Having competed in UFC 13 as my first UFC, and now getting to see UFC 100, it's pretty interesting to see the progression of the sport and how far it's come.
Being a part of the UFC and witnessing its growth first-hand, it's been an amazing ride. I think the fact that we're still here 100 shows later -- there was a big patch in there where we thought the sport was going to die and there wasn't going to be anymore UFCs -- says a lot.
I don't think I had any idea how far this sport would go. I entered the sport on a whim just because it was something I wanted to try. And here I am, 12 years later, still competing.
Georges is going to pick Thiago apart. And I think Lesnar is going to get Mir this time. I don't think Mir will be able to find the easy submission. I think that Henderson is going to be too much for Bisping. Between his power in his right hand and left hook, and the wrestling background that he brings, he's going to overwhelm Michael.
Georges St. Pierre is one of the more dynamic fighters in the sport right now, so anytime he fights it's going to be a special event. I think that the fact that there's a unification of the two heavyweight titles makes it interesting, at least for me.
We're winning more and more mainstream fans all the time. I think people are understanding this more and more. The more they get exposed to the fighters and the sport, and the technical nature of the sport, they realize that it's not mindless brawling. That there's a lot more to it.
I think my family was skeptical at first. In fact they gave me that cross-eyed look like I was nuts, but quickly kind of listened how I said fights would go and what I was training on and learning to deal with particular opponents. They realized I wasn't crazy and there was something to the sport. They've been fans ever since.
The UFC's biggest obstacle right now is finding a happy medium -- keeping fighters happy with ancillary rights and all the other stuff going on with pay scale and branding and those sorts of things, and still being able to keep the top promotion and being the biggest brand in the sport.
I'm most proud of the integrity that I've tried to represent as an athlete in the sport -- not getting caught up in the success and titles and the sport exploding the way it has. I've kept it simple.
Everybody loved Muhammad Ali. But one of my favorite fighters to watch, just his style, was Joe Frazier. The peak-a-boo hook, the way he plodded forward -- I just thought he was an amazing athlete and great boxer.
The best part of being a fighter is being able to compete.
During that stretch with Chuck 2 and Chuck 3 -- that was a rough time for me. I wasn't enjoying the training and competition at that time, which ultimately led to me retiring.
The guy that hasn't been in the UFC in a couple years that should be in there right now, especially at 185 pounds with Anderson Silva, is Matt Lindland. He's not a pretty fighter. He's a very tenacious fighter. But I think he has a skill set that I think would give Anderson a lot of trouble -- assuming he didn't get caught and knocked the hell out. As I analyze styles, that's the kind of style that will give Anderson problems: a guy that will get his hands on Anderson, get him on the ground, tie him up and rough him up.
Overrated? I don't know that there's an overrated guy there. Each guy poses a unique set of skills and problems for an opponent. On any given day anybody can be beat. I don't know how you make somebody overrated that way.