| Our boys Kinch and Chase Raymond recently invited Bellator welterweight and interview favorite, ‘War Machine’ Jon Koppenhaver, onto an episode of BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cageside Radio show. War Machine discussed his upcoming fight with Blas Avena at Bellator 96 on June 19th, his training heading into that fight, and how he feels that fighters do not get paid what they deserve and what he feels needs to happen in order for that to change. Here are some of the highlights of Koppenhaver’s interview as he discussed getting back to fighting after his time away from the cage, his bout with Avena, and he also touched on his relationship with Bellator.
First, Koppenhaver talked about how he felt coming into this fight at Bellator 96 opposite Blas Avena and if he was feeling nervous or concerned about ring-rust, considering his last fight was back in 2011 against Roger Huerta. War Machine replied, “Last time I did a year in jail and I got out and I freakin fought Roger Huerta right off the bat and, you know, and um, I was worried about that fight. I mean, I think Roger Huerta is a more dangerous opponent than Blas Avena, you know, and I went in there and handled that fool, you know what I mean? So, whatever, a year and a half off don’t mean shit because I’ve had 45 fights inside the gym with my training partners, you know what I mean? So, I mean, when I first got out of jail I had the ring-rust, you know, I sucked in practice and um, like I said, I’ve fought 40 times. I fought a million times inside the gym so the ring-rust is gone, man. Fighting in front of an audience isn’t that much different, man. So I aint worried. I’m not too worried at all.”
Jon also talked in depth about fighters not getting paid what they deserve, not getting the professional respect or freedom they deserved as fighter, and basically called many of today’s fighters puppets being controlled by ‘The Man’. He talked about his ability to draw a crowd and pull ratings because of his freedoms and outgoing personality. He loves that Bellator give him the freedom to be himself and feels that more fighters need to stand up for their right to be heard and have a voice. Koppenhaver explained, “All these guys agree with me behind the scenes but then in public they’re all kissing ass. You know? They have no balls. All these fighters that think they’re fighters, man, they don’t have no balls. Whatever. You go in there and fight in a cage but you have no balls still. They’re a bunch of punks, dude.”
War Machine was also asked about his current love life and stated, “I got me a girlfriend. I couldn’t resist man.”
He was quoted in the past as loving the single life, the freedom it allowed, and leaving him 100% focused on his fight, but he eventually gave in and nabbed himself a lady. He feels it’s a good thing, though, helping him balance his life a little more. He stated, “It’s kind of good because it makes me relaxed more. It’s good to have a girl because I’m more relaxed, I don’t have to go hunting for chicks all the time, I’m just more focused on my training. It’s nice. She’s super supportive and she’s super cool. I’m happy right now. I’m in a good little state right now. Training is going well. I’m happy with her. A lot of things are going well right now. So, whatever. I’m just kind of going with the flow right now.”
Koppenhaver was then asked if he was still pursuing opening his own gym in Southern California. He explained that he there were a few things he’d like to get done before that, but indeed, that was the ultimate goal. He answered by saying, “I really want to get my black-belt, man. I want to get my black-belt from my coach, Baret Yoshida, so…I’m only a purple-belt now but I’ve been trying to wear the gi more, trying to get my brown-belt, you know? So, eventually I’ll get my brown and then hopefully get my black after that. So, I’d like to have my black-belt before I open my own gym that way I don’t have to hire a coach for that. So, it’s something I want to do; I want to be a black-belt.”
Koppenhaver, who is making his long-awaited return to fighting this Wednesday (June 19th) at Bellator 96 against Blas Avena on SPIKE TV, was then asked to break down the fight the way he felt it would unravel. War Machine responded by saying, “I’m going to win. I’m going to beat this guy. I’ve never won a fight by decision, ever. Never ever, ever, ever. So I’m going to finish him. And chances are, you look at it, I’m probably going to TKO him or something like that. You know what I mean? I’m going to bring it to this dude. I’m bigger than him, I’m stronger than him, I got better wrestling, I’ve got better striking, I’m fucking tougher, you know what I mean? What’s he got? Better jiu-jitsu? Big deal. What’s he going to do, lay on his back and submit me? Fat chance. Fat chance in hell. It’s a bad fight for him. He has to come fight me. I’m going to smash him. I’m going to bring it to him. He’s a jiu-jitsu guy but you got to be a fighter. I’m a fighter since kindergarten, fighting all the time, now I learned stuff. It’s a different ball game, man. I’m going to get in his head, bring it to him, and we’ll see what’s up.”Bellator 96, bellator news, Blas Avena, Exclusive Interviews, Jake Chastain, Jon Koppenhaver, Late Night Cageside Radio, MMA NEWS