I can’t let the pressure to win control me.
Interview by: AJ Hoffman
Brian Melancon is still the top ranked welterweight in the Houston rankings, though he hopes that isn’t the case for much longer. After losing a heartbreaking, and horrible, decision to Ike Vallie-Flagg at his Strikeforce debut in Dallas, Melancon is ready for his chance at redemption. He takes on the unbeaten Felipe Portela at Strikeforce Challengers 19 tomorrow night on Showtime. I had the chance to talk to him shortly after weigh ins to get his thoughts on the upcoming match, and what a win, or a loss, would mean to his career.
Melancon: I feel really good. I came in lighter than I normally do because I knew I was going to have to do some press today, so I came in at 180 lbs. 24 hours out, which is 3-4 lbs. less than I normally come in. I have already put a gallon of fluids in and now I am on an IV. I will be feeling really good in about an hour.
TCD: You mentioned that you just got done taking a piss test because they are random drug testing now. What do you think brought the change on?
Melancon: I think it’s because the UFC bought them out. They are trying to clean up the sport. I am glad they are doing it. I think a lot of people have been using performance enhancers and have not worried about getting caught outside the UFC, but I think it’s good they are randomly testing. Hopefully it cleans up some cheaters, but the reality is that now a days the cheaters are usually ahead of the tests.
TCD: What do you know about this opponent? How do you think you match up?
Melancon: He likes to stand up. He has some good Jiu-Jitsu though. He likes to kick, but he doesn’t deal well with pressure. He doesn’t have great boxing or wrestling. He is a decent counter puncher. I am gonna try and get inside the range of his kicks, which is in my range to light him up. and hopefully take him out.
TCD: I talked to you a few weeks ago and you said you still watch your fight with Vallie-Flagg every day. Is that still the case? How did that loss effect you mentally?
Melancon: I don’t watch it every day anymore, but I still watch it. It effected me more than I ever thought it would. Every time I watch it I feel like I won, and it just hurts. I questioned if it was worth still doing this if stuff like that was going to end up deciding the outcome in the end. You just put in so much hard work to get into that cage and to get that fight, and then it is kind of stolen from you. Of course everyone says, don’t leave it in the hands of the judges. At this level, you are gonna fight guys who are tough and hard to finish, so you can’t always keep it out of the judges hands. I kept training hard though, and just had to find the motivation to push through.
TCD: What did you take from it and what will change about your style?
Melancon: I am going to try and control my destiny from now on and try and finish all my fights. I know you can’t finish every fight, but I am definitely going to try from now on. I am not going to come out crazy, like I did in the Schindler fight, but I am going to come out controlled. Controlled, but extremely aggressive.
TCD: Do you feel like the pressure on you is cranked up for this fight with the loss in that one?
Melancon: No. Like I said, I had to remember why I do this. I can’t let the pressure to win control me because this is more of a hobby than a job for me. Without fighting I can still eat. So if it’s not fun, why do it. am just trying to look at it like that and not put any added pressure on myself. I am competitive, so obviously I want to win, but I am not going to let that cloud hang over me.
TCD: What has been different so far fighting for Zuffa?
Melancon: Knowing who your opponent is going to be. Last time was an exception, taking a fight on short notice, but with Zuffa you know a good while in advance who you are going to fight and when you are going to fight. It takes out a lot of the wondering. Once you are on a card you are pretty much set.
TCD: What have you been told about the future of Strikeforce?
Melancon: Nothing. They don’t really pass much information on to us. I know they have two cards left on the Showtime deal. I know what I read on the internet. If Showtime renews they keep Strikeforce alive I guess. The writing kind of seems on the wall. Most of the champs from Strikeforce are in the UFC now. I think most of the guys are transitioning that way. Hopefully if Strikeforce isn’t around down the road, I have been a part of that transition.
TCD: Is it tough fighting out in Vegas? You dealing with the distractions OK?
Melancon: For me it’s not a big deal at all. I will play some poker after the fight. I don’t have an issue with distractions before the fight at all. I am 100% focused on the fight right now.
TCD: As I work on my rankings for the 3rd quarter, the 170 lb. division is as strong as ever. Yourself, Mike Bronzoulis, Macaco, Spratt, Rexroad, Todd Moore. How do you rank the top welterweights in Houston?
Melancon: Man, that’s a tough question. 1A, 1B and 1C is myself, Jeff Rexroad and Mike Bronzoulis, in any order. It isn’t my job to do the rankings, that is your job. Honestly, as much as I appreciate you guys doing that, I look forward to the day I fall off the rankings, because that means I am still fighting nationally.
TCD: Anyone you want to thank?
Melancon: All of my training partners and teammates at Paradigm. We have the best team in the city and we have proven it time and again. Thank God for blessing me in life with the people and the things that have been given to me in life. ShopMrWireless.com, who is my main sponsor. My manager Mickey Dubberly for getting me into Strikeforce. Also thanks to you guys at thecagedoor.net. I really believe what you and Barry have done with that site has played a big hand in getting the word out on myself, Mike B., Todd Moore, Adam Schindler, probably Andrew Craig soon. I really appreciate what you guys do. (Thanks Brian!)