Interview: Rocky Long

“I feel like I’m back; I’ve had other people training me again, rather than just training myself…”

Rocky Long

Interview y: Lance Edwards

When you talk about Houston veterans of MMA, you have to mention Rocky Long. With a career spanning over a decade and forty-six fights, Rocky has been a fixed member of the Texas MMA scene.  With Rocky fighting this weekend at the IMKF, I caught up with him to find out a little more about him, and the recent changes he has made to his training. Rocky talks with an energy and a passion that at times was hard to keep up with, but he shared his history and where he is going with his MMA.

TCD: You were really one of the first fighters in the local MMA scene, and have been heavily involved in the evolution of MMA in Houston, how did you get started?

Rocky: I ran into Alvis Soliz at a Carlos Machado seminar, I was sixteen years old. I realized Alvis was in Humble, I’m from Conroe, so it wasn’t far. I was doing strict BJJ with Alvis in a gi for two years. At the time in Texas people were fighting using the Pancrase rules, it was strictly open hand using your palms. I met Yves Edwards, and he was training and teaching out of The Woodlands, we worked BJJ and striking. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Thug Jitsu, we were doing our own thing, Yves was training us, and it was awesome.  I was actually the first pro MMA fighter in Montgomery  County.

TCD: What have been the high points of your career?

Rocky: Really the whole thing, I started fighting, and have been involved in all aspects from match making and promoting to training fighters. I started out as a fighter, and the other things followed. I was looking at some old videos of me fighting, getting submissions and KO’s and I remembered what it was like. Then I was training to fight, I didn’t train anyone, I wasn’t responsible for anyone’s training. I was training to fight, and I realized that I wasn’t really training anymore. I’m only 33 and there are guys older than me fighting, and that’s what I really want to do, fight, not doing promoting, not doing match making, what got me to where I got with MMA was being a fighter, and that’s what I want to go back to.

TCD: So we had a recent announcement that Chas Skelly had to pull out and Gilbert Jimenez has taken his place. How do you feel about that?

Rocky: Truthfully, I don’t really care who I am fighting. Chas is a great kid, a great fighter, but this wasn’t going to be an easy fight for him. I think he expected to run around me, jump on top of me and finish me. He hasn’t fought guys with the experience I have and this would have been a tough fight for him. He got staph and had to pull out, and I’m just happy to have a replacement and be fighting.

TCD: From the way that you are talking you sound like you feel revitalized

Rocky: I feel like I’m back; I’ve had other people training me again, rather than just training myself and focusing on training others, I’ve trained with a few people like 4oz Fight Club, Bobby Perez and the guys over there. I feel that it’s made a difference to me, and I’ve been getting better. I’ll give myself a year of just focusing on training and see what happens. You know it’s not about belts for me, at the end of the fight if someone puts a belt around me that’s ok, right now I won’t be disappointed if I was to lose,  I’ve trained really well for this fight and I feel happy with how I’ve trained.

TCD: So what’s next?

Rocky: I have six children, and taking care of my kids is what really counts. Before I had to be away a lot, and I need to do what is best for me. I do the youth ministry, and I don’t mind helping anyone who needs my help. You can find out all about me if you go on YouTube and look up The Rocky Long story, there’s a video about me, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

One thing I will say is for people to come to the fights, it doesn’t matter who is the promoter, who is friends with who, come out and support MMA, support the scene, and come to watch some fights. I actually don’t care which promoter calls me and offers me a fight, if it’s a fair fight I’ll fight, it doesn’t matter to me who it is and who you will fight for.

TCD: Is there anyone you’d like to thanks?

Rocky: God for giving me the opportunity, hopefully I can motivate people to train hard. I have people coming to the event from different churches, there are people coming from Katy, from a church in Conroe and in the Woodlands. The Church leaders are behind it and its introducing new people to the sport. I hope to entertain everyone, and this event isn’t about me it’s about the sport itself.

TCD: Thanks Rocky, I look forward to seeing you fight this weekend

[Authors Note: below is the video Rocky talked about]