By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
UFC 161 Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night winner, James Krause, talked with BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio Sunday, giving the lightweight fighter a chance to reflect on just how life has changed in the week following his UFC debut.
Krause (20-4) defeated UFC veteran, Sam Stout, with a guillotine choke at 4:47 of the third round. The effort won him two $50,000 bonuses, a notable win on his record and the attention of fans, media and sponsors the world over.
Krause reflected on the week following the fight, noting that one of the biggest changes he’s experienced is the plethora of media interviews he’s been invited to do.
“My life has changed a ton, you know,” said Krause, “I went from [doing] an interview once every few months for an AXS TV deal, and then now, I’ve had probably a couple days after the fight I think I did like 12 within a 48-hour period. It’s my pleasure, I love coming on here. My thing is I don’t ever want to change. I don’t ever want to change. Before, I loved doing interviews; I still love doing them.”
That joy and passion for his job is something that Krause intends to hold onto no matter how successful his career may become, something he knows may be easier said than done.
“You know, I think it’s my responsibility to not let that happen really. I like the person I am. I like where I train. There’s really nothing in my life that I would change. I’m a pretty luck dude, if you want the truth about it. I think it’s a goal of mine to really stay the same guy, beause that’s the guy that got me where I am now. The only thing that’s going to change, in my opinion- and obviously it’s easier said than done- what the numbers in my bank account are looking like. Obviously that’s changed a little bit since the bonuses, but I really focused a lot on staying the same guy, man, I just want to be a humble guy that people love to watch fight. I want to be exciting, and even if I do lose, I want people to be talking about my fight and saying, ‘Hey man, if this guy’s going down, he’s going down on his shield and in exciting fashion.’”
Already, following his UFC 161 appearance, fans got an idea of the kind of fighter Krause is. He is tenacious, exciting, always pushing the action; and with a submission victory over an opponent like Stout, he is someone to watch as he continues to climb the UFC rankings. Along with the notoriety of a big win, Krause talked about some of the benefits that came with his win, most notably sponsors.
“It has gotten a lot different as far as people hitting me up and just [that] they know me all of a sudden now. And really, not just like old friends from high school, but also sponsors. I’m having companies hit me up saying, ‘Hey, we think you’re the next wave of fighter here, we want to sponsor you,’ and offering me deals, where before, you know, you had to chase these dudes down and almost beg them to sponsor you. Now, you know, I’m looking at monthly salaries now, it’s pretty cool, man!”
Of course, the typical signs of fame have started to make their way into Krause’s life as well.
“People asking for my autograph, taking my picture, people are noticing me out in public now. Nothing too crazy, it’s just different, man. Really, really cool. I want to be a guy- I’m not going to lie, I like the attention, not for the attention, but more so I think I just want to inspire people and be a good role model for all the kids who train at my gym. I think it’s cool for me to be able to, I don’t know, just be able to show people a normal dude that went to high school at Odessa High, wasn’t really an athlete- all the guys I went to school with, they know I’m not an athlete, I just work hard- anybody can do this; it just takes hard work and dedication. I kind of want to be the spokes-person for that group of guys, you know?”
A self-proclaimed model for the average guys out there, Krause said that he hopes he never loses the love for his sport and his fans. He recalled a time he watched some big-name UFC fighters reject fans’ pleas for autographs.
“I went to- I can’t remember the event, but it was one of the UFC’s- where my teammate, Tim Melia fought on there. I’m not going to name any names, but there were a couple of bigger name guys that were turning down autographs, and they didn’t have anything else to do. And I get it, you’re cutting weight, life sucks, but man! You got to support the people that support you. Obviously it’s easier said than done, I’m sure these guys- it was a pretty high-profile guy- I’m sure he gets it all the time. But I just can’t imagine myself getting to the point where I turn down somebody to take a picture or an autograph. If that’s the way I ever get, you know, I think it’d be time for me to step out, because that means I’m not enjoying this. I love this, man! For me, going to the gym every day, it’s a passion. It’s not like I’m going to work, I’m going to have fun. I love doing this. To me it’s ridiculous to even tell somebody, ‘Oh, no, man.’ And he wasn’t doing anything. He was just standing there, he wasn’t doing anything, and he turned down someone. The guy was literally begging him for an autograph, like, ‘Please, please, please,’ and he said, ‘No.’ Like, man! I hope I don’t get to that point, or even close to that.”
Hearing how Krause has responded to his rapidly growing fame already, it seems safe to say that the fighter out of Missouri will be able to maintain his character. Despite his victory and the accolades the UFC has bestowed upon him, Krause remained very modest about his success.
It’s all “because really nothing has changed,” explained Krause. “I got to keep telling myself that. Nothing character-wise has changed. Only thing that’s changed is my bank account. I took a fight in an organization against a tough guy, and I won. I’ve been doing that for a while now. I literally have to dumb it down to that level in order to keep myself humble and to keep myself hungry, because it’s not good enough. I want to be better than where I’m at right now.”
With that mentality, Krause is looking to get back in the gym and continue to work. He will be helping train some teammates for their fights in the end of August, most likely making his own return to the cage sometime in late fall.
Reflecting on where he is at with his career, Krause stated that he believes he is beginning to find his own rhythm. Most would have to agree, given the 8 consecutive wins he has been able to accumulate over the past two years.
“I think I’m probably starting to come into my own as far as I’m finally starting to get my style down, and I’m finally starting- I’m really playing my awkwardness, I’m kind of embracing it a lot more. I think I’m hard to train for. For any of these guys that are matched up with me, I think it’s going to be hard to find a guy that can switch stances like me as much as I do. Like I said, I’m just going to stay the same guy and stay hungry and try to keep getting better each day in the gym.
“That’s what I fight for, I want to be exciting. I want people to want to watch me. I’m going to say that every single time. I want people to want to watch me. I don’t want to be boring, I want to be known for creative striking, being slick on the ground, and just being exciting. I want people to enjoy watching my fights win, lose or draw. “
Be sure to check out the rest of James Krause’s interview on BJPenn.com where he breaks down his fight with Sam Stout and talks about what lies ahead of him in the UFC.
You can listen to the entire episode of Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio right here:FIST-ta-CUFF, FIST-ta-CUFF Radio, FISTtaCUFF Radio, james krause, mma, MMA NEWS, Sam Stout, ufc, UFC 161, ufc news