New UFC lightweight fighter James Krause spoke with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio Sunday night to talk about his recent UFC debut where he defeated veteran fighter, Sam Stout, via submission.
Krause’s debut victory earned him Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses, not to mention the credit to his resume after defeating a well-decorated fighter in Stout. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Krause’s performance was his willingness to take the fight on just two weeks’ notice, a huge risk that has certainly paid off for the Missouri-based fighter.
Krause (20-4) talked about how the fight was offered to him, a story that actually dates back to last November.
“There’s kind of a small back story to it,” explained Krause. “I was signed to RFA probably six months ago, and two or three weeks before I fought Joe Jordan, I think this was back in November… They called me- Joe Silva calls me and says, ‘Hey, I have a fight for you,’ and I said, ‘OK, perfect, who is it?’ ‘It’s Yves Edwards.’ I’m like, ‘OK, awesome, man, let’s do it.’ I didn’t care who it was really, I just wanted a shot. We’ve been training for a hard fight anyway, no big deal. I wanted a shot, I’m like, ‘Boom,’ I’m in the UFC, awesome!’ We get an email back probably two hours later saying, ‘Hey we had to fill it with somebody on contract.’ At that time they filled it with Jeremy Stephens, and you’ve seen what happens there, Yves Edwards knocks out Jeremy Stephens.”
Not to be deterred by the circumstances, Krause trained for his fight with Joe Jordan, winning with a third round guillotine. While debating with his team if they wanted to wait for the UFC to call another time, Krause said he was offered a fight he couldn’t turn down.
“I got an opportunity to fight Toby Imada, which I really wanted that fight back, you know, from Bellator- he beat me in Bellator after a huge weight cut I had, I fought like crap. I really wanted that one back, so it was a huge risk, I was on [the UFC’s] radar, and I really didn’t want to do the fight, but I wanted to. I just knew there was a lot of risk. I took the fight, I ended up winning the decision, awesome… So I get a fight offer to fight Clay Fritch again, which is my last loss- eight fights ago, nine fights ago. I’m like, ‘Man, I have to take this. I want this fight back so bad.’ I wanted to go through, avenge all my losses, come back to the UFC and do the same thing. You know what I mean? Like that’s just what I wanted to do. So we’re like, ‘Awesome, let’s take it.’ So we took it. I was having some hand issues, I hurt my hand in the Imada fight, and I hurt it a few weeks after in practice; and my hand just wasn’t 100%. Still going to take the fight anyway. Joe Silva calls me back. Calls me on a Friday night- I’m sorry, a Sunday night- at 11:30 pm and says, ‘Hey I have a fight for you.’ I’m like, ‘OK, cool. Who is it?’ ‘Norman Park- you know, he won Ultimate Fighter Australia- Norman Park, 155,’ and I’m like, ‘Awesome, man! I love that match up! Let’s do that, perfect!’ Then he says, ‘Well, here’s the deal, it’s on the Melendez-Henderson card,’ which at the time was in six days. I’m like, ‘Man, this is my opportunity, I’m thinking I have to take this, I have to take this.’ I’m a pretty big lightweight, so I step on the scale, and I’m eating OK, I’m eating decently clean, and I’m 183.5 [lbs.]. I’m just like, man. I had to call him back and said, ‘Joe, I’m sorry I hate to do this, I’m going to have to pass on this one. But, I tell you what, if you call me back, I’m gonna be ready. No matter what notice, the next one’s a yes. I will be ready.’”
And what Krause did was essentially put himself fully into a training camp for a fight, without really having a fight locked up.
“I immediately go into a fight camp. I’m going into fight camp, and I was like, ‘Alright, man, you’re just going to have to tough this out no matter how long this camp has to be, whether it’s six days, six weeks, six months, six years: you’re staying in camp until these guys call you back.’ That’s what I did, I went to camp, I acted like I had a fight- which was extremely hard to train like you had a fight and didn’t have a fight. That’s hard to do. It sucked at times, but I just did it. I got my walk weight down to where I was about 175-ish after practice. He calls me two weeks and two days before the event, he says, ‘Hey, I have another short-notice opportunity for you, Sam Stout in Winnipeg.’
“I was in great shape already, because I had been in camp for a month already. I was in fantastic shape, I was helping some other guys get ready for fights. I was on point. It really couldn’t have been timed out any better, because my camp ended up being about six weeks total, when it’s all said and done. It really- I don’t like to go anything past that, because anything past that I just start getting burned out and overtraining, I get hurt. I’m an over-trainer, I train too much. I just get burned out on it. The rest is history, it just worked out absolutely perfect. Came in, had a great weight cut, had no issues there. I was in shape, I told everybody that. I backed myself in a corner and all my interviews before I said, ‘Guys, if I lose this fight, it’s not because it’s on short notice, it’s not because I’m out of shape. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my entire life, I feel great.’ So I backed myself in a corner, and you guys have seen the fight. I felt great in the fight. I felt in shape, felt awesome, explosive, strong- felt really good.”
The fight itself was a grueling three rounds, with Krause sinking in the guillotine choke and obtaining Stout’s submission with only 13 seconds remaining on the clock. When asked about the finish, Krause said that, while he is always looking for the finish, he had a particular sense of urgency going into the final round of this fight after the discussion in his corner.
“I knew, going into the third, we just assumed it was 1-1 going into the third, we later found out it wasn’t 1-1. We just assumed we lost round three, and my corner goes, I asked, ‘Guys, I felt like I won round two, did I win?’ All my corners were like, ‘Yeah it was close, we think you won though.’ And then by boxing coach goes, ‘Guys, we’re in Canada; he did not win that round.’ I was like, ‘Alright, sh*t, I got to come out in round three.’ He was trying to win rounds on top. I heard his corner say, I think it was Mark Hominic that said it, he goes… ’30 seconds, let’s try to steal the round.’ I knew what that meant, I knew he was looking for a takedown. So I knew the shot was coming, I was just going to wait for it. I wanted- you know, the guillotine is my number one move, that’s my go-to submission, I have a really good guillotine, that’s my go-to, I usually get it off people shooting in on me- so he shoots in on me, and I freaking, I miss it. Pissed me off so bad, there was blood and sweat mixed, I just couldn’t get a hold of his neck. So he puts me on my back, and immediately I don’t go to my back, I keep kind of setting up, setting up. I threw my arm over his neck, and he kept trying to push me back and push me back. I think just for a split second he just got a little easy and let me get my hand underneath his neck, and I just started squeezing- and when I get locked up like that, it’s really hard. That’s my go-to, man. It’s going to be tough to get out of that, whenever I get it locked in like that.”
The choke was impressive enough, given Stout’s long career in the Octagon with his last submission loss coming at the hands of Kenny Florian in 2006; but when you consider the sweat and blood covering both fighters by the end of the third round, Krause’s ability to get enough leverage on Stout’s neck was a feat of tremendous skill.
When asked about the sweat and blood inside the cage, Krause confirmed it made the grappling aspect of the fight much more challenging.
“Whenever blood dries, it does get really, really sticky. The problem is, like you just said, when you mix sweat with it, it multiplies how slick it is. It’s almost like you’re trying to grab ice, you know. Imagine trying to guillotine an ice sculpture or something, it would be so hard. Whenever I got the guillotine, there was one point where he turned over to his side and turned back, and his head almost popped out, because it was so slick. And I mean, it was slick! Because when I usually get a guillotine locked in, their head ain’t moving; and he was kind of moving around a little bit. It’s so hard, like at the end of round two, I had an overhook, and he postures up and starts raining elbows down. I’m blocking all the elbows, but I could not for the life of me get him down- my hands were just sliding off of his back. I’m sure he was having the same issues I was, he was dealing with the same thing. When you mix blood and sweat together, man, it is slick.”
Now, Krause is riding an 8-fight winning streak with a stellar debut in the UFC. But what does that mean for the lightweight?
“The win-streak, it doesn’t mean a ton to me. I get hungry, and I just want the next win. I’m pretty good about erasing the past, and living in the present. I know that win-streak really isn’t going to help me in the next fight… Whenever I got signed for a top fight, people said I was going to get murdered. When you look at it on paper, I am- I would have been one of those guys saying it too. But the thing is, what people don’t know is, I’ve done so much maturing mentally and really physically too over the past two or three years, that I’m just a different fighter than I was in the WEC or even Bellator… I think if you have watched my last, say my last eight fights on my win streak, you could see a progress that’s been made. I just got used to fighting some tough guys, and I got used to the cameras, whenever I walked into the UFC, I felt like I belonged… I didn’t have any jitters, or anything like that.”
Now the question is what lies ahead for Krause. For the next month, Krause will be spending time with family and helping train some of his teammates for their fights in the end of the summer. He expects to be back in the fall, depending on what the UFC decides. Whether that means a top-ten lightweight or a debuting fighter, Krause will prepare for anything.
“But my thing is, where do you put me? The UFC can do one of two things. I feel like I’m still a question mark. It’s really hard to base where I’m at after one fight. They’re going to do one of two things, they’re either going to try and build me, and they’ll put me against a tough guy, or somebody- not lower-level, I don’t want to sound like an a-hole when I say lower-level- but somebody mid-to-lower-level; or they’re going to start throwing me to guys maybe close to the top ten and seeing where I am on the food chain. I really don’t know which one. I have no idea; but I feel confident that I match up well with a lot of the’55-ers; especially a lot of the ’55-ers in the top ten. I feel like I match up real well with them.
“So I don’t really know, and I’m not really going to waste a ton of time thinking about it, because I’ll lose sleep doing it, you know what I mean? I have no idea where these guys think I am or where they put me. I can’t imagine they thought I was going to come in and beat Sam Stout, you know what I mean, so I don’t know where they put me. Some people think I’m still lower-level, some people think I could compete in the top ten, I don’t even know. My job is, whoever they put across from me, figure out a way to beat that guy. Whenever I hear the name, that’s what I’m going to start doing. I still don’t know where I am in the division. I just got to kept training hard and be ready for any of them.”
Be sure to check out the rest of James Krause’s interview where he discusses how life has changed and how he is dealing with the success and fame his UFC 161 victory has brought.
You can hear the entire episode of Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio right here:
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