In the midst of his busy training for his fight with English Bantamweight Brad Pickett, Mike Easton took some time to talk with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio Sunday night to answer questions about training, his career and more. The most pressing topic of the night was, of course, Easton’s upcoming bout against Pickett at UFC on Fuel TV 9 on April 6. Both fighters are notorious for their tough battles and willingness to brawl.
“Everyone should definitely DVR this fight,” said Easton. “I believe this is definitely going to be one of the fights that goes down in UFC history, and hopefully it goes for one of the best fights of the year. You know, that’s definitely the plan… it’s just about putting on a show, putting on a show for the good people, putting on a show for everybody around the world, putting on a show for everyone in Sweden, and putting on a show for big daddy, Dana White.”
Both Easton and Pickett are coming off decision losses in their last fights, Easton to Raphael Assunção and Pickett to Eddie Wineland. Despite these latest results, the two are known for pushing the pace of their fights and going for the finish. On the probability that this fight will be exciting, Easton had this to say:
“He likes to bang, I like to bang. He’s one of those guys who takes the center of the cage, I take the center of the cage. It’s just going to be fireworks, and I can’t wait… We all know that the UFC fans love violence. But it’s a good thing, because it’s all friendly. Though we’re in there to fight, and we’ll put on a show, we both know that we are both fighters, we both have our careers and this is our careers, and this is how we get paid. We love our jobs and that’s what we’re going to show the world: how much we love our jobs.”
This love for the sport comes from Easton’s background. Growing up in a rougher part of Washington D.C., Easton grew tough by necessity. He said, “I’ve seen bad drug deals go down, I’ve seen people getting killed, I’ve seen women get killed, I’ve seen people getting jumped, and it’s one of those things it kind of numbs you. It changes how you look at life, where life is even more precious now because you’re fighting hard.” Easton fought from a young age, battling bullying from his peers because of a learning disability and uses martial arts as a way to build confidence and forge a positive path in life. He began with boxing lessons from his father, then moved to competing in, and winning, Tae Kwon Do tournaments. “Martial arts saved my life,” said Easton. “[It] was my way out.”
Easton still lives in D.C. where life’s past challenges along with new ones, including added responsibility of becoming a father, continue to positively influence his behavior. “My whole thing is,” said Easton, “I fight for those guys who are thinking to do something wrong, thinking to do something bad, and I’m like man, you don’t have to do that, you don’t have to sell poison to anyone in the neighborhood or sell poison to anyone in order to make money. If you’re an athlete, you do everything you do to be the best athlete in the world. If you want to be a doctor or lawyer, you do everything it takes to do that. You just have to change your life. Although you live in some bad surroundings, you don’t have to act out how you live [by] your surroundings, you know what I’m saying? You can be that light that everyone needs.” And Easton strives to always be that light, for his son as well as his neighbors.
Come fight time, however, he forces himself to leave his family and friends behind for training camp in San Diego, CA. It’s a long way from home, but Easton accepts this as his duty to the UFC and his fans.
“It’s just a job if I [were] in the military, people who fight for the United States of America to protect this country, they have a job and an obligation to this country, just like I have a job and obligation to the UFC. So in order to fight and for me to put on the best show, I come out here to Chula Vista, out here to San Diego, to train with Alliance. I do my job, I do everything I’m supposed to do, and I put on a great show, I put on a great performance.”
His time away, of course, is never boring. He trains with Alliance MMA, home to a number of UFC fighters and top MMA fighters in other organizations as well. Training is always going at a high pace due to the fact that their ranks fight almost every weekend, Easton described the environment as, “Everyone is behind each other 110%, everyone is working with each other. Of course we’re training hard, and it seems like we’re trying to kill each other, but in all actuality we’re just pushing each other. We’re pushing each other because we all believe in each other, and we know that we are the best team in MMA, period. That’s the thing that we’re trying to prove, we believe we’re the number one team, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Despite his flourishing MMA career, Easton still maintains an avid interest in the classic martial arts. He optimistically discussed the possibility of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu appearing as an Olympic sport in the near future, and even the chance of MMA making its way to the Olympic stage. “It’s going to be good for the guys who are fighting amateur MMA,” Easton said of this last possibility. “It gives them a goal to fight in the Olympics now before they go pro, which changes the game. Someone gets the gold medal in the Olympics as far as MMA, that means your check is going to be good-by the time you go pro… that’s something that’s needed for the sport of MMA.”
Be sure to watch Mike Easton take on Brad Pickett on April 9 at UFC on Fuel TV 9, live from Stockholm, Sweden.
You can listen to the entire Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio episode featuring Mike Easton here or by clicking below.
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