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Friday, 07/13/2012, 08:03 am

EXCLUSIVE | Strikeforce’s Nate Moore talks AKA, Roger Bowling, and Jason High

Nate Moore takes on Jason High on Saturday’s Strikeforce’s Rockhold vs. Kennedy card. After losing to Tarec Saffiedine, Moore bounced back with a knockout win over Nathan Coy. The loss to Saffiedine was a tough pill to swallow initially for Nate.

“Mentally the Tarec Saffiedine fight humbled me and pushed me to work on more aspects of my game. After that fight I worked on my boxing hard. My standup coach has really helped me out with seeing punches coming, standing in the pocket, and firing back. I need to stay calm under pressure and have a little more poise, and not end up brawling”.

Since his stint wrestling at Purdue, Nate has pushed himself to learn from his losses and experiences. His main goal is to no longer be labeled as a “wrestling guy” and he is well on his way.

“I’ve evolved quite a bit. Training other styles like boxing, kickboxing, and jiu jitsu have really made my wrestling more dynamic. I’d have to say back in the day I wrestled at 197 and my style was more using force and imposing my will by size and good conditioning. More of the Iowa style where you just bang on the other guy, wear him down, and pin him. Now I’m down at 170 with jiu jitsu and boxing and they’ve taught me to relax a little bit. I use my brain a little bit more and I’m a little more savvy”.

Just like any other Strikeforce fighter gets asked if they will be headed to the UFC almost daily – so does Nate.

“I better end up there”, Nate Joked. “3 more fights with Strikeforce for me on my contract. You win a couple of fights here and there and win a title. The weight class isn’t super deep. I’ll put on a good show and see what happens. Maybe before my fights are up I get a title shot, and we’ll see where it goes from there. Maybe that would put me in the UFC”.

A title shot is every fighter’s goal, but in Strikeforce where the roster is thin it is slightly more attainable. Nate believes one is definitely in his sights.

“If I finish my fight I very well could be in line for a title shot. It’s not like the shot is so far away I can’t see it. Let’s face it if I finish this fight decisively I could get it or be one away. They like people who put on a good show and I am not afraid to stand there and bang and be dynamic”.

Weight cuts can often be grueling and taxing on the body, especially for guys who drop down from ones they competed in for a long time.

“Crazy Bob Cook told me I should be at 170. I looked at Jon Fitch and how much weight he cuts and I didn’t want to mess with it. I was wrestling 197 and benching 425. I had to cut to 185, and 170 seemed ridiculous at the time. Ultimately 170 proved to be the better weight class for me. I feel more dominant here”.

The welterweight division has top level talent despite the shallow roster. One of those fighters is Strikeforce standout Roger Bowling. Looking at the division as it is now Nate sees Bowling as an ideal potential fight.

“Roger Bowling is very interesting to me. He is a guy who brings it and I wouldn’t mind fighting him. I don’t want to look past my next fight with Jason High, but Bowling would be a great fight”.

Jason High stands in Nate’s way of a potential shot at Strikeforce gold. As with any of his opponents Moore’s ground game poses a problem. Nate doesn’t feel High can handle the intensity he brings to the table.

“I don’t think Jason can handle my ground game. I mean, we’ll have to see on fight day. I grapple with some of the best guys at AKA and I hold my own with them. Guys like Luke Rockhold and Jon Fitch have difficulty with me. I practice with them everyday and if I give those guys trouble I think Jason is in for a long night”.

MMA fighters have “go to guys” when it comes to preparing for a fight. Nate opened up about whom it is he reaches out to when he needs that extra boost.

“Luke Rockhold helps me out with a lot of my grappling. We’re about the same weight and he is always coming forward with a lot of help. Jon Fitch is always there for me. We wrestled together in college and he’s always helped me quite a bit. When it’s time to drill he’s usually my partner for them. Josh Thomson is always there, too. They’re very technical and they enjoy teaching, and like to help people out. I will be ready for this fight”.

AKA was never a hard choice as a place to jump in to mixed martial arts. With Fitch there and the reputation the school has itself, Nate seized the opportunity as quickly as it presented itself.

“I saw how they trained and how they gelled together. I knew guys that were there and what they had to say about it. The bottom line is that they are a team. A real team that is there for each other”.

You can follow Nate Moore on Twitter: @dominatemoore

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