Scott Smith pre-UFC!

11 Apr

by Keith Mills (2006-04-11)

Scott Smith makes his UFC debut April 15th at UFC 59 facing David Terrell. Smith was the WEC Light Heavyweight Champion, recently vacating his belt to drop to Middleweight as he talks about below. He won the belt in a four-man tournament at WEC 17 last October by defeating Tim McKenzie by TKO and Tait Fletcher by KO. In January he defend the belt against Justin Levens by KO. He train out of Capital City Fighting Alliance.

KM: Can you explain your training cycle is like?
SS: I’m going to the Fairtex Academy. I try to get there two or three days a week. I am still working a day or so here and there at my Dad’s steel company I basically work there when he really needs me, I’m a foreman for him. In the evenings I’m generally hitting Casio Werneck’s BJJ. Tuesday nights I go to Cal Worsham’s school in Sacramento. They do their sparring on Tuesday nights I get a lot of my light sparring there, my mitt work with Fairtex, and my grappling with Casio.

KM: You started out in Gladiator Challenge but moved on to rival promotion WEC. Why the switch? SS: I basically called it quits for over a year. There was a lot going on in my life. I got a divorce two months before the WEC tournament and had the opportunity to start fighting again. I was with Irvin and his camp Capital City Fighting Alliance and their manager Mike Roberts. My whole thing was if I was going to fight I would give it an honest go this time, not five weeks of training a start drinking again and not training through. He said, ‘if you are going to do that you need to get away from Gladiator Challenge. I got this great opportunity for you to fight in this tournament in the WEC. You go in there and win you are pretty much a shoe-in for the UFC.’

KM: Didn’t you win the belt by winning the tournament? SS: Yeah, it was a tournament for the belt.

KM: In the first round of the tournament you beat Tim McKenzie. Can you describe that fight? SS: I think Tim McKenzie took me pretty lightly. I think I matched up real well against McKenzie. My wrestling is a little better, I really focused on my hands for the tournament, and I knew he wasn’t going to be able to catch me in any submissions. I knew the only danger was if he got on top of me because he is good at ground-and-pound but even at that I felt good enough to get up and get away from him. I think the combination of him not being ready for me and I had him scouted out pretty well I was pretty confident coming into the fight.

KM: After winning that you had Tate Fletcher in the finals. Can you describe that one? SS: That was pretty tough because I was supposed to fight Levens that night. I was watching the Jorge Oliveira/Levens fight in the other bracket of the tournament. Levens won the fight and that was who I wanted to fight because I thought I matched up real well against him. I ended up last minute finding out I was fighting Tate Fletcher and I didn’t know anything about him. I knew he trained with Eddie Bravo in jiu-jitsu so knew he would be good on the ground and heard he was scrappy standing up; not too powerful but he will throw his hands at you. I got the takedown on him and he did a good job at defending. I got a couple shots in on the ground and stood back up with him. That is when I caught him with a couple big shots.

KM: You got a KO around 3:55. You spent a total of about six minutes in WEC and emerged the champion. Do you remember what your feelings were at that time? SS: It was a dream come true, so overwhelming. That tournament was so hyped up and I was such the underdog going into it. On (another website’s) voting I had like 4% of the votes to win and I think a lot of that was my family and friends. The WEC is a pretty hyped up show. It was the biggest stage I fought on and everything I could ask for.

KM: You defended the belt two months later in January against Levens. Can you describe that fight? SS: It was kind of the same situation. He had fought for WEC five or six times and was undefeated. He is an exciting fighter and the fans he had basically thought he was unbeatable. Again I was the underdog even being the champion. I knew in my heart if I fought him ten times I better beat him ten times. I was pretty confident going in but more nervous at the same time because I had higher expectations for myself. In the tournament I knew I could go in there, have fun, act like it was a practice and see what happens. This one I knew I should win. I got caught, it went back and forth on the ground, and I ended up beating him how I wanted to beat him which is by knockout. Nobody thought I could knock him out. Just like the tournament I couldn’t ask for anything more.

KM: At the most recent WEC I thought you said you were giving up the belt. SS: That 205 belt. I’m fighting in the UFC at 185 so it would just make more sense to stay at 185. There are a couple guys that are going to be fighting in the WEC that will be training with us and they are big 205 pounders. We arte basically letting them come in. It just makes sense to stay at 185 and the 185 (WEC) belt is vacant so maybe I’ll have one fight at 185 and then a title fight.

KM: So even though you are in the UFC you are looking at returning to WEC? SS: I owe WEC two more fights. I think the way it is going to go, especially if I win this fight against Terrell, they will let me go back and fight once and buy my third fight. That is what I have been told. I think I’m fighting in the (WEC) “Cinco de Mayhem‿ show (May 5th) pending no injuries from the UFC.

KM: All your fights have ended in the first round. Inevitably people will wonder if you have the conditioning to go into later rounds, especially against someone who can control the pace like Terrell. What would you say to any doubters? SS: I have been non-stop training since that tournament, especially cutting this weight down to 185. I’m pushing myself harder now than I ever have. My treadmill workouts are double what I used to do, my rounds on mitts is longer…I’m really confident I can go a three-rounder at a high pace against Terrell.

KM: What are your thoughts on Terrell himself? SS: I think he is an excellent fighter. I think he deserved the title fight he got and if he has a couple more wins I don’t see why he wouldn’t get a title fight again. His standup is a lot better than people give him credit for. Obviously he knocked out Lindland but he has some nasty kicks and a powerful punch. He has an explosive takedown. I don’t want to get caught underneath him, that is no secret, and I’ve worked a ton on my back. I think if I’m on top of him his jiu-jitsu goes out the window when he gets hit. I’m just going to look into hitting him with some shots early on and slow him down, control the fight. He is a very hot-and-cold fighter. If you can slow him down I think he folds.

KM: Sponsors or people to thank? SS: Who helped me a lot is Full Contact Fighter. Since the tournament they have been there. Fairtex is huge giving me free training, my manager Mike at Rich’s Tire Barn. We owe him more than we can give him right now. Cal Worsham’s school and my Dad’s steel company Smith’s Steel Services.

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