“I know he’s a tough opponent but he’s not tough like me…losing is just not an option”
Interview by: Lance Edwards
As the Legacy Amateur Series February 18 House of Blues event approaches, the conversation about the match-up between Austin Franks and Cody Phillips is heating up. How much of it is media hype and how much of it is fighter hype is unclear, but one thing is for certain, there is no love lost between these two. I took the opportunity to catch up with Austin and get his take on the whole thing. I also wanted to find out a bit more about his training and where this bad blood comes from.
Austin: I feel really good, I’ve never ever trained this hard before, I used to go out and party coming up to fights, but this time I’ve done a good job of cutting all that out. I’ve been running everyday, sparring everyday, I’ve never taken my training as seriously as I do now.
TCD: Has Cody Phillips comments affected you at all?
Austin: I don’t really care what anybody thinks about me, they can think I’m the scum of the earth and it doesn’t really matter. He might say everyone hates me, but my friends like me, the people who matter to me like me. I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to fight. I’m here to fight people, not about the other stuff.
TCD: You said you’ve been preparing, how have you been doing that?
Austin: I do a lot of boxing with my friends at Legends, especially with Danny Delahondro, he really knows his stuff, and works with the commission. He’s a great boxing coach. The Martinez brothers are successful amateur fighters, and I’ve been doing a lot with them and my friends Rusty and Antonio Flores.
TCD: You train at Gracie Barra as well right?
Austin: That’s right, everyone there has been really helping me. Alex Morano, Todd Moore, Chad [Robichaux], and then there’s Kru Ali, he’s a great Muay Thai coach.
TCD: How do you see the fight going?
Austin: Stuff can go either way in a fight, but there’s a big difference between me and Cody Phillips. He’s not like me, I don’t know him personally, I know people who know him, and they’ve told me about him. I’ve been fighting my whole life. I know he’s a tough opponent but he’s not tough like me. I feel really confident I’m going to win, losing is just not an option. It’s funny, he took a fight two to three weeks after ours, and he’s taking it way too easy. He said no-one knows who I am but I fought Alex Black and it was a draw. They said I soccer kicked him when he was on the ground, but I didn’t. I also beat Lee Higgins whose in Strikeforce. I know my style will be a hard matchup for him.
TCD: When did you start training?
Austin: Well I started wrestling at twelve, with Spring Klein Wrestling, I was second in the state. I saw some UFC and Pride on T.V. and thought it was cool and started doing some Jiu-Jitsu with Travis Tooke, way back when it was in his garage. I never really got good, and I never really remembered much of it at that time. I fell off training martial arts for a long time and was just lifting weights seriously for that period; I was a really avid weight lifter.
When I was sixteen, I went to Revolution Dojo and started training with Lewis Woods. When I turned twenty I went to Rocky Long’s gym. Rocky got me my first smoker. I didn’t prepare and finished the fight fast. I also had a smoker against Charlie Whitbeck of 4oz, it was tough, He’s good and weighed a lot more than me.
The whole time I’ve been fighting I had a horrible shoulder injury, which I’ve had in all my fights. I had to stop fighting all of 2010 to get it back to 100%. It’s fully healed now, which is great. You know I went to train with team Alpha Male. Those guys were awesome and actually really nice. I know people think Nate Diaz isn’t a nice guy, but he was really nice the whole time, and not how people think.
Austin: Yes, I’ll fight this fight and go and have a couple of boxing fights, and then turn pro.
TCD: Anyone you’d like to thank or anything you’d like to say?
Austin: Well I’d like to thank all my friends and family, and everyone who supports me, especially my training partners; Chad Robo, Charles Lloyd, Marcus Dupar, Todd Moore, Levi Forrest, Kru Ali, Alex Morano, Cesar Martinez, Noey Martinez, Rusty McShan, Antonio Flores and everyone else.
As for the bad blood thing, I don’t know this guy, and the bad mouthing is a bit silly to be honest. If he’d met me before he’d made an opinion about me, we’d have probably got along, but I doubt that will happen now. I’m just excited to weigh-in and eat some food.
TCD: Good luck, and we look forward to seeing the fight.