Change of opponents? I’m ready

It’s never easy switching from one opponent to another, but you work it out. I was supposed to be fighting another fighter next Saturday at UFC 130, but now I’m fighting Matt Hamill at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and am ready to go to war.

Thiago Silva was my original opponent, but he was later pulled from the fight and then replaced by Hamill. So, basically, I went from focusing on an aggressive Muay Thai striker to a strong wrestler.

Maybe that is big difference in style to a lot of people, but I’ve been used to this kind of thing throughout my career and have always been able to adapt. When I fought in PRIDE tournaments in Japan, you would never know which guy you’d end up facing and you’d have to be prepared for all kind of styles. Sometimes I had like a few days notice in PRIDE, and I was younger and very raw. It was a different era back then.

When I fought in PRIDE, sometimes we didn't know who we'd face until the last minute.
(Getty Images)

Silva would have been a great fight for me, as he’s a guy who likes to stand and bang and doesn’t mind getting a little dirty in there. He probably would have slugged it out with me up close until I caught him on the jaw and knocked him clean out. I’m sure it would have been an exciting fight for as long as it lasted.

Hamill can sometimes stand and trade and other times likes to go to the ground and use his wrestling. He’s hurt a few guys with his hands and power, but his main thing is definitely his wrestling.

So, Hamill has stood and traded with some guys in his career, but I am sure he knows it is bad for his health if he does that next week! For real! I’ve trained for all areas – but I just want it to be exciting. I think he will try and take me down and I’m ready for him to avoid striking with me at all costs.

I’m under no pressure to get a knockout, but I always try for the knockout. I have kept that mentality from PRIDE, where it was more important to have a great fight than win or lose. I would never criticize any fighter but at the end of the day, this is entertainment, and I want to give the fans what they paying their money for. This is the career I chose – fighting – and so let’s fight.

I’m not the first guy from the Wolfslair camp to go up against Hamill. My ‘mate’ Mike Bisping faced and defeated Hamill in 2007. Those two guys put on a really exciting fight for three rounds, and Bisping just edged it. Some people saw it as controversial, but I personally thought Mike just about edged it. That was a good night for us because also on the UFC 75 show in London I beat Dan Henderson to become the first ever undisputed champion of both UFC and PRIDE. If you look up in history who was the first ever undisputed champion, there will be a picture of me.

I’ve been lucky enough to have Mike training out here with me in California, and it’s always great to work with him again. As well as being a great fighter, Mike is also very good at breaking down fights and giving advice.

He has been in there already with Hamill, so he knows what the guy is all about. Mike also is a little crazy, there’s something a little wrong with him, ‘cause he likes training and getting all sweaty. That guy loves working out, I try to tell him there’s better things to do, but he don’t listen. I’ve never seen anyone train as hard as Bisping. He’s the opposite of me, he finds it easy to push himself to train. But he’s good to have around because he is fun to be around and works hard too. Mike helped me out a lot and he’s a great teammate.

Right now I got to go back to filming the “In the Moment” show for Spike TV, which you all will see next week.

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Updated Friday, May 20, 2011