Interview: Alex Cisne

“I love all the martial arts. It would be hard to pick a favorite. It’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child.”

Alex Cisne

Written By: AJ Hoffman

Alex Cisne will be a very busy man over the next few months. The Gracie Barra-Katy product will be on the nationally televised Shark Fights 14 card this Friday (March 11) before coming back to Houston to fight for Legacy on April 9th. We caught up with him to discuss both fights, and which style of martial arts is his favorite. So you are spending the week up in Lubbock. How has it been training up there away from the modern world?

Alex: [laughs] I have been up here a lot before. My Sanshou coach is up here, Yi-Yuan Lee. I have trained up here with him quite a bit. He is a great game planner when it comes to striking, so he is helping me put together the plan for my match up here. Ted Stickel, my jiu jitsu coach from Gracie Barra- Katy will be up here soon. It has been a good camp. Tell me a little about Gracie Barra-Katy.

Alex: It used to be Westside MMA. Man, it is the Barbie Dream House of MMA schools. That place is gorgeous. I have some good training partners there in Terrence Ferguson and Patrick Bierschwale. I also teach all the kickboxing classes there and I teach a BJJ class on Fridays. What is your base fighting style?

Alex: Sanshou. I discovered it at 17 years old. I have been doing some kind of martial arts my whole life, but that is probably what I am best known for. I am the National Champion for the 4th consecutive year and I am the Pan Am Champion currently. How does it translate to MMA?

Alex: I think all striking styles translate nicely, but because Sanshou allows for throws and takedowns, it gives me a little bit of an advantage. I am used to having guys try to take me down, and I have some experience taking guys down. I think it is one of the more solid striking bases you can have. Is Sanshou your passion, considering how successful you have been with it?

Alex: I love it, but martial arts in general are my passion. Sanshou gave me a name, but I love BJJ. I love MMA too. I love all the martial arts. It would be hard to pick a favorite. It’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child. What fight sticks out to you the most on your resume right now?

Alex: You always remember the losses. I fought a guy named Robert McDaniel. I fought up a weight class. I was in shape and ready to go for 170, and my opponent pulled out. They offered me the main event at 185. I weighed in at 182 or something, but it was a big opportunity. He was a brown belt in BJJ and I was a blue belt. I was good against the takedown, but he got me down once and he was just better than me on the ground. I didn’t take any real damage, but I had a hard time getting back up, and the ref ended up stopping it. It was also an outdoor fight in the desert. It was very hot and it was kind of draining.You learn a lot from a loss. I have watched that one 15 times and worked on the things I did wrong to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Before your last fight, you had about a two year break in your fight resume. Why the time off?

Alex: I had to take some time off. I broke my arm in March of 2009. I was doing a lot of Sanshou at the time. I got invited to compete in the King of Sanda tournament, which is a really prestigious tournament, but it is an open weight tournament. I won my first match against a guy who was about my size. My second opponent was probably a full two weight classes bigger than me. He threw a kick. I blocked it, but the force was just too much and it broke my arm. I made it back in time for the National Championships in July. My arm wasn’t fully healed. I have built up a bit of a name in that sport, so people tend to duck my weight class, so I wasn’t going against the more experienced guys. I won without throwing a left punch the entire time. I just needed to let my arm heal up some more. When did this opportunity with Shark Fights come up?

Alex: I found out a couple of months ago. I got an offer from them, but it just wasn’t enough money. The matchmaker is the same guy I fought for in King of the Cage, and he knows I put on a good show when I fight. So we worked on the money a little bit, and got the deal done. I am excited to fight on television. What do you think of your opponent? He has a lot of experience against some top guys, including Matt Hughes.

Alex: Yeah. My opponent is Eric Davila. He is good, and he definitely has a lot of experience. I don’t think his style matches up very well with mine though. I see myself giving him a lot of problems. I don’t have that many MMA fights, but I have been competing in martial arts all over the world for a really long time. His experience doesn’t intimidate me at all. So after the Shark Fights card, you have to head back down to Houston and start getting ready for April 9th and Legacy. Does having two fights so close together change the way you approach the fight?

Alex: Injuries are obviously a concern, and they can happen to anyone. I need to just be careful and not break my hand or something stupid like that. The concern is always in the back of your head, but you always have to go out there hoping for the best and laying it all on the line. Talk about your opponent for the Legacy fight.

Alex: I am fighting Cleburn Walker. He is a really big guy. He probably walks around at about 205 or so. He has fought at 185, so obviously he is bigger than I am. From a skill level perspective, I think I have him beat. I am definitely the better striker, and I think I outrank him in jiu jitsu. Size is really the only department I see him having an advantage in. What are your long term goals in the sport?

Alex: Like everyone else I guess. I would love to fight for the UFC eventually. I think I have the ability. That is definitely the goal. Shoot for the top.

Alex would like to thank his sponsors – Man Up Fightwear, Boo-Yaa Fightwear, Campbell’s Compounding, Gracie Barra- Katy and United Martial Arts