Tiki Ghosn is a name familiar to most MMA fans. He is a former UFC, WEC and Strikeforce fighter who has turned his attention to training some of the best athletes in the sport.
Currently, he trains the likes of Michael Bisping and Rampage Jackson amongst others and is widely considered one of the best striking coaches in the business.
Viewers have been able to watch Tiki on the current season of the UFC’s reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” as one of Michael Bisping’s assistant coaches and he is also currently winding down the training camp of Bisping as he prepares to face Jason “Mayhem” Miller on Dec. 3.
BJPENN.COM caught up with the world renowned trainer to get his take on this season of TUF and the upcoming fight between Michael Bisping and Mayhem Miller.
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Full *unedited Audio with additional content at the end of the entry
Pedro Carrasco: Let’s just start off with getting your thoughts on this season of the Ultimate Fighter and what it was like being on the coaching staff?
Tiki Ghosn: “This season of coaching the Ultimate Fighter was a lot better than season 10, mainly because of the talent on the show. You’re dealing with a bunch of fighters that are already accomplished. These guys have a base in wrestling, Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. So it’s not like you had to start from the ground up like we did in season 10. (When he coached with Rampage Jackson opposite Rashad Evans.)
When you are able to teach somebody something and they are able to apply it in practice and apply it during the fight, it’s rewarding and it makes you feel good and you know you’re helping these guys out and helping them further their career.”
PC: Do you think the cast coming off of this season has a future in the UFC?
TG: “In my opinion most of them with the exception of probably four are probably going to have a bright future. Mainly because they are still building these weight classes and there are not too many 135 and 145 pounders.
I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them make it, but I’m not the one that makes that decision. Would I like to see most of them on there? Ya I would, most of them from our team though. [laughs]”
PC: What did you think about Mayhem and his coaches and the prank wars and all that?
TG: “I tell ya what, they started the pranks and they picked a prank war with the wrong team. They decided to start if off and you can see what they had coming to them and the season is not over yet, there is still one more episode.”
PC: What are your thoughts on Jason as a person, coach and fighter?
TG: “I have a history with Jason Miller. One, he used to work for me and two he used to be one of my training partners, he’s not a bad guy, he’s a great guy. He’s a great fighter and I think he is a great coach.”
PC: Jason comes off as having a huge personality, for those who don’t know him can you lend some insight to that… Is he like that all the time or does he turn it on for the cameras?
TG: “I’ve known Jason for many years and basically what you see is what you get. I mean who doesn’t turn it on for the cameras sometimes but with him, he is a Looney Tune all the time. Which is good, it’s good for TV, it’s good for people to identify with him and it’s good for his persona.”
PC: Since you are Bisping’s head coach, how has this camp gone?
TG: “I think this camp is probably one of the best camps he has ever had. Mike is an absolute work horse, he’s the kind of guy you have to tell to stop training. He will go above and beyond your expectations and he’s constantly wanting to improve and constantly wanting to push himself.
He’s one of the guys you have to tell to take a day off, but he always wants to do more rounds, always wants get more time on the mat it, always wants to get more sparring in. It’s kind of cool when you get someone like that. It makes your job a lot easier, but not only that, it pushes everyone else in the gym too. It pushes the training partners and all the younger guys that want to come up. It’s very motivating.”
PC: Do you feel that your history with Jason gives you guys an edge in this upcoming fight?
TG: “I think it’s too far removed, but not only that. Now that the sport has grown so much everybody knows what everybody does. You can find out the style that everybody has.
You see these people checking up on everybody’s camps and you have that stuff going on, things spread like wildfire. I think the best way to calculate and find out what another fighter does is just to watch his past fights. Mike could watch mayhems training the whole eight weeks and Jason could watch Mikes training the whole eight weeks and I don’t think it’s going to change much of the fight.”
PC: As far as the fight itself goes, what areas do you guys have to worry about in Jason’s game?
TG: “I am very confident Mike can win this fight in any situation. Whether it be ground, wrestling or Striking. From what I’ve seen from Mike over the years, his striking is second to none. I haven’t seen anyone with a gas tank like his, his wrestling is awesome and his Jiu Jitsu is phenomenal. Nobody thinks he has ground, but it’s phenomenal.
This fight is going to be awesome, this fight is going to be very interesting. This is one of the fights that I’m looking forward to more than any in the past. Both of them have great cardio, Jason’s got great cardio, Mike has great cardio. Jason is a resilient bastard, you can hit that guy with a bat and he still keeps coming so I think it’s going to make for a very very exciting five-round fight.”
PC: How do you assess Jason’s skills? Do you think he is a top level fighter?
TG: “I think Jason is a very accomplished grappler. I think where his skills lack the most is in his striking. His wrestling has gotten great over the past few years and working with the people he is working with now I can only imagine that he’s been focusing on it.
I think his ultimate goal is to take mike down and try to submit him and do what Jason Miller does.”
PC: Do you think Jason has a future in the UFC?
TG: “I believe that if he puts on a great fight he will definitely be a journeyman in the UFC if he can’t make his way to the top. I believe he has all the skills in the world to do it, he has the persona and he has the following. You add all those things together and it puts you in a really good position to be an ambassador to the UFC.”
To listen to the rest of the interview where Tiki talks about his close and personal relationship with Dana White, his return to MMA action, his thoughts on how their team performed on this seasons Ultimate Fighter, Bisping’s permanent move from the UK to California and much much more just click play and listen to the audio below.