Jeffrey Harris: So you are Magnus in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. Is this your same character from Universal Soldier: Regeneration?
Andrei Arlovski: Yeah. I guess I was a bad guy again. And I was killed again, but definitely I had a lot of fun. I had a great time shooting the movie. It was rather fun. It was great. There were a lot of great actors around me: Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, it was a lot of fun.
Jeffrey Harris: Being a mixed martial artist and a former UFC champion, what is it like to get to work with actors who had martial arts backgrounds but went into the movies like Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren?
Andrei Arlovski: When I was a kid, I had a lot of posters with Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, [Sylvester] Stallone, [Arnold] Schwarzenegger. It’s like a dream come true to be in a movie with those people. It was a lot of fun and I just was very excited.
Jeffrey Harris: Are you going to be working on another movie like this anytime soon or do you plan to focus on fighting and training right now?
Andrei Arlovski: It’s not going to hurt my fighting career. I definitely want to be in a movie. And if I have somebody for example come tomorrow and I’m going to have a role in a movie, it’s not going to hurt my MMA schedule. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great experience, and it was really interesting for me. It was something new for me.
Jeffrey Harris: What was the game plan for the fight with Devin Cole at World Series of Fighting?
Andrei Arlovski: The game plan against Devin Cole was to move around and don’t let him do takedowns. But actually he shot for the one leg. He was able to take a single leg and I was able to implement the game…But I felt pretty good and it’s actually the first time Greg Jackson was happy because usually I don’t follow the game plan. And he was happy [with my performance], and I was happy too.
Jeffrey Harris: You won with an amazing knockout. You’ve won three out of your last four fights. One of those fights was a no contest against Tim Sylvia. But even Bas Rutten thinks you were really the true winner in that fight. But at one point at the end of your run in Strikeforce you were down 0-4. When you have four losses in a row, do you ever think, “Maybe it’s time for me to leave this behind and do other things?” Or were you determined to get back to your winning ways?
Andrei Arlovski: I lost so much in fact a lot of people thought I should retire. But I’m so stubborn. I didn’t want to finish my MMA career on a losing streak. And I asked Greg Jackson, “What do you think, should I retire or not?” But he said, “Don’t worry. Just come here and we are going to start work together and we’ll be able to help you climb back to the top of the division again.” And I’m glad I had Greg Jackson. He still believed in me after four losses. He gave me a chance to train with him and reignite my MMA career. I’m really happy.
Jeffrey Harris: At what point did you connect with Greg Jackson and start training with him full-time?
Andrei Arlovski: I had I guess — I did it [worked with Greg Jackson] a couple times before when I started to work with him full-time. And for that fight against Fedor [Emelianenko], he just was in my corner because I invited him. But many people were my trainers from Chicago. But I still train with only two guys from Chicago…After that loss in the Strikeforce Grand Prix tournament, I just moved to Albuquerque and all the time I am training in Albuquerque. Only when I come to Chicago I am going to train with my trainers Ian and Frank in Chicago, but all the camps, all the time I train in Albuquerque with Greg Jackson.
Jeffrey Harris: You are by no means an old man. But in MMA, it’s increasingly a younger man’s game. Even though you are 33, some people might say you are old in the sport. What do you think about that, and have you thought about how much longer you want to keep fighting?
Andrei Arlovski: First of all, we have a bunch of examples of guys who were even over 40 and a bunch in MMA who became champions again. I think it’s a prime time especially for heavyweights. In my personal opinion, 35-36 is the best time. It’s a prime time. I’m 33. I still feel a lot of energy. I still want to fight. More importantly, I want to give all my fans fun fights. That’s why I’m not scared to train hard. I’m not scared to train even harder. For example, before my last fight against Devin Cole. That’s why next week I’m going to start going to Albuquerque, and I’m going to start training again. You know I just love to train hard. And all the hard work, what I did before Devin Cole, has been an affirmation of that night on November 3. I’m not scared of hard work. I guess I’m a hard worker and just want to train hard. And I want to win my next fight too.
Jeffrey Harris: So when will you fight next?
Andrei Arlovski: I think I’m going to get more information I’m going to post on Arlovski.com next week. Maybe in the end of this week, in a couple days because my wrist is still like – I’ll get some more information probably in a couple days.
Jeffrey Harris: Will your next fight be in ProElite, OneFC, or World Series of Fighting?
Andrei Arlovski: It might be in the World Series of Fighting because they are doing their next show in January I guess. So we’ll see.
Jeffrey Harris: How many fights do you have signed with World Series of Fighting?
Andrei Arlovski: Three more fights.
Jeffrey Harris: So as a goal do you want to fight Tim Sylvia again to get that last issue off your record or do you ultimately want to fight in the UFC again? Or are you not even thinking about that?
Andrei Arlovski: First of all right now, I’m still under contract with World Series of Fighting. I’m an employee of World Series of Fighting for right now. Secondly, I do not fight with Tim Sylvia again. Everything [with] that is behind. No more bull**** between me and Tim Sylvia. And I’m not sure that the fifth match is going to be interesting for some promotion or fans. My goal is to be the best fighter in the world and to be a champion again one day. That’s why I’m training hard. That’s why next year I’m going to move to Albuquerque. And that’s it. If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best fighters. So I’m doing that right now one step at a time.
Jeffrey Harris: So if you want to be a champion and beat the best in the world do you want to do that in the UFC again someday?
Andrei Arlovski: We’ll see. We’ll see.
Jeffrey Harris: You do seem open to that idea.
Andrei Arlovski: I do have three more fights with World Series of Fighting. We’ll see what’s going to happen.
Jeffrey Harris: Any sponsors or people you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
Andrei Arlovski: First of all thank you very much to all my fans who have supported me. Of course don’t forget to visit me at Arlovski.com. And for any sponsors who would like to sponsor me, please contact Arlovski.com and let’s work together. Thank you very much for having me.
Thank you to Arlovski for taking time out of his schedule to speak with us. You can see more of Arlovski in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning due out on November 30 in theaters. The movie is now available iTunes, Amazon.com, Video On-Demand. It is also available in 3D on 3D TV’s.