Interview: Brian Melancon

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“Anyone that I have ever fought says how strong I have felt to them and how hard that I hit”

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Brian Melancon

Interview and Photos by: Richard Burmaster

Many times we have all heard that Brian Melancon is a big 155lber. Unless you have stood next to him than you have no idea just how big Brian really is. I’m not sure what his walking weight was the day of the interview but mixed in with some middleweights and some welterweights during his sparring session at Paradigm , Brian was still the biggest guy in the room.  The sounds the pads made when Brian hit them were unlike any I had heard from a lightweight before. The only comparision I can make is Sean Sherk in the UFC. Don’t be fooled by Brians size, he is more than just a brawling power puncher, Brian is very technical and has a chin that can take a beating. This weekend Brian will step up against his biggest challenge yet, WEC and Dream vet Todd Moore. TCD was able to interrupt his training for a few minutes to talk with Brian.

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TCD.net: How did you get started in MMA?

Brian Melacon: Man I watched UFC 3, where Kimo fought Royce when I was 12 years old. Right then I knew that I wanted to do that, but I was from a small town that didn’t have anywhere to train. But, I was really into weightlifting, and I was 220 lbs for awhile, but then I hurt my shoulder and really couldn’t do it anymore… and this was when I was getting my master’s degree in physical therapy at UTMB, and I couldn’t work out anymore. So I was like, “You know what! I am going to go get some instructional and start teaching myself and friends, and just go from there.”

I did that for a couple of months, and then I joined Metro and entered a grappling tournament 2 weeks later and won. There was another one a week later and won again, it all just started to snowball from there.

TCD.net: Did you play any other kind of sports before getting into MMA?

Brian: I played baseball and recreational power lifting on my own, but I have always been really competitive. I just always wanted to compete in pretty much anything. I don’t like to lose at anything whether its tiddlywinks or card games or whatever! So that is what this (MMA) is all about really. It’s just competition, I just love to compete.

TCD.net: You mentioned that you were a power lifter. How difficult was it to go from being a power lifter to become a lightweight fighter?

Brian: Very hard, very hard. I use to be 220 lbs before I came into the gym (Metro). I was probably as strong as I could ever be, but I had absolutely no cardio. I mean literally boxing, focus mitts, for 30 seconds and I would be dead! I couldn’t breathe anymore! So it was really hard, I don’t even lift weights anymore because of my natural body weight is a bit heavier than this. So for me to walk around light enough for me to cut to 155 lbs, I have to be really strict on my diet and I have to train twice a day in order to make that cut.

TCD.net: That is just crazy that you have all of this anaerobic power, but it all means nothing when it comes to the aerobic side of things.

Brian: It was definitely an eye opener, plus I was the type that hated to run… If I ran a lap, I would sound like I was having an asthma attack at the end of it. Cardio was the farthest thing from my mind. So it has been tough, but it has been a great challenge.

TCD.net: So do you feel with your background in power lifting, giving you high anaerobic strength, and now that you have been increasing your cardio, and making aerobic gas tanking better. Do you feel that it gives you an advantage over your opponents?

Brian: Definitely I would say that it has helped. Anyone that I have ever fought is that how strong I have felt to them and then how hard that I hit. I think that comes being that heavier person and being strong at that weight. And now that is pretty naturally inherent on the way that I move and fight. I definitely think that it has helped a lot.

TCD.net: So would you say that your power lifting background and weighing heavier earlier in your life sets you apart from other fighters in your weight class?

Brian: Yes. The strength factor is a big plus. I’ve been all around to different gyms with UFC fighters and sparred with them. At 155 lbs I would say that am one of the the strongest guys in that weight class.

TCD.net: Did you train at any other gyms before coming here to Paradigm?

Brian: While I was in PT school, I trained at Guy Mezger’s Lions Den for about 6 weeks, and then when I came back to Houston I joined Metro.

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TCD.net: Since you came here to Paradigm, what brought you here from Metro?

Brian: First I wanted to get more technical in my wrestling. So I had talked to George Parker, who is one of the owners here at Paradigm, over a year and a half ago, before Paradigm was even opened. I think it was two years now, but before that I went to Episcopal to work on some wrestling with some of the assistant coaches over there. Followed that up, after some of injuries, with George again, and he told me that he had this gym over here, and started working with Barry, Reed, Thomas, and Gordon…all of those guys here before I was ever at Metro to supplement my wrestling. So whenever my team decided to split, I was already here.

TCD.net: Who are your favorite fighters? Do you model your gameplan/style after them?

Brain: The favorite on the big stage, it is kind a ironic, since he just lost, Fedor. However, I was the biggest fan of Igor Vovchanchyn actually. He was the guy in the Pride days, that was just a little butter ball, 5’8, knocking out guys that are 6’4″ 260-270 lbs. And back then I looked like Igor Vovchanchyn so it was cool to me! Igor is one of my all time favorites. He is not afraid, doesn’t care how big you are. I’m coming after you and trying to knock your head into next week.

TCD.net: Would you say that you model your gameplan that way?

Brain: Do I do it purposefully? I don’t really think so. But does it happen? Yeah. If you watch my fight, yeah it is pretty similar.

I’m not the most technical guy. I try to get more technical, but when you are in there you are just reacting. You are just going off of what you feel and how you trained. Those elements are definitely plays into my fights.

TCD.net: I know this a tad bit out of recent pop culture and it is a chance loosen up from the serious talk, but still dive into your mind a little bit. Who is the better “Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio or Jaeden Smith?

Brian: Ralph Macchio. SWEEP THE LEG! That’s all I gotta say.

TCD.net: Ralph Macchio or Hillary Swank as the “Karate Kid”?

Brian: Hillary Swank?? When was she the “Karate Kid”?

TCD.net: The fourth one bro!

Brian: Oh! Never seen that one! I’m not on your knowledge of “Karate Kid” knowledge so I am going to have to go with Macchio again, but she did great in “Million Dollar Baby”. Her boxing skills would take him out.

TCD.net: Would you laugh your ass off if someone really did try to do the Crane Kick in the cage?

Brian: It would be hilarious. If anyone would do it, it would be Jonathan Ivey.

TCD.net:  He did do it!

TCD.net: Alright, here are another two choices to pick from Fight of the Night or Submission of the Night?

Brian: That’s a tough one. I would have to say Fight of the Night. When I was an amateur, I didn’t have much of a stand up other than stand there, get punched, and swing back… which is not the greatest. Most of my matches ended in submission, which was great. Don’t get me wrong, but I always wanted that award to entertain the fans, the one particular fight that everybody liked.

I was really big into Pride and that was one thing that Japanese people really appreciated a little more, is that when you go out there and pour your heart out into a match and you are not afraid. Not this, “Oh let me save my face”-type of fight like a Floyd Mayweather or an Anderson Silva. Just get in there and let it go. I like that. I like to watch it.

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TCD.net: Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night?

Brian: Knockout of the Night. Don’t get me wrong, maybe both! Getting into a war is great for the fans, but they are just as happy to see somebody unconscious

TCD.net: We both agree a win is a win correct?

Brian: A win is a win.

TCD.net: What would be your most picturesque/ideal win?

Brian: For selfish reasons a 6 second knock out. But for a fight of the night, a back and forth war that ended with me getting the knockout on my opponent. That would be the best.

TCD.net: Your Bellator Match with Adam Schindler started off as an absolute slugfest. Was that your intention going into it?

Brian: I knew that he was a little wild on his feet, and he is a wrestler. And with my injuries leading up to it, I really didn’t trust my cardio. So I felt like I had to just knock him out as my best bet.

TCD.net: How stunned were you in the beginning of the 1st round when Adam Schindler caught you with a left straight to the temple?

Brian:  I’ve watched the video a 100 times. It was more like I was coming into it for a takedown and the punch wobbled me, but when I was there it did not feel like that.

TCD.net: What did you learn from that fight?

Brian: I learned to not swing for the fences and go for the KO all of the time, but to put punches together and be more technical. I also learned to sharpen up my wrestling and I’ve been working on both of them.

TCD.net: Tell us about your matchup with Todd Moore.

Brian: I respect Todd a lot. He is one of the best fighters here in Houston. He has gone on to do bigger things, such as Dream and the WEC. I look at it as competition for me, it is nothing personal. I signed this fight before the Bellator fight as a test for me against someone that one of the best here in Houston. Who better test yourself against to see how if you are actually there (on the same level or better). This is a true test.

TCD.net: How will your fight with Todd Moore fight?

Brian: I think it is going to be everywhere. I think we are going to stand up, I think he is not afraid. I know I am not afraid. Neither one of us is going to break. It is just going to be an all out war. On the feet… on the ground… there will be shots taken, scrambles, wrestling, all kinds of punches, everything thrown. I think it is going to be an exciting fight.

TCD.net: Do you feel any pressure in being in the main event fight of the evening?

Brian: Not really at all. This is something that is great. There is no pressure on me. The pressure is more on him; he is one of the best in the state. I look at it as a test for me to see where I am. If I lose, then I lose and I’ll learn from it. There is no pressure.

TCD.net: So would see that this is more like a challenger vs. champion type of match. You are the challenger and Todd is the champion.

Brian: Most certainly. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

TCD.net: Would you ever fight a teammate for a title?

Brian: It would depend on the money. If it was for a local title, I would say probably not unless they came up with something big. If it were a spot in the UFC or spot in the big showâ…hey, I love you buddy but this is business and we would have to do it. It all depends on the circumstances. I love my teammates, we go to war every day, but if it is a shot to get into the UFC or Strikeforce I would.

TCD.net: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?

Brian: First off I would like to thank God, he is the strength that pushes us all. I’d also like to thank the guys here at Paradigm. They have been great here. The whole coaching staff, they have helped out my game a lot in getting more technical. They have given me a great home here and I really appreciate it. My training partners and teammates, we have been together for 4 years now. Jeff Rexroad, Carlo Prater, Tim Snyder, Mike Vronzoulis. That is a hardcore unit. Lee King, Randy Howard, Rey Trujillo. This is an individual sport, but you are only as good as your teammates. If you don’t have a good team or coaches around you, then you are never really going to accomplish anything.

TCD.net: Thanks for your time.

Brian: Thank you!

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