Ahead of UFC on FOX 24 Tonight, FRONT’s Luke Byron spoke with Hawaiian Flyweight contender Louis Smolka before his fight with Tim Elliott. FRONT TALKS: No Bullshit, Full Interviews.
Luke: Hi Louis, how you doing? It’s Luke.
Louis: Yeah I figured, (laughs) yeah I’m good thank you.
Luke: If we get straight into it, how did you get into MMA originally?
Louis: I’ve been doing martial arts since I was a little kid, I mean, I always kind of liked fighting. When I first saw MMA it was Rashad Evans versus Brad Imes in the TUF finale and I watched this little dude use technique to beat a bigger stronger guy and I was like a small kid, I got picked on a bit and I thought it would be a great thing to learn, you know? I thought I’m gonna learn this and no-ones gonna pick on me now!
Luke: So then I guess you carried it on and worked your way all the way from the amateur fights all the way into the UFC?
Louis: One of the big turning points for me was that I won the PXC (Pacific Xtreme Combat) belt and that was a crazy time for me as there was like a bidding war for me with a bunch of managers and a bunch of promotions. People were emailing me, messaging me on Facebook and just getting hold of me any way that they could, it was crazy and eventually I ended up signing with the UFC and that was the dream for me, that was what I wanted.
Luke: So going back to the fight with Ray Borg, do you regret letting him fight with the extra weight now?
Louis: I’m just annoyed that he chose to not make weight, I was so sick before that fight, I was on antibiotics the whole week, I was dehydrated and drained, anything that I would eat or drink would just immediately come back out, I was a mess dude, but I still killed myself to make the weight. For him to just be like ‘yeah I’m just not gonna do it, I’m just like a fat kid’ or whatever he said, I just felt really disrespected by that, I just felt like ‘dude, what are you doing, I’ve just been asleep dude, I couldn’t even get out of bed’, when we first landed I slept for like 36 hours and I killed myself to make weight, and he couldn’t do the same to honour the agreement? That was just the part that upset me. You said you were gonna make the weight, you signed the contract, you agreed to this and you’re not gonna honour this now, just because you’re scared or something? It was just bullshit.
Luke: So next up you’ve got Tim Elliott, is this a fight you particularly wanted or is it just one that was presented to you and you’ve accepted?
Louis: They presented the opportunity to me and in my opinion it’s kind of like a gift you know? It’s a big name, it’s on FOX, this is a gift right now after my last two fights, but I appreciate it and I’m gonna try to make the best of it.
Luke: Do you feel your style matches up well with his?
Louis: I feel like we’re kind of similar, we scramble a lot and we both do things in the scrambles that a lot of people traditionally wouldn’t expect. We’re both kind of awkward, I’m hoping to be able to take him out in all honesty, I’m hoping to be too much for him.
Luke: What did you make of his last fight with Demetrious Johnson?
Louis: He did very well, I expected him to come out early – he did that in a few fights in the past against Benavidez and Makovsky, so the early parts I expected. But the way he hung around in the later rounds was pretty impressive.
Luke: Going into a fight, what’s your mindset going in? Is it just business for you or do you feel the need to make it quite personal?
Louis: I guess I’m somewhere in the middle, I mean I care about this a lot, I’ve been taking it the most serious for a while, but I really do care about fighting and going down as one of the best in history, for me it’s a big thing, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. It is a little bit personal as this guy wants the exact same thing as me, he wants to go down in history and he wants to go down as one of the greatest of all time. So, there is a certain level of personal pride and this person is trying to take away what you’ve done, so there’s the emotion that goes into it, but for the most part I like to keep it professional and I’d never do anything unprofessional but I’ll definitely go out and put it all out on the line.
Luke: Going into the octagon, what would you say is your biggest strength?
Louis: I don’t even know anymore, I used to think it was my ground game, but I’ve been working on my striking for years with one of the best striking coaches I feel in the world, so I guess one of my biggest strengths is my heart – I’m just willing to keep trying.
Luke: Where did your nickname – ‘Da Last Samurai’ come from?
Louis: I had this stretch where I took some pretty crazy fights, I took the fights I probably shouldn’t have taken at that time, but I went out there and I would get my ass beat, but I would stay in there and I would always win. On my pro debut I fought this guy that was 3-1 and I was just this 20 year old kid, then I went to PXC and I fought this guy that was like 45-10 in Muay Thai in like my second pro fight, then I fought Alvin Cacdac who was a Strikeforce/WEC vet and he had fought a bunch of guys that went to the UFC. I got my ass kicked in some of these fights, and I got all beat up and bloody but I wouldn’t give up on the fight and my spirit was like death before dishonour, so because I am Japanese (My Mom is from Japan) it just seemed like a fitting moniker.
Luke: Not to look past Tim Elliott, but is there anyone out there that you’ve been eyeing up or looking for a fight with?
Louis: Not particularly, I’ll fight whoever, I’m down for whatever. I guess Demetrious Johnson, I should probably try to take him out right?
Luke: Just finally, with Max Holloway now challenging for the Featherweight title, and you back in the big fights, is the goal to bring the UFC to Hawaii?
Louis: Yeah, I’d love to do that. I just want it to be a big show, you know? I want it to be a big deal when it does happen, not like a little Fight Night card. I want it to be a big sold out PPV, I want it to be huge and break some records Conor McGregor style!
Luke: Thanks for giving me some of your time, and good luck for the fight!
Louis: Thanks a lot, thanks for taking the time.