“When I smash Pat I feel like the people at the UFC are going to find what they are looking for.”
Justin Reiswerg (@409fighter)
Interview by: AJ Hoffman (@ajhoffmanjr)
As we have recently seen the UFC gobble up local talent such as Daniel Pineda and Andrew Craig, at least this one writer believes Justin Reiswerg may be the next guy to hit the big scene. His combination of youth, skill, aggression and athleticism have him not only on everyone’s radar, but also in the main even at Legacy FC 10. We had a chance to get a word with him before the biggest fight of his young career.
Reiswerg: This training camp has been great. I have been covering all aspects of my game; striking, jiu jitsu, and wrestling. I have been getting over to 4 OZ a lot to prepare for this fight, learning from great instructors and training with all the talent in that gym. Bam Bam has also been great to me. I have been focusing on my wrestling now more than ever and my ground game is progressing as always, especially since we have a few new black belts teaching and training at the gym.
TCD: This is your first main event fight, does that add any pressure to you?
Reiswerg: Being the main event doesn’t come with any more pressure than knowing that the fight will be televised. Stepping up from the under card to the main card adds pressure in my eyes because the amount of people watching you has just grown exponentially. Once you are on the main card though, I feel the pressure is constant no matter what number fight you are.
TCD: What do you know about your opponent and how do you feel you match up against him?
Reiswerg: I believe I match up well against him. His skill set is impressive, but it’s nothing I’m not going to be able to handle. He has a good ground game, hence his 5 submission wins, and he always comes to fight, which counts for his other 5 wins. After he has competed in the UFC I feel like he might underestimate me a little bit since I am unknown and don’t possess the record that he does. Let him think that though. I do believe that my advantages, striking and athleticism, are going to end this fight.
TCD: What do you feel like your strengths are as a fighter? What part of your game do you think needs the most work at this point?
Reiswerg: My major strengths are the same as the ones I have had from the beginning; my athleticism, my work ethic, and my willingness to learn and evolve. With those core values everything else falls into place as it needs to; better striking, more dominant ground game, just a better fighter all around. At this point in time I don’t think I need to work on any one thing. I am no where near as good as I can be if I keep working and that’s what drives me. I don’t want to get better at one single thing, I want to get better at everything.
TCD: After some time away from fighting, did it feel good to get in the cage 3 times in 2011? How often do you hope to fight this year?
Reiswerg: The 3 fights last year were great! I had great matchups, I had opportunities to step up and test my skills, I got to be the first to represent for Legacy on HDNet to the world, and I came through victorious in every one of my ventures. As far as the quantity of fights, I believe 3 is a nice number for this year also. It gives me time to learn, prepare, cut weight, fight, relax and heal up, then repeat.
TCD: A few months back you made the trip out to Vegas to try to make the cast of The Ultimate Fighter. Talk a little about that experience.
Reiswerg: Vegas was a great opportunity and learning experience. There were a ton of fighters there hours before they opened the doors, so the waiting process was long and tiring. I met a few fighters and learned first hand how TUF is a game, even before tryouts start people are trying to get over on you. I also saw how political the whole deal is also but hey, that’s the nature of the beast. Overall the other Houston fighters and myself had a lot of fun and I believe I now have a better handle on how it all works.
TCD: A lot of people regard you as one of the next guys to come out of Houston onto the big scene. Seeing Daniel Pineda and Andrew Craig in the UFC, how close do you feel you are to breaking through?
Reiswerg: The coaches over at 4 OZ have talked to me a bit about this and I believe I am right behind Daniel and Andrew. They are both great fighters that have worked very hard and accomplished a lot, but it was the exposure that Legacy gave them that really pushed them beyond Houston’s MMA scene and into the national spotlight. Legacy has also given me a lot of exposure and when I smash Pat I feel like the people at the UFC are going to find what they are looking for in a fighter in me.
TCD: What do you think a win over Pat Audinwood does for you from a career standpoint?
Reiswerg: This win will open a lot of people’s eyes and cement me as a rising prospect, not only in Houston, but also in the country. It might even be enough to start getting noticed by and maybe getting calls from even bigger promotions.
TCD: Do you have anyone you want to thank or mention?
Reiswerg: I would like to thank everybody at Made To Win, especially Brett Boyce and all the guys I train with out of our management. 4 OZ and Bam Bam for all the knowledge and skills they have given me, and the amount of support I get from everybody in the gyms. All my training partners for the workouts beatings they have shared and given me. My family and friends that support me, and even those that don’t. I want to thank Proformance, Fist First, and all my other sponsors. Lastly I would like to thank The Cage Door for their continued coverage and support for everything MMA in Houston and beyond. You guys really do a great job.