Interview: Brandon McDowell

“I think if I can get the fight to the ground, I should have an advantage.”

Brandon McDowell

Interview by: Eric Hostetter

To say that Brandon McDowell is a veteran fighter would be somewhat of an understatement.  After all, this Saturday October 16, 2010 when he climbs into the cage to face Antonio Flores for the IXFA 170lb title it will be his 80th professional fight.  Brandon has a deep rooted background in MMA that goes back to the infancy of this sport. He was friends and trained with the late Evan Tanner (former UFC Middleweight Champion). Having this strong pedigree, Brandon is a warrior in every fight in the cage and will always be one to bring it when the bell rings. How did you get started in MMA?

Brandon Mcdowell: I started wrestling when I was young and after my freshman year in college, I came home and met up with my long time friend, and former UFC Middleweight Champion, Evan Tanner. He called me up needing someone to train with him for a no holds barred match in New Mexico. I agreed to train with him and did nothing but wrestling. However, we also watched a lot of Gracie and Bas Rutten instructional dvds, and we would then go to the gym to try that stuff out. So basically we taught ourselves MMA.

Back then (1998), events were 8-man pyramids with 2 divisions, 200 lbs and over and 200 lbs and under. On the way there (New Mexico), I got a phone call asking me if I would like to fight at the event because someone had dropped out. I said, “Sure”, even though I was mainly going to corner for Evan. But I fought and won three times that night and have been doing it ever since. That’s great that you were able to train with Evan Tanner. How did you meet?

Brandon: Evan was quite a bit older than me, I think by 7 years or so. I use to wrestle at a United Way Club. He would volunteer to coach there at that club and we became friends as I got older. He helped me all the way up until I got into high school and we remained friends ever since.  Did you play/participate in any other sports before getting into MMA?

Brandon: I just played a little bit of football up until my freshman year in high school, and then I got into cross country running and continued to do that through college. Well that explains you having a pretty good gas tank! Here is a little off beat question. Austin City Limits was this past weekend, and since you train in Austin, were you able to go and have a little fun at the festival?

Brandon: I was able to get out there for a little bit. I went out there on Friday night after training, and again on Saturday. It was awesome. Any particular bands or shows that really enjoyed seeing?

Brandon: Gogol Bordello, they were incredible, and The Muse was also awesome. Are you more of a fan of live music or just listening to music off an album?

Brandon: I am just a big fan of music. With live music, I just love the energy. It really is the same as an MMA event. The raw energy and the roar of the crowd just isn’t the same as listening to it on a CD, for music, or watching a UFC even on TV. It’s just a different feel. I try to go to concerts as much as I can. What kind of concerts do you like to go to?

Brandon: I’m a country boy. I do love country. I love a lot of metal type stuff like punk. I am not a fan though of anger music, but I do love 80’s hair bands. Poison, Bon Jovi, you name it, I listen to them.

On a further note, my nickname is “Boom Box”. The reason why I am called that is because when I train I’ll have the music blaring while I am there. We have XM radio at the gym and I always have it on Hair Nation and challenge the other guys at my gym to submit me so that they can earn the right to change the station. Hilarious! Alright let’s get back on track here. Would you rather have, fight of the night or submission of the night honors?

Brandon: Submission of the night. Sub of the night or knockout of the night?

Brandon: Knockout of the Night, since I have never had one. I’ve had many submission of the night honors, but it would be nice to have knockout of the night honors. I do have some knockouts on my record, but none that were “glamorous”. Who are your favorite fighters? It can be local fighters or fighters up on the big stage.

Brandon: Evan Tanner before he passed. Tim Kennedy, I love his tenacity and the pressure that he brings in every single one of his matches. Mayhem Miller, not so much what he does outside of the cage, but I like the way he fights. Carlos Condit; I like fighters that are well rounded fighters that can come up with crazy submission. I really like fighters like that. Without tipping your hand too much, how have you prepared for this title fight against Antonio Flores?

Brandon: I see this fight being the classic matchup of grappler/wrestler vs boxer. I know that he is an accomplished boxer that has some fast, loaded hands. Whoever can keep the fight in their comfort zone is going to win. I think if I can get the fight to the ground, I should have an advantage. That’s not taking anything away from Antonio, it’s just that I believe in my game and it’s my strong suit. Do you feel any extra pressure coming into this fight, since this is a title fight?

Brandon: No, not really because I’ve been here before, this is my 80th professional fight. I’ve had many title shots.  I’ve won some and lost some along the way so I know what this feels like. I put a lot of pressure on myself anyways, regardless of the fight. Every fight is important. You are getting into a cage with a guy that wants to bash your head in. So really don’t feel any more pressure in this match, than any other match

TDCnet: Is there anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?

Brandon: I would like to thank my main sponsor Unrivaled Fight Gear, my gym Competitive Training Center here in Austin, Texas. I’d also like to give thanks and props to my coaches Elton Wells, Dylan Ali, and Tim Kennedy. Jason, Rocky, Tony, and Kyle, I want to thank those guys too! Well Brandon, thank you for your time and best of luck to you in your title match.

Brandon: Thanks and thanks for the interview.