I talked to Josh Burkman recently about his upcoming fight for the World Series of Fighting (WSOF). He was supposed to take on up and comer Ryan LaFlare, but after LaFlare signed with the UFC, he was left without an opponent. When Aaron Simpson was not re-signed by the world’s largest fight promotion, and he was able to slip into the fight opposite Burkman. In part one of this exclusive interview, I spoke to Burkman about what lead him to get into MMA. He talks about his history as more of a traditional athlete, but the temptation of fighting lured him from a full ride scholarship to play football and into the cage.
He also talks about his history in the sport, how he used to view fighting in the UFC and how he views it now, as well as where he currently puts himself in his career. When talking about the opponent change from LaFlare, Burkman said, with respect to LaFlare, that his coaches felt he would “win the fight anyway you [Burkman] want.” Plus, a fight with Simpson “made him put a little more into his training,” because “anyone that has 11 fights in the UFC has been through some wars, has a lot of experience, and Simpson has the bigger name.” In the end, Burkman says he is, “always trying to fight better and better competition,” and he didn’t feel, “LaFlare was a step up in competition from Gerald Harris,” who was his last opponent at World Series of Fighting 1.
One of the more interesting parts of the interview was that Burkman professed to not really game plan for opponents, but almost let himself react during a fight. He does this since he is confident on the feet, on the ground, or in the clinch, and he is “more than willing to stand up with Simpson.” This way, “wherever the fight goes I will be ready for it,” as opposed to some fighters that feel out of their element when they cannot keep the fight where they planned for it to be. Also, Burkman announced that he just re-signed a new four-fight contract with the WSOF, and with a win over Simpson, he may be knocking on Ray Sefo’s door for a title shot. Make sure to check out the second part of Burkman’s interview where we talk about rematches, how he rediscovered his passion for the sport, and who his dream opponent would be.