Exclusive | Roger Bowling wants to fight them all; Believes Wrestling tops BJJ
Roger Bowling (11-2 MMA) came in to Strikeforce an undefeated fighter boasting a perfect 7-0 record. He defeated Bobby Voelker by technical decision, and then lost the subsequent rematch by TKO. Roger bounced back and won his next fight before losing the rubber match with Voelker by TKO.
After the last Voelker fight Roger has rolled off two wins in a row. One of which was against Brandon “White Steel” Saling, a fighter possessing a less than stellar personal and criminal track record. Saling has two neo-Nazi tattoos and is a registered sex offender for the rape of a person under the age of thirteen. When asked about his opponent’s past, Roger was less than enthusiastic in his response.
“I didn’t know, obviously”, said Bowling. “I don’t know exactly what happened so I don’t want to say something rash. But yeah, I was shocked when I heard that. Listen, I have a daughter so you can imagine how something like that would make you feel. If it is true then that guy doesn’t need to be fighting”.
Roger finished the fight by TKO in the second round, but there were questions immediately after Saling’s past came to light. They were, specifically as to whether or not Bowling would have fought him any differently knowing Saling’s criminal background
“No, but if the ref knew he might have let it go a little longer”, Roger joked. “Nah, I wouldn’t have fought him any different really. I probably couldn’t have. I had like a week and half to get ready for that fight. I wasn’t even training for another fight before that. I went in cold. They offered and I took it. I was kind of sloppy and there are a lot of things I wish I could go back and do over. I wasn’t happy with a lot of what I did. It is what it is and I won”.
Before his Strikeforce debut there were many that speculated Bowling was UFC bound. As stated earlier Roger was 7-0, and that was certainly a record worthy of gaining entry in to the UFC. Still, Bowling ended up in Strikeforce and has never looked back. Not to say there aren’t times he thinks about the leap over.
“Man, that’s tough”, Bowling said. “I like Strikeforce, but it would be hard to turn down the UFC. Over in the UFC you have fight of the night bonuses, and I think I could have gotten some of those given the chance. Knockout of the night and other incentives like that make it so appealing”.
The general consensus is that the best welterweights reside in the UFC’. Even if that is the case it doesn’t stop Roger from enjoying where he’s at.
“There are a lot of welterweight UFC guys I want to face. A lot of them. I do think there are enough here to keep me busy. There are a lot of good wrestlers and fighters in Strikeforce. You have guys like Tyrone Woodley, Bobby Voelker, and Tarec Safiedine. They’re all there. Some great 170 pounders here and a lot of them I want to get my
hands on. I want to fight them all. There are a lot of UFC guys I want to fight, too. For now, I want to stay where I’m at and face the guys here. We’ll see after that”.
After his fight with Saling in March, Roger has yet to be contacted about a fight, but feels confident it will be soon.
“Hopefully, after the May 5th card they will announce a fight for me. I would like to fight on the next one and with some notice”, said Bowling. “The last two fights have been on short notice. I fought Peoples on short notice and this last one I cut like 25 pounds in a week and a half. After that fight was over I couldn’t even talk. My lungs were shot. I would like some notice so I can be ready this time. The last one I felt like I drank gasoline or something. That weight cut was brutal”.
During his professional career Roger has had substantial injuries to his hand and wrist. Fractures and recurring side effects have been challenges.
“My right hand has been a nuisance since I started coming up as a pro”, Bowling stated. “In my last fight with, I don’t even want to mention his name. That’s kind of how feel about him right now. I re-injured my hand in that fight. It’s healed up pretty well now. The only time it really affected me was in the second Voelker fight. I broke it the first time I fought him and I couldn’t spar before that second one. The night of the fight, like 30 minutes before the fight, they smacked my hand after wrapping it. It felt like someone stabbed it. I thought man there is no way I can hit this guy, but I did. For the first and third fight I was 150%, and my hand was fine. It comes and goes”.
Dealing with injuries can sometimes lead to performance enhancing drug abuse. Recently Alistair Overeem was forced to pull out of a championship fight with UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos because of questionable testosterone levels. Roger can see times when testosterone replacement therapy is necessary, but doesn’t understand the need for abuse.
“You see it in a lot of the older fighters”, Bowling said. “I’ve done some research and the older you get your testosterone levels do drop off. There’s a study that a lot of men die early because their testosterone levels drop. I don’t agree with them at all being as high as they sometimes are like Overeem’s. I think that’s ridiculous. Other fighters come in normal and these guys come in like 14 to 16 times what they have. I don’t agree with that at all”.
Roger was disappointed in the Overeem fight cancellation, but looks forward to the fight between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, and challenger Dan Henderson.
“I think Dan Henderson has a great shot at it. His wrestling is good. He has Greco on Jones’s level probably. I think Jon’s size and reach are a big advantage. I can’t wait to see that fight because Dan Henderson will leave it all in the cage whether he gets knocked out or not. He won’t be like Rashad Evans who just tries not to get knocked out”, Roger stated.
Another fight on the horizon he can’t wait to see is the rematch between Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.
“Chael hands down”, Roger said. “I predicted him to win the first one, and obviously I was wrong thanks to that fifth round submission. I saw him in the WEC and I knew he was real and would give Anderson problems”.
When asked about his confidence in Sonnen’s abilities, Bowling believes it is Chael’s strong wrestling background that is the deciding factor.
“I think wrestling is the best base to have”, Roger said. “I mean I think wrestlers can beat jiu jitsu guys any day of the week. The fight starts standing, but you put strikers on their back and it’s a whole different ball game there, too. I’m a striker and I don’t have a true wrestling background. I’ve just basically learned wrestling from training partners. I’ve got former collegiate wrestlers working with me now from Syracuse and Iowa State. My wrestling is definitely one of my strong points now. Like I said wrestling beats jiu jitsu most of the time”.