Daniel Puder Q & A
Making the transition from
professional wrestler to mixed martial artist
is a very challenging task.
With his near submission
in a shoot match over Kurt Angle at a World
Wrestling Entertainment show, Daniel Puder immediately
made a big name for himself. Since leaving WWE
for MMA, Puder has looked very impressive in
amassing a perfect 5-0 record.
Now, Puder takes the next
step in his path to the top of the heavyweight
ranks as he takes on Richard Dalton (3-2-1).
The clash will take place at the Strikeforce
show on Saturday, September 29.
We recently caught with up
Puder to discuss multiple topics including what
happened in the Angle incident, how the changeover
from wrestling to MMA is going, and who he thinks
he’ll be fighting in the future.
Question: What are your thoughts
on your upcoming fight with Richard Dalton?
Daniel Puder: He’s
a brawler. He’s a big guy, and I’m
expecting him to come after me.
Q: Are you expecting this
to be a stand-up battle?
DP: He has a wrestling background
so I think he’ll do a little bit of both,
but it really doesn’t matter. I’m
going to out-strike him or out-wrestle him.
Q: How did the fight with
Dalton come about?
DP: People keep saying that
I asked for him, but I believe he asked for
me so - he’s going to get me. I believe
he said that he could beat Kurt Angle too.
Q: Speaking of Kurt Angle,
that is something you are pretty well known
for – the famous WWE incident where you
locked Angle up in a keylock while you were
trying out for WWE through WWE’s Tough
Enough. Can you elaborate a little bit on what
DP: Sure, Angle called me
out. He called everyone out. I was the only
one to have the guts to raise his hand so I
raised my hand. I went in there, and I keylocked
his *ss and made him look like an idiot in front
of the world. Now, he doesn’t want to
Q: After the incident was
over and the two of you were in the ring, it
looked like Angle was saying something to you.
What was he saying?
DP: He was pretty pissed.
He was saying that I couldn’t use submission
moves, and I said, “Well... yes, I can.
They said I could.” So he kind of went
off on me and wasn’t very happy. The whole
point of it was for Angle to look like a champ
and a star, and Vince (McMahon) thought he was
just going to run through everyone. Now, I just
want Angle to come and fight for Strikeforce
so we can fight and settle this, but he won’t
Q: Angle has made some mentions
that he may be interested in mixed martial arts.
Do you think he’s serious?
DP: Nah – he’s
just blowing smoke at this point. If he was
serious, he would have gotten into this a while
ago. I’ve challenged him multiple times.
I’ve even said that I would put up the
money I would be paid by the organization against
the money he would be paid by the organization,
and that’s pretty far to go. I’m
willing to do it, but he doesn’t have
the guts to get in there with me.
Q: How about the professional
wrestler switching over to MMA Brock Lesnar?
DP: I think he’s a
stud. I’ve never personally met him, but
I would love to train with him or maybe even
fight him in the future. From what I’ve
heard, he’s a great guy. I think he’ll
do very well in the sport.
Q: How would you compare
the pro wrestling locker room with the MMA locker
DP: Completely different.
MMA is much less political. You’re not
fighting in the same gym for the same spot.
There are many companies we compete at. Everyone
can get a spot with a different company. In
WWE, there is a lot of crap going on. Everyone
wants TV time, and they will do anything to
get it. There is a lot more camaraderie and
teamwork amongst MMA guys.
Q: Besides the locker room,
why choose MMA over wrestling? It would seem
that there would be less chance of injury with
DP: It’s actually not
as safe. Wrestling is harder on your body. You
get tossed more. There are 300 lb guys jumping
on you off the top rope or outside the ring.
There are so many things that can go wrong.
I’ve been there. In mixed martial arts,
I’ve never gotten injured. In pro wrestling,
I was way more beat up.
Q: How is the training going?
Are you training with American Kickboxing Academy
in San Jose?
DP: Yes, I’ve been
training at AKA and also at Cung Le’s.
I sparred with Chuck Liddell last week. I like
working with the top guys. I even sparred with
Rampage in the past. I like to see how the top
guys train so I can improve myself.
Q: Did you see Liddell’s
fight the other night?
DP: I didn’t see it,
but I heard that Chuck’s coach called
a few things. Liddell stuck to it, and he may
have lost the fight because of it. But I think
Liddell is a stud. He’ll come back if
he wants to.
Q: AKA has been on an incredible
run recently with Josh Tomson, Jon Fitch, and
DP: Yes – absolutely.
Bobby Southworth has done well. Phil Baroni
was up there for a while as well as Josh Koscheck.
Christian Wellisch is a heavyweight I like to
work out with. We’ve has so many good
guys up here.
Q: This upcoming fight is
with Strikeforce and promoted by Bodog. Are
you signed with Strikeforce?
DP: Yes, I have an eighteen
month deal for six fights with Strikeforce.
This will be my first fight with Strikeforce.
Q: Has Strikeforce given
you a plan for the next eighteen months?
DP: It’s one fight
at a time right now, but we are looking at potentially
Bob Sapp or Kimbo Slice down the line. I’d
like to fight both those guys. I brought up
Bob Sapp and Strikeforce mentioned Kimbo. They’re
both big boys. People like to see me knock out
the big boys so it should be good.
Q: What will you be weighing
in at for this fight?
DP: I’ll weigh in at
about 225. I’m leaner than I was in the
past. I’ve trained a lot harder. I feel
a lot better than I ever have.
Q: For your long term plans
- do you have designs on ever fighting in the
DP: I don’t know. Strikeforce
takes great care of me. It’s a very good
company. They’re doing what I want. Who
knows what will happen down the line.
Q: Another interesting thing
you have is your own website – www.danielpuder.com
– what can fans expect to see there?
DP: It’s real interesting
there. I’ve hired a full-time guy about
a month ago to really make the site good. We
have a big competition on there. We’re
giving free stuff out. You can get new pictures
and new videos. It’s going great.
Q: Well, I’d like to
thank you for a few minutes of your time. Any
DP: I’d just
like to say that I appreciate everyone, and
I would really like to thank everyone for watching
and for their support.