7 Questions With Nick Baez

An active and interesting follow on Twitter, (@NickyB4Prez) I am delighted to resurrect my 7QuestionsWith series with a boxer who has not exactly had a traditional journey to the cusp of professionalism. The 30-year-old New Yorker has done some living and perhaps this experience will benefit him as he enters the world of professional boxing. 

Jack Shore: The Tank is Coming

Most professional MMA fighters dream of the day where they make the walk in the UFC for the very first time. It’s a goal that most have but not all will reach and it can be a long and very difficult path. For Wales’ Jack “Tank” Shore it has been far more clear cut as he has executed a perfect path to make it to the big stage. Going undefeated in eleven professional fights, headlining fight cards in Wales and building up a big fan following in the process, Shore hasn’t put a foot wrong yet and is now set to take the biggest step of his career after having his UFC debut announced.

Buddy McGirt: Looking Back

Quiet would be the wrong word to describe Buddy McGirt; he remains reserved while discussing his successes and is perfectly straight-talking when discussing the intricacies of the sport. Ahead of his induction to the International Boxing Hall of Fame this weekend, he spoke with perfect consideration as he rolled back the years and went back to where it all began - not to the level of a Chris Eubank, but instead you are left with the feeling that he just doesn’t waste a word; perhaps something that’s been developed during his time as a trainer, or instead it could just be the mark of a man that is happy enough, and has become used to standing in the background, while the fighters that he develops are allowed to take the plaudits for months of work in the gym.

Victor Morales: No Clichés

They say once you catch the buzz for boxing, there is no going back; Victor Morales told me ‘I did plenty of sports – I played baseball and basketball even before boxing, but I walked into the gym with my Dad in West Portland around 5 or 6 and started boxing at 7 and from there it’s been nothing else.

Shane Young: Fighting to Inspire

Hailing from Maraenui in Napier, Shane is most noted for being the first UFC fighter to walk to the octagon carrying the Tino rangatiratanga flag (a symbol of Māori sovereignty) and subsequently conducting his post-fight interview in Te Reo Māori – another first in the organization.

Ricky Simon: Living Outside of the Comfort Zone

After an unsatisfactory debut, Ricky Simon faced Montel Jackson (at short notice) back in August, but he again says he was not truly happy with his own performance. Despite having won both bouts and remaining unbeaten in the UFC, Simon hopes that it’ll be third time lucky in his own mind, and he’ll put on a display that he can be truly proud of this weekend, when he faces Rani Yahya at UFC234.

Alex Hernandez: No Looking Back

Some fighters like to re-watch their own contests several times (win or lose) and really dissect each performance, but in his own unique way, Hernandez explained why he isn’t the type to do so – ‘I don’t dwell on the past, whether it’s good or bad too much at all – I don’t really like to smell my own shit’

Tatiana Suarez: Her Own Worst Critic

When Tatiana Suarez dominated and defeated Carla Esparza at UFC228, the MMA world almost unanimously stood up and took notice. Having already defeated fellow prospect Alexa Grasso inside a round, Suarez took on a former Champion that had pushed perennial contender Claudia Gadelha to the brink and arguably should have got the nod only 3 months prior.

Ricardo Ramos: Mental Strength

Ricardo Ramos had just turned 14 when he first began training in the art of jiu-jitsu; he was introduced to the practice by a friend of his father and he explained that the gym let him train for free in exchange for helping out around the place with cleaning and other jobs where required.

Jesse Taylor: Ready to Go

Following the contrasting suspensions of Jon Jones and Fabricio Werdum, USADA have been in the news for all the wrong reasons as of late. It is worth noting though that for every case like the one with Jon Jones, there are many other fighters that have been unable to go through the process in the way that he has and have been left to accept what they believe to be an injustice.

Tyler Diamond: Kill or Be Killed

A featherweight showpiece will take place at UFC Fight Night: Adelaide with TUF27’s Tyler Diamond stepping into the octagon to face Suman Mokhtarian. Shortly before the fight was announced, SpitballingPod caught up with Tyler to reflect on his experience in the TUF house and his MMA journey so far.

Gerald Meerschaert: Fighting Smart

On July 6th, Gerald Meerschaert defeated highly touted prospect Oskar Piechota and claimed his 4th victory under the UFC banner (28-9 overall, 4-1 UFC).

‘It does feel nice to be the guy to be the decided underdog and then get the victory. I’d watched his fights previously, but I didn’t know he was this huge prospect until I spoke to all of the interviewers on fight week’ Meerschaert said, when speaking with SpitballingPod recently.

Cortney Casey: No Complaints

Cortney Casey steps into the UFC Fight Night 135 octagon tomorrow evening to square off against Angela Hill in a clash that promises to promote the victor back into contention at the top of the Straw Weight division.

SpitballingPod’s Brad Dobbing caught up with Casey to see how she is preparing to put a frustrating year behind her.

Eryk Anders: Tremendous Upside

‘I feel like if you go the distance then you should still always be hunting for the finish, my heart rate was barely up and I could’ve used cardio as a weapon’ – hindsight is a wonderful thing, and Eryk Anders left Brazil following his controversial loss to Lyoto Machida with the sense that he perhaps could have done more.

Alex Perez: No Backward Steps

Since I last spoke to Alex Perez, he has defeated Eric Shelton (who he called out in our last interview), returned to training and been scheduled to fight Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres as the featured bout on the Fight Pass prelims at UFC227 this weekend.

Anthony 'Fluffy' Hernandez: Open Season

If you were to see Anthony Hernandez now, you’d find it hard to believe that he once weighed 250lbs aged fifteen and earned the nickname ‘Fluffy’. Fast forward to now and he has just earned a UFC contract in spectacular fashion and has the world at his feet.

Ricky Simon: Prospect Killer

Back in April, 25 year old Ricky Simon travelled to Atlantic City to compete in his UFC debut as part of the undercard to Kevin Lee vs. Edson Barboza. At the end of 3 rounds, Simon emerged victorious in controversial circumstances, recording the latest submission victory in UFC history. In what should have been the happiest moment of his professional career, the night was blighted by the controversy surrounding the finish and Simon feeling like he didn’t fight to his fullest potential.

Stephen Thompson: Say Hello To The Bad Guy

Two weeks ago, I sat up at 2am hotly anticipating an arranged telephone interview with the UFC’s number one Welterweight Contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. As a long-time fan of Thompsons, we exchanged formalities to begin our conversation and I had been instantly captivated by the sheer charm of the 35 year old from South Carolina. At a time when trash talking is a formality, it was refreshing to hear someone remain true to themselves, particularly when the opposite characteristics have proven to be so successful with a certain contender that fights for an interim belt at UFC225.