We asked former UFC star Norman Parke some questions before his first fight since leaving the UFC. He fights in Glasgow on October 1st for the ACB.
You fight on October 1st at ACB 47 against Andrew Fisher. How has your preparation been going for the bout?
Yes preparations have been going great. I’ve made a few changes to my training by going back to my Judo roots and doing more wrestling. After my last fight in the UFC against the elite Russian wrestler (Rustam Khabilov) I didn’t put the wrestling in that I should have so it was a mistake on my behalf, so I’m brushing up on it this time.
On paper you have a far superior record to Fisher. How do you rate Andrew Fisher as a fighter?
Yes I know Andrew, he’s been around the game a long time so he’s got lots of experience, we actually were meant to fight a about 6 years ago on the old “Strike n Submit” show in Newcastle but he got injured.
Has life changed at all for you since leaving the UFC?
My personal life has changed in some ways but everything else is just the same.
You had a record of 5-3-1 in the UFC and many were surprised to see you leave the organisation. Could you explain the process of how you left the UFC?
At the start I was a a little surprised as I always accepted every fight I was offered with no hesitation – but I do admit that my last few performances weren’t what I was capable of, even against the top guys I was never out of place and some could argue I could be 7-2 in the highest organisation in the world. People think it’s the end of your career when you leave the UFC but I have a lot of options to fight all over the world in some other promotions. I’ve got a pretty decent following so I have the option to pick who and where now. I recently saw 2 Bellator Lightweights move to the UFC and 2 Lightweights move to Bellator, I would have no problem at all stepping in the against the likes of Michael Chandler, Pitbull or Benson Henderson. We’ll see what happens over the next 4 months, I’m looking for 4 fights by the end of the year then wait until the New Year and see what happens.
Did you get to speak with Dana White?
I talked with Joe Silva for a little while and then Lorenzo Fertitta. They just said to get some good wins and they will look to bring me back, and also that many fighters have gone and came back – Tim Means, Robbie Lawler, Peter Sobotta, the list goes on. My main focus is to get some good wins against guys outside of the UFC and go back when I feel ready again. There is a lot more than just fighting in this game, there is the mental aspect of the game which is a huge part, then the physical and technical side, everything has to be on point when you face the tougher opposition. Wrestling, grappling and striking, I remember being 16-1 with 15 finishes before the UFC but looking back I wasn’t completely ready. The Ultimate Fighter show gave me lots of experience, it’s a lot harder to finish guys at a higher level especially if they are tough strong wrestlers.
Do you have any bad feelings towards the UFC?
I don’t have any bad feeling at all, it’s business at the end of the day. I will go away, get some momentum again and get back in there. Once I make a few adjustments I’ll be back where I belong.
Where do you see yourself fighting in the coming 12 months?
Not too sure where I’ll be in the next 12 months I never look that far. I take each day as it comes, like a dog just live in the moment. Ha.
The Lightweight division has always been one of the most stacked and dangerous in MMA. Where do you rank yourself against the elite #15 guys?
If some decisions had went my way and I got the fights that were meant to happen (Diego Sanchez, Jorge Masvidal) we could be having a whole different conversation here. I was floating just outside the top 15 in 2014. I could fight any of them and not be one bit out of place.
What did you make of the whole CM Punk fiasco?
CM punk had the balls to step in there, of course he is huge in the world of WWE and a big inspiration to people who watch it, but he stepped out of his comfort zone and gave it a shot in the ultimate sport of MMA. I have respect for anyone who steps in there.
What upcoming fights are you most excited for?
I’m really looking forward to the Rockhold v Jacare 2 fight, also the Michael Johnson v Poirier fight is a good one. Hall v Bronson is going to be explosive.
If you could play Matchmaker and put ONE fight together for a mega-event, what fight would you put together?
If I had one fight I’d love to see my favourite fighter Cain Velasquez v Stipe Miocic for the HW belt in New York. Also I’d love to see dana white v Vince McMahon main event New York TLC fight!!
And finally, do you FeelTheTip?
NO!! But, this hot blonde here sure does
Thanks Norman and all the best for the coming months.
Norman would also like to thank his sponsors for his upcoming fight on October 1st:
Garden of Life.
The Gentry Barbers.