Interview: The Pride of Texas, Todd “The Maniac” Moore

“You see some of these guys that you know you are better than, and you see them have their victory and their moment, and you think, ‘Man, I want that moment'”

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The Pride of Texas, Todd “The Maniac” Moore

Interview and Photos by: Barry Laminack

For all intents and purposes, Todd Moore has lived the dream.  He’s made it to the world stage for MMA fighters, fighting on star studded cards in both the WEC and Dream.   For the man known as The Pride of Texas” and “The Maniac”, making it was the easy part, staying on top proved to be much harder.  He learned some things along the way, about himself, about the fight business, and about what it takes to hold on to your dreams and still maintain ones since of self.

Over the past month, Todd and I have run into each other several times.  Each time he was nice enough to take the time to talk with me and answer questions for this interview.  I spoke with him at Gracie Barra The Woodlands, where he was helping Chad “Robo” Robichaux train for a title fight (the Legacy fighting Championship Bantam weight title).  I also talked with Todd at Team Tooke as he helped Jace Pitre and Andrew Craig train for their upcoming fights.  We talked about his time in the WEC and Dream, what he learned from his losses and his plans for the future.

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TCD.net: What have you been up too since your victory over Derrick Krants?

Todd Moore: Well, I’ve been focusing on obtaining my Brown Belt, so I’ve been doing a lot of Gi training and a lot of grappling.  I’ve also been keeping up with my kickboxing and boxing, but I’ve been keeping my primary focus on stepping up my Gi game.

TCD.net: I was there recently when Robo presented you with your Brown Belt.  How does it feel to finally reach that goal?

Todd Moore: Honestly, I’ve been doing this since 2002, and prior to that, I had a lot of mat time from  wrestling, so overall I’ve been on the mat since 1998.  But there were some times when I honestly felt, I was never going to get this high in Jiu-Jitsu.    It’s actually kind of surreal for me because like I said I didn’t think I would get it, and then, they started telling me, “hey man, it’s going to happen”.  I’m still taking it one step at a time and not even thinking of the black belt right now.

TCD.net: You rebounded well after your loss to Aoki, winning your next two fights.  How tough is it to come back after a loss?

Todd Moore: It can be as devastating as you let it, and it can really effect you mentally.  I had to really question myself.  There was never really a doubt in my mind that I would never stop competing, but I had to remind myself why I do this.  I do this because I love to compete.

I kind of got caught up for a time there with it being about money, and it being about  a career.  It became more about my career than my passion.  I forgot that for a little bit in 2008, and I thought I was Mr. Hot stuff.  It was something I could have lived with out, but it turned out to be a good thing because it reminded me that I started wrestling because I love to compete.  The hardest thing to do coming off 3 straight losses is to not come into the cage and think, “man, I don’t want it to be 4 in a row”, but you can’t think of that.  What I did is pretend that I restarted my career over, like its 2009, I’m starting my career 0-0, and this is like my first match.  That and I just relaxed.  Looking back, it was a lot of mental things to go through to get past it.  I’m glad I did, and after getting that first one out of the way, I just kept it going, staying relaxed, not worrying about their records.  I’m just there to win now.

TCD.net: What did you learn from the time that you did spend in the WEC and Dream?

Todd: I learned a lot.  I learned a lot about myself, and I learned a lot about what it’s like to be a true professional too.  There are a lot of distractions and a lot of bull crap that competitors have to go through just to make it to the walk to the cage.  All most people see is the pay-per-view with the fighter walking to the cage, and some might think it’s an easy pay off, but they put you through a lot of crap.  A lot of things are very distracting, plus, you’re in Vegas, so if you don’t have the right people with you, they can become a distraction as well.  I’ve always watched the guys that are in the spots I want to be in, and those guys at the top spots are going through the same stuff, but they are not letting it get to them.  I can’t succumb to those distractions that are there.  I thought I could handle it, but this time, it was a little much.

I also learned that physically, I can compete with those guys; I just need to focus more.   You see some of those guys in the WEC, and you don’t even know who they are, and its like, “I know I can beat some of those guys”.  It kind of makes me upset because I was never spoon fed in any of my matches.  They put me up against some really tough guys.  I’m not complaining, but you see some of these guys that you know you are better than, and you see them have their victory and their moment, and you think, “Man, I want that moment”.

TCD.net: How did you get the name “The Maniac”?

Todd: It was symbolic of my work ethic.  I used to work out so hard that guys used to tell me all the time, “Man, you train like a maniac”.  So whenever they asked me if I had a nick name, I wanted to be something other than just Todd Moore, so that’s what I used.

It’s more symbolic of my work ethic than my personality.  I also adopted the nickname “The pride of Texas”.  For a time, I was fighting a lot up in the north east, so I really enjoyed representing Texas.  Especially in the North east because there is nothing better than beating up an obnoxious Yankee.

I’ve combined them both now to, “The Pride of Texas” Todd “The Maniac” Moore, which is kind of long, but that’s my current status as far as nick names.  I’m still looking for another one that fits better, but that’s where I’m currently at. [laughs]

TCD.net: What do you like more, getting a KO or Tap?

Todd: I really enjoy pounding guys out for the TKO, but lately I’ve been working hard on my submission game.   I really enjoy tapping guys out with the rear naked choke; it has been my favorite thing to work on.  Early in my career, if you had asked me this, I’d have said “ground and pound”, but now I like making guys tap, it’s a good feeling.

TCD.net: Gi or no Gi and why?

Todd: That’s a difficult question.  I really enjoy no Gi training.  I know it depends on who you ask, because it’s a matter of preference.  I’ve always found the benefit with the Gi, so I’ve never stopped the Gi training, despite the fact that I enjoy no Gi training more.  It really helps you with your technique, plus I like the freedom you feel and have when you take the Gi off.

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TCD.net: What has the experience been like, training with both Team Took as well as with Gracie Barra the Woodlands?

Todd: I really enjoy it.  I really feel like I’m in a unique and fortunate situation.  I really think those are the two best places in Houston to be at.

I’ve always been big into a family and team environment, event though it’s a single person sport.  Having that support from your team mates can really help motivate and drive you, especially when everyone is working for that common goal of helping you become a champion.  I’ve felt like a lone wolf a couple of times, but I was still able to succeed, so it makes it so much easier to have all these guys behind me.

TCD.net: How did you manage to hook up with both Robo and with Travis?

Todd: In Robo’s case, I’m very good friends with Alex Gotay (we used to work out every day in his garage) so when Alex started working  here at Gracie Barra The Woodlands, he told Robo about me and they invited me to start working out here.  As it turns out, Robo had followed my career as a local guy who moved up through the years so he kind of knew who I was already.

In Travis’s case, we actually wrestled each other in High School.  As a freshman, he just tore me up!  Years later, I saw him refereeing a Jiu-Jitsu match and was like, “Man I know you from somewhere.”   He was like, “I went to Kline Oak”, and I was like, “Man, I went to Klein Forest.  You’re that guy that tore me up.”

What better way to earn somebody’s respect than to beat it out of them.

I’ve been fortunate enough for him to be my head coach for the past 2 years (and my last 3 pro fights).  I still haven’t caught up to him yet as far as skill and technique.  He still mops the floor with me on the mat.

TCD.net: How do you balance the time between both locations?

Todd: It’s not difficult.  I’m at Team Tooke on Tuesday, Thursday and weekends, and the other time I spend over at Gracie Barra the Woodlands.  Both guys, Robo and Travis, are on good terms with each other and have a lot of respect for each other;.  In fact, both of them where in my corner for my last match.  It’s a good feeling.  I feel very fortunate to be associated with both Team Tooke and Gracie Barra and to be able to represent both of them.

TCD.net: Who do see as some of the better young talent in Houston with a chance of making it to some of the bigger promotions?

Todd: It may seem kind of biased, but I’d say Jace Pitre is one.  He’s looking real strong, and if he continues to work hard and can put together a nice win streak, he’ll get the notice of some big shows.  Also, look out for Andrew [Craig] at 185.  Over at 4oz, I’d say Daniel Pineda too.  I think he’s coming off of a couple of losses, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s really talented and just needs to get things swinging his way.

TCD.net: So what’s on tap for you next?

Todd: It’s been frustrating finding a suitable opponent the past year and half. I’ve won the 2 bouts I was scheduled for this past year, and really the only bouts I feel excited about preparing for now are ones with guys that I can gain from (as opposed to being just another win).  I was schedule to fight at the upcoming King of Kombat, but because of the new schedule I’m taken on at Gracie Barra The Woodlands (among other things), I decided to not compete.

Upon further evaluation, my bout with Chappelle just didn’t interest me.  However, the next Legacy in March motivates me.  They are trying to match me up with Marcus Hicks, Rich Clementi or a rematch with John Alessio (a win over any of those 3 guys is a big deal to me).   I’m at the point in my career now that I feel like, if the big shows are just trying to forget about me, I’m going to make something big happen for myself.  The WEC said they wanted me to get a few wins under my belt before giving me another shot; well, I’m not going to wait for them anymore.  I’m looking to make WEC and UFC quality matches on my own and win, and I hope that starts at the next Legacy FC in Houston.

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Just before this interview was scheduled for release, TheCageDoor.net broke the news that Todd had signed a 3 fight deal with Shine Promotions.  We talked on the phone briefly and this is what Todd had to say about inking the deal:

Todd: I’m really excited about joining Shine.

TCD.net: Anybody you are looking to fight first?

Todd: Yeah, I really want to compete against former boxer Ricardo Mayorga.  I know that he is looking to fight a quality fighter with a winning record, so I think I’d be a good match up for him and I’d like to make my debut against him.