BJPenn.Com Exclusive: Jake Rosholt Ready to Face Anthony Johnson
Jake Rosholt is a three-time NCAA National Champion as well as a 4-time All-American. He is also a member of Team Takedown, a camp that consists of Jake, his younger brother Jared, Johny Hendricks and Shane Roller. Not coincidentally all of these fighters also attended Oklahoma State University. Rosholt had a brief run in the UFC in 2009 going just 1-2 in his three fights with the organization.
Since his release Rosholt has gone 6-2-1 and will be facing the toughest test of his career on September 21 when he meets former UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson. The two will fight in the main event for Xtreme Fight League 9 in Oklahoma. The organization went all out for their 300th show which will also feature fellow OSU wrestler Randy Couture as a special guest.
Rosholt recently joined BJPenn.Com Radio and spoke about the challenge that lies in front of him. Johnson seems to be happy at 205 and Rosholt is looking forward to facing him in a bout that could see the winner back in the UFC.
“I think he’s a great fighter and I’m real excited for it,” Rosholt told BJPenn.Com Radio. “This is the toughest guy I have ever faced in my career as far as I’m concerned. I’m ready for a tough fight; I have a lot of respect for his credentials and his ability. I’m ready for a battle. I believe Johnson is one of the best light heavyweights in the world and I think it’s going to be a great fight.”
“I saw his debut at 205 and I thought he looked good. He came out aggressive and pretty much dominated the whole fight. I think his opponent was a bit subpar and not really on his level, but this is MMA and anything can happen. Sometimes those are the toughest fights so you need to be on your toes.”
Rosholt lost his own debut as a light heavyweight to Matt Thompson in June, but this is the weight where he believes he will be most successful and will allow his body to perform at its’ best.
“I’m going to stay and fight at 205, it was really hard for me to make 185,” Rosholt admitted. “I couldn’t recover and fight at 100%. I wrestled at 184lbs my first couple years in college and moved up to 197lbs for my junior and senior year. That was in 2004 and when I began competing in MMA I figured I’d be alright once I rehydrated so I dropped back down to 185. It was taking too much of a toll on my body and I may not be the biggest light heavyweight out there, but it’s a much more natural weight for me.”
Fighting for the UFC is the goal of all mixed martial artists and once you have gotten a taste of the big time, it’s only natural to want to get back there as soon as possible. A win over Johnson will almost certainly attract the UFC’s attention, but for now Rosholt isn’t worried about that, he’s focused on the task he has in front of him.
“I haven’t had any contact with the UFC personally, I know my manger talks to Joe Silva because of Hendricks and Roller,” said Rosholt. “Honestly I’m not worried about that at all right now; I’m worried about this fight with Johnson. I want to go out there and put on the best performance of my life and have a phenomenal fight. All that stuff will work itself out in due time and I know I’ll be back there fighting the best guys in the world when it’s all said and done with. This fight with Johnson will be one of the better fights outside of the UFC that anyone will see this year.”
With UFC 152 fast approaching we wanted to get Rosholt’s opinions on the three big fights that occupy the top of the card. First you have Jon Jones defending his light heavyweight crown against Vitor Belfort. In a battle to become the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion, Joseph Benavidez will take on Demetrious Johnson and last, but not least, Michael Bisping will face Brian Stann.
“I think Jones will win, Vitor has the power and is athletic enough to make it interesting, but my vote is with Jones,” offered Rosholt. “Benavidez goes hard and has a lot of good skills as does Mighty Mouse. That should be an action packed fight and highly entertaining. I’d be surprised if it’s not a decision. Stann and Bisping is a bout I am very interested in, I think it’ll be a really good fight. A lot of people hate Bisping, but he’s tough. His stand-up is very good and crisp and he can get in and out very well. Stann has those heavy hands and may have a little wrestling in his back pocket. I don’t know who to pick in that one.”
Johny Hendricks is not only an OSU and TTD brother he is a good friend of Rosholt’s. All that stands in the way of Hendricks earning a shot at the UFC welterweight title is Martin Kampmann. The two will face off at UFC 154 in November. Rosholt admits he is biased, but in his heart of hearts he truly believes Hendricks will walk out of that bout the new number one contender.
“Obviously I think Johny is going to win, but it’ll be a great fight,” Rosholt said. “I really like Kampmann and I think he’s tough and very durable. He’s shown just how tough he is in his last few outings. Johny has some serious power in his hands and if gets a hold of Kampmann he’s going to hurt him. Hendricks is a well rounded fighter and I have to give him the edge in this fight.”
Jared is four years younger than Jake and recently suffered his first career loss last month. It wasn’t easy for Jake to watch his little brother lose, but in the end he knows it will be a valuable lesson for his little brother.
“He’s got a ton of talent and a ton of potential,” assessed Rosholt. “He’s still developing and is young in this sport. Obviously losing is never fun especially your first one. Your ego takes a big hit and I know how it feels personally, his ego took quite a shot, but it woke him up. It opened his eyes a little bit and made him realize he can be beat. He knows he needs to go in there with the right tenacity and motivation every time. He’s going to learn a lot from this loss and it’ll make him a better fighter down the road.”
We asked Rosholt the same question we presented to Beltran. Would it make sense for the UFC to have a third fighter preparing to fight in case one of the main event fighters got hurt? His answer was the complete opposite of the one Beltran gave us.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, it’s a crappy situation for the guy on the side,” said the 30-year-old Rosholt. “If someone gets hurt and he gets to fight then yeah it works out for him, but how does it work for all involved? Do they have to prepare for two different opponents? If no one gets injured you have the guy on the side that just went through a full training camp and now he has a big letdown. They can’t just give him another fight and have him train for 16 straight weeks. Most people have a science to making their body and their mind peak to get ready for a fight.
“Altering that process can hinder a lot of people’s performance. I don’t think it’s an option at all; injuries are part of this sport. It sucks, but I don’t think we’ll see a cancellation like we saw with UFC 151. You’ll see guys like Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar step up and fight. They’ll put on a show and fans will either be happy or they will complain. Fans will always find something to complain about, it’s just like anything you can’t make everyone happy. You can’t stop the injuries, you have to train hard it’s just the nature of the beast.”