Herschel Walker Still Looking to Show he “Can Really Fight”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

By FCF Staff

This Saturday, at Strikeforce’s latest event in San Jose, California, NFL legend Herschel Walker will have another opportunity to demonstrate that the 48 year-old athlete is the real deal in the MMA cage, when he takes on heavyweight Scott Carson. The bout will be Walker’s second pro fight, after the veteran martial artist stopped Greg Nagy in the third round at a Strikeforce event last January. (Pictured: Waker hitting Greg Nagy)

Saturday’s event will also feature two title fights, as welterweight champ Nick Diaz will take on “Cyborg” Santos and middleweight champion “Jacare” Souza will face Robbie Lawler. The card will be broadcast on Showtime.

In anticipation of this weekend’s card, Walker participated in a teleconference call to talk about his upcoming opponent, his training regiment, and the sport of MMA. Here is some of what Walker had to say.

What did you learn from suffering your eye injury?

“I did learn it’s better to wait. I didn’t really have enough experience to know that when you get cut in training that you shouldn’t really jump back in there and try to fight. I think being an athlete we’re sort of naïve and stupid. When I got cut I assumed I could still fight. One of the things I said I would do when I came to this gym at AKA (San Jose) was that I was going to leave everything in the hands of Javier Mendez, Bob Cook and Dave Camarillo and a lot of the fighters. That whatever they say I need to do I’ll do. When I went away to get my eye stitched up and I came back they were all looking at me and shaking their heads and saying you’re not going to fight. I was saying, no, I’m going to fight. But I realized they know a lot more than I do. I talked with those guys and learned how you can get that cut re-opened. They were saying how you can go into a fight and be winning the entire fight and the last 30 seconds you can do something to your eye and the referee stops it. You have to be real smart and have to go into the fight really healthy and that’s what I’ve got to do. I’m not a guy who’s going to be fighting for five, six, seven years. I’m going to be fighting for a little bit. So every fight I go into I better win so I better not have anything that’s going to make me have an opportunity to lose the fight.”

What have you focused on with the extra time?

“A little bit of jiu-jitsu. That’s what I want to say to all those who want to put Scott Carson down. When I came back to AKA in July I didn’t come back to get a fight. I came back to train. In a short amount of time I went from an OK fighter to a much better fighter because there was no pressure. And I was just learning the things that I need to know. That’s what was so different than my first time coming here. I had all the pressure and there was so much input and I didn’t have time to grasp it all. Scott has been training for a long time. He may not have had that many fights but he’s always been training which means he’s putting the time and learning a great deal. So I was able to still put some time in the gym and learn little things that I thought I knew in just a couple of weeks just watching guys like Dan Cormier. So there was no pressure on me during those couple of weeks.”

What has been your most motivating factor to get ready for this?

“My motivating factor was just to always compete. When I left home from little Wrigthsville, Georgia, I said I would always compete to my fullest. I knew that to get ready for this fight I had to be ready and most of all I had to be much better than I was in my first fight. Even though I won my first fight which was great I knew I had to improve. If I wanted to be considered a good MMA fighter I had to improve so my motivation was to get in that cage this coming Saturday and let people see that this guy can really fight.”

Have you moved to San Jose to train at AKA?

“I did. I left not only my home in Dallas but also my company. I’ve left my company to my top guy and I’ve come out here to train. I moved into a hotel in July to begin training. And then the fight came along and I first asked my trainers and the fighters and they said yes you can do it. And that’s the only reason why I’m back doing it. How long can I do it? Who knows. I tell people I may even try out for football again and show people I can do that one more time. I’d be the George Foreman of football and come back and do that one more time.”

 “I’ve never had to prove anything to anybody. Whatever I’ve had to prove I’ve proved to myself. That first fight I really enjoyed it and I thank STRIKEFORCE for the opportunity. I didn’t know they were going to give me another opportunity but I’m thrilled and happy they are. I’ve never really thought about fighting every three or four months. What I’ve thought about is how to help these guys. Maybe help these guys on how to get insurance. Or help them on how to make a little bit more money. I’ve gotten to where I really like these guys. The guys at AKA have really become like my family. They’re like my brothers. And I know a lot of guys not at AKA who are like my brothers in the sport of MMA. I know what they put into this sport and I know the type of work that they do.”

What have you been working on?

“When I came back in July I wanted to work on my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu. My stand-up game has always been OK and that’s because of my tae kwon do background. But I really wanted to work on my wrestling because the wrestling was really something quite foreign to me. And jiu-jitsu is something so complicated and so difficult. It is a very difficult art to learn and I wanted to work on those things and get better at them.

How many fights do you think you’ll have?

“I really don’t know. I don’t really look that far ahead. I don’t dream. I do reality things. I wanted to continue to train and continue to get better. And if another fight comes up then I’ll ask my trainers and the other fighters in the gym if I should do it. When I first stepped into these doors if I couldn’t compete with these guys then I wouldn’t have even fought that first fight. I’m just taking it one fight at a time. Not that I’m going to be a surfer dude now living out here in California but it’s one day at a time and make the best out of it.

Can you explain your diet?

“Oh, geez. Every nutritionist in the world is going to tell me that I’m crazy. I eat one meal a day. I don’t eat red meat. I eat a salad or soup. Most every nutritionists say you can’t do this or you can’t do that. My thing is that I’ve been doing this for 20-something years. I’m not just doing it because I’m an MMA fighter. I was doing it when I was playing football. And it works for me. I’m not going to say it works for everyone. The reason why my diet works for me is because I’ve been doing it a long time.”

“I eat that one meal around 8 or 9 at night. My body has just adapted to it. I don’t think about food. I don’t want to say that because I want everyone to go out and buy Herschel’s chicken, the best chicken in the world. But I just don’t eat a lot."