EXCLUSIVE | UFC Hopeful Soa “The Hulk” Palelei Interview
Soa “The Hulk” Palelei is one of the top unsigned prospects in MMA today. He has beaten some upper echelon fighters in Christian Wellisch, Bob Sapp, and Sean McCorkle. Soa fought and lost to Eddie Sanchez at UFC 79 and was released shortly after. That was back in December of 2007 so the question is why a fighter that has gone 10-1 in his last 11 bouts is not resigned to a UFC contract. A better question would be if it might be something personal between himself and Zuffa.
“No I don’t think so”, Palelei said. “They’re the major guys in the game, and I with my business and brand know how busy one can get, if it’s meant to be it will happen. I will continue to fight and keep my fans happy that’s what they want and without they’re support I wouldn’t be where I am today. Last year was a great year for “The Hulk” this year I expect it to be the same and to double what we achieved last year. I’m not one to settle for less. “The Hulk” has big dreams and we’re going to make some huge things happen stay tuned and watch out for big news coming”.
With the lack of major promotions in the USA right now a lot of fighters are looking overseas for bouts. Soa is also open to the same.
“Most definitely I’m always open for offers as I said before I want to keep fighting and keep active this is what I love to do and want to continue on with it, so anyone out there wanting “The Hulk” just hit us up”.
For some fighters the wear and tear of travel can break them down, but Soa welcomes the opportunity, and is no stranger to the lifestyle.
“I’m a journey man and have been travelling all my life and been to some of the best gyms and countries Hawaii, Brazil Japan just to name a few even though I’m a big guy I don’t mind being on a plane so hit us up”.
Palelei is busy in his spare time, and stays active in his community and in things that he says have the most meaning to him.
“I’m so proud and honored to be an ambassador for 2 great charities”, Soa said. “The Make a Wish Foundation” which I was actually able to grant a wish last year and the feeling was indescribable; Thor is 13 and has muscular dystrophy he wanted to meet “The Hulk” which was an honor. To go to an MMA Event which we made both happen, to see the smile on his young boy’s face when he and his family pulled up to the venue was priceless and definitely a humbling moment. I was also able to get him to meet Tito Ortiz as he was in Australia and that was a little extra bonus for him. The other charity is “The Telethon Adventurers” which raises money for a cure for child cancer, being a father of 3 I couldn’t imagine having my kids taken away from me due to cancer which is exactly what happened to Rick and Emily Parish, what they’re doing with the Adventurers is amazing. They’re both amazing people to be as strong as they have been to make something amazing out of a loss. Check them both out. www.theadventurers.com.au, www.makeawish.org.au in hopes of raising more awareness and funds. I absolutely love playing basketball and I’ll take my lil one with me to play at the local recreational centre sometimes were there for hours, we get our Lakers jerseys and Kobes and were set to go”.
His one loss in his last 11 fights comes via a bout with highly touted AKA fighter Daniel Cormier. Since that fight a lot has changed for Palelei and he has since stepped his game up. It doesn’t matter to him who he fights if and when he re-signs with the UFC even if it’s a rematch with Cormier.
“All the heavy weights in the UFC are top athletes and I’d confidently face whomever they would pick for me”, Palelei stated. “I’m confident in my game. It takes a lot to willingly step into the cage and go the 3 times 5 or the 5 times 5 minute rounds, I don’t discredit any of the fighters and have a lot of respect for them. Whomever the UFC thought would be a good match I’d be ready to roll”.
The recent destruction of Junior Dos Santos at the hands of Cain Velasquez sent shockwaves through the heavyweight division. All eyes were on the outcome of that fight and everyone had a strategy that they would implement for Cain to be successful it would seem. Soa revealed his thoughts on the fight.
“I said to myself that morning the only way he was going to have a chance of winning would be to take him down and keep him down, which he did and he did it well”, Soa said. “Yes it did gas him but he had to keep at it. I was surprised however at how easily and quickly Junior got gassed. Coming in to the fight Cain looked much smaller than he has before and Junior looked like a lion if you say he looked fit and ready to rumble. Looks can be deceiving and in the end Cain got the win, they battled it out, there’s a certain kind of desperation one needs to have in order to tap into their inner champion and that day Cain was the better man. I respect and admire both fighters they both gave us a show, and we couldn’t ask for more”.
Naturally a fighter has to ask himself what he would do to beat the champion. Soa detailed his road map for success – well sort of.
“Well this is kind of difficult, but here goes”, Palelei joked. “I would simply picture him to be a big bucket of KFC. LOL. Seriously, I’m not one which gives out too much of my game plan why would I want my opponent knowing what I’m going to do. I have my game plan and that stays with my team and I those are the only people that need to know. It would be a heck of a show because he’s a warrior but I’m not called “The Hulk” for no reason”.
Finally we asked Palelei what he would say to Dana White if they met face to face.
“I’d be honored to fight under the UFC banner, I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today and that “The Hulk” he saw last time wasn’t the real Hulk it was an impostor. If I had the chance to come back I know that I wouldn’t disappoint them again and I’d fight anyone they would put up against me. I believe everyone deserves a second chance and should that happen a lot of people will be surprised”.
“I want to thank my sponsors @MackBoots Grant Tuckett and the team, Southern Crossfit Jono, Hayden, Jaso & Tara, Peter, Georgia & Bill from Limousine excursions, Rob from Gobsmacked, Hulk MMA and lastly but not least my friends, family and fans your constant support keep me on my hustle All Day Every Day much love Soa “The Hulk”