Ep. #22 – Max Rohskopf

Max Rohskopf is an undefeated mixed martial artist who competes in the lightweight division. All of the NC State College wrestler’s victories have come by way of submission.


Max Rohskopf: I guess we’ll just start with Leah the basic and how are you doing and how are things in quarantine, I’m doing good. You know at first it was like a big adjustment, because I was used to training two three times a day, teaching probably one or two privates a day, and then I teach my kids classes, but now it’s like and then then I went back then once the Quarantine started all the classes, all the privates went away. It was so training, but I was trying to only train once a day there for a while, because I didn’t want to like compromised my immune system yeah. I wasn’t sure what was happening. So that was the big reason why I was going to training once cuz. I still needed to train and stuff because I was always I want to say ready, but I don’t want to run my body to the ground and then unnecessarily get sick, because I think you’re a strong immune systems important with something like this. You know, but now that being all my mates have been a quarantine and no one’s sick and all that stuff we’ve been picking it up a little bit, but still keeping it kind of low-key and not really inviting a whole lot of not having anyone come and Stuff, like that, so just keeping it between my close circle but uh yeah. It’S it’s pretty good. I can’t complain. I have to play a lot more Call of Duty now yeah I’d say the one thing that I’ve been doing a lot of like I don’t I don’t game like at all and all of a sudden, I’m like playing non-stop what uh as a gym, open and Like there’s, no, it’s not no, it’s wide open, we just got and emplace is all right. Yeah seems sort of thing here I mean they just opened up, parks and stuff here, so you can go for runs but other than that, it’s like you could get fined for for being in public places. So yeah, I don’t think it’s the. I think. Technically, you can get fine for being in public places here, but I think the governor said it was like he’s, like our police officers, have more like things to deal with other than you being at the park right. So I don’t think there’s been really any of that going on here, but I heard they’ll come to like a business that it’s all it’s not supposed to be open and take away their business license. So we haven’t even we’re not really trying to play with that. Yeah we’re we’re in Canada, so it’s a bit there a lot stricter on those sorts of things. I think in the u.s., so we’re here, like two years, removed two and a little bit removed from your pro debut. What uh? How do you assess your performances? Uh? You know when I first started fighting when I first started training the fight when I was 18 in college. Okay. As soon as I get out of college, I’m gon na turn pro I’m gon na have a bunch of fights and it’s gon na be all this stuff and then, as soon as I like, get out of college, and I start fighting fine. Having fights has been a lot harder than I thought it was gon na be. I never would have thought that two years pro I’ve only had five fights and I’ve been training strictly MMA for four for four years now and I have only had five fights. So that’s kind of discouraging right but um with my performances. So far, I’m super happy. I’Ve really only been in five fights I’ve I’ve been hit with one clean shot. I think and my head movement. My defense is good. It’S funny because my coach Drysdale is very, very critical right and he’s always like it’s it’s kind of annoying. It’S boring because I’m being more aggressive and I’m making a lot more mistakes, and they need on me about not doing this and I’m doing that. But then, when I go out, I fight I I go in there. I hate, I don’t get hey, I’m controlling the range and then I grab ahold of them and I and I stop them, put them out, do whatever I got to do, and it’s quick and I don’t really make a lot of mistakes and he’s super happy about It but I exceed some some mistakes. I, like you my my last fight. I was doing a lot of and plant some more like sidekicks and sidekicks to the knees right, but I was using it as like an offensive weapon so and I think, with a sidekick, but I lunged forward and then he was able to counter. Luckily, you hit my chest, I leaned back and you hit my chest in my shoulder but like against the guy. That may be a little bit better. Probably what I caught me there um. So that’s like there’s little things just like that that I’ve been able to take away from my fight and it will learn from and then it’s funny because, like I spend so much, I spend the vast majority of my time still grappling and wrestling, and he did Too and like before my fights, I’m like oh what, if this guy’s like gon na out grapple me, what you guys gon na grab me and then I grab a hold of them and they feel like kids, oh my god, I grab them. I might all take god like it’s kind of funny. I think everyone has their own little thing of how they get in their own head before their fights and that’s kind of mine. I’M it’s like, I kind of talked myself into thinking, they’re better than what they are, and I think it’s a good thing makes me sharp yeah. It keeps you on your toes and you know prepared, what’s it like working with Drysdale, obviously well-known coach and MMA scene. What’S that relationship been like so at first was no: no, no Jamie, Jamie, Bernhard Joey; no, it’s Joey, it’s Joey, so Joey Varner! When I first moved here from Vegas, he was friends with Sean Spangler. Who was my who’s, a black belt under Rob. He was my jiu-jitsu coach in North Carolina. He had connected me with Joey and Joey. Was the producer free alternate fighter? He was a finite ER at one point, he’s a really really good, striking coach, and so I started working striking with him. While I was training extreme and then it got to the point where all the other jujitsu places I was going at extreme, I was a I just wasn’t getting quite the like grappling that I felt like I needed and Joey kind of introduced me to Robert and Then took me there, I trained one day, another yeah. This is where I got to be because I was getting pushed and then um that would the race should be kind of started. I was just showing up to classes. He wasn’t really coaching me for like him. There or whatever I was just showing up to jujitsu classes right all the time, and I would eventually it got to the point where we we got to know each other a little bit better and then I feel, like I wasn’t getting what I needed in certain Areas of my own, a training, so I asked and they start running like wall wrestling practice for me, so I rounded up some guys and he started running practice for me and then eventually I actually stay in his casita and in his backyard now so I live With them now and takes a lot of stress and financial strain off of me and then so, he’s kind of, like that’s kind of where you kind of like my dad, like he’s one of those dudes that like if he does it, I’m gon na. If he says, if he tells me to do it, I’m gon na do it I’ll do anything for them and it’s a good relationship and then eventually it after my first play, we started talking about starting our own team and building building guys up, and so now We’Ve already done that, so we have the zenith, MMA team out of Drysdale Jiu Jitsu and were like looking up we’re working on like another location or just in a team, and we got some really good guys get up and come organize that and a couple guys Who were already established, but we got a good, solid team of guys here that work well together, but the relationship with me and Rob is, is really good. He’S like one of the five the best coach ever had up until this point him and Shaun, both Shaun was blackballed under him. They, like I having in college they kind of tried to force me to do stuff. I didn’t want to do and just said: do this: do this and don’t give me a reason why and then, if, like, I have to understand what’s happening, so I can learn to write if blindly told me to do something: I’m not gon na get it and I’M stubborn so like it’s hard like he has he’s very intellectual and understands how to how to talk to me to get the best out of me, and I like that, how natural was a transition MMA, because you obviously had a digit soon wrestling very strong wrestling Background how natural was it to like pick up the stand-up game and stuff like that, once I got once so like I was like on and off boxing since I was 18. So then, once I started training full-time, I had like a basic understanding of, and I had a really good boxing coach from the time I was 18 until I got out here, but not a whole lot of there’s a lot of technique. Bag work little bit of sparring here and there, but then um. It was hard at first because you know you go my way through shooting before I didn’t really have any sport before that, and then you know like there’s guys coming out, they’re really good back there and then I’m uh you get to rest and yeah. I just want to try to beat my ass on my feet and like so that was kind of more defense. First there for a while making sure I wasn’t taking damage because I don’t want. I thought I don’t see, I don’t got to prove the knowing. I’M tough already know that a guy, like that’s gon na, do that and I don’t think that’s good for your longevity of your career either. There’S gon na come a time and so I’m very much more like technical, savvy slick, striking I’m not much of a brawler but and then after working with Joey Horner, and now I’m working with duty, Cooper, stand-ups fun. To me, we did a little bit of boxing for today and I I I like boxing a lot more than kickboxing, because it’s like, I know, what’s gon na happen, with kickboxing Muay Thai dish, with a a million different things. I can add that same with him. A boxing is kind of fun and I’ve had the pleasure and very honored to have trained with some really really high-level boxers and learn a lot from that man yeah it’s coming along. It’S not, I will say my strength is my defense. I don’t get here and my movements good, my head movements good, but I could probably be a little bit more offensive. So that’s you know, I’m still young and I’m working on it. But number one thing is to be able to not get hit and put someone on their ass yeah having having a strong defense is important because it especially at this stage in your career, because you can get more fights in all right if you’re not getting hit. You’Re not getting injured, so you can fight more often, you have you’re quite a few fights in 2019 how’s. This quarantine, slowing down your progress. Did you want to fight? Often in 2020 yeah I’ve been signed to LFA SFC tie-in and my first promotion. I thought for wff like wff kind of was great, but it seemed to like they were and big cliff. I mean five to three fights within like a span of like six months. Without I was nice and then I in I signed with Titan and fought for them within like six weeks, but you’d have to talk to my manager and see what he what he thinks about people turning bites down and stuff because it’s kind of hard and then It’S hard when I’m in it I’m in his ear, asking the fight guys who on paper I shouldn’t fight but like I know, I’m ready for it so they’re trying to take it slow, but I’m trying to take it fast and then it’s just hard. I think it’s hard when you have a come big for the wait. I’M tall good grappler for both wrestling in jiu-jitsu, like that’s just even in the UFC guys, don’t want to fight guys like that yeah on the regional scene. It’S even worse. Let’S see what’s the ultimate goal like UFC Bellator is that is that the dream, and how far out do you think you are from from an organization like that yeah the dreams? Definitely the UFC I think, like I had I’ve had opportunity to go other places and I kind of turned them down. I don’t wan na. I want to be at the place where I think I can. My personality will show itself the most to the most people and have and build the biggest platform right. I’M thinking longer term, I don’t want to just have a good UFC career, win, a belt or two and then or go would go to ballot or or wherever and win a belt or two and not have the platform. I need to do things after fighting and I think the UFC has the most eyeballs. So that’s where I want to go and that’s where I think the best competition is. What do you think you have to do to get there? Obviously finishing fights and first round like you, have been, but is there anything else you can do to rush your rush, your way there I thought I had some slick, [, __ ], to say on the mind after my last two fights bro and then I didn’t Like the the promoter, whoever was in charge of it wasn’t doing like post fight interviews, and I had some – I had some [ __ ] lined up. Bro is gon na be funny and then like even after my last play Louis right after I won I went over, I was like looking around like all right, where’s, the mic, someone give me a mic and then afterwards I, like Lex McMahon, came up to me And was like hey, I’m gon na give you the thousand dollar bonus or whatever you know the girl. You got ta, give me a mic next time. It’S way before it’s way more than a thousand bucks come on, so I think it’s going to be. First and foremost, it’s going to be finishing the fight the way I do and then letting my personality just show not try to do anything, fake or stupid, or cheesy or corny, but just kind of be Who I am and see. If people like it um. I guess I was I was hoping for the contender series or hoping for us we’re gon na fight this summer, but uh you know. Are that hard to guess? What’S gon na happen now yeah, I think you’re, one of the most hyped lightweights, at least outside of you, know a major organization, that’s kind of why I reached out. I was like you know. I got ta at least speak to him before he makes it big and then forgets to forgets about us normal folk, but have you thought about even like The Ultimate Fighter? Obviously Dana White just announced the The Ultimate Fighter might be a thing. Is that something that you had down for that? I would love to do that. I would love being I’m telling you right now, though, the dude that live with me are gon na [, __ ] hate me, I think personal, like they’re, not gon na, like it yeah. I think the personality is gon na. It’S it’s it’s suited for you. It’S down your alley and it’s like when I think I spent three years at NC State where we’re living with the team, not whole team, obviously, but we’re with each other. The whole time in, like in college wrestling, you compete for a spot like it’s, not you’re, not just like your friends but you’re, not like, like there’s four guys in my weight class, four guys below me, four guys above me, and all of them want 141 of The three starting spot, there’s like 12 guys trying to take your spot, and so it’s like that’s I’m kind of I think I’m made for it and I think I’m smart enough to be where to prepare the way I would need to without my specific coaches in There, with a brand new set of coaches, I think I think it would suit me really well. The only hard thing would be is without not having my my coaches and my support, but I think my fight IQ is good enough. Where I can, I can go. Do my thing with without it, but yeah I’d love to be another fighter? I was actually I wanted to really wanted to be on that ultimate on that last season of the 55 and 745 in the 55. But I didn’t have enough flights and I was like scrambling to try to get to more fights, because I was want to know at the time, and I couldn’t do it. I want to be on that season. Really bad is there a like? Did they? No one’s mentioned it, but how awesome would it be if it was on fight island? I think it’s just like some old guys. It’S like some hunger game type thing that’d be tight right he’s just like on the beach I think that’d be. I think that beyond what so, obviously what I obviously a lot of wrestlers, the guys like Ben Askren, Daniel Cormier Brock, lesner they’ve, had a lot of success in in March in MMA. What sorts of similarities and differences do you have with guys like that? I can’t remember who did it? Someone wrote an article comparing and comparing me to Ben Askren and I think, that’s probably the fairest comparison and in MMA, like think of another guy, fantastic, probably the fairest comparison. I can’t but there’s a big difference between me and all the other wrestler. I think this is gon na be the new norm. Is that, like I’ve, been doing jiu-jitsu for six years now, and I can attack submissions from literally bottom in literally any position like I’m, like kind of how Ryan Hall does right now, I hope go from standing to a heel hook. I’M kicking pulls that and I think that that style, like the submission hunting, works even better when you’re a good wrestler when you’re straight jiu-jitsu and you’re only playing off your back, and you can’t really control where you’re going. Then it’s harder, but rozzers can control where the grappling taking place on top of the submission skills. I think the big comparison between me and Ben Askren is the control on top um that was kind of my style and wrestling. I was, I don’t know how much you know about wrestling, but I was the guy always choosing top and wrestling I mean like that was I couldn’t take anyone down to save my life in wrestling and we’ve always choosing top and turning and getting reversals and the Scramble ease guy right, so I think, bent by the closest comparison, but I don’t think he quite has the submission skills. Then I’ve been able to develop and that that’s just every single day with world-class guys like dries the old world, champ it’s competing and jiu-jitsu. I should have a win over a guy, that’s ranked at a time, who’s ranked like fourth or fifth in the world if a black belt level enoki, so I can even compete with the guys and that’s all they do. Is you Jitsu and I can beat the guys like that, then I mean they guys kind of feel like four-stroke, alright, wipeout, there’s a there’s. Another college wrestler fighting next weekend on the main event, just engage he who doesn’t choose to wrestle, but he is a very, very, very good wrestler. What’S your prediction for that fight ehe in Ferguson, oh man, I don’t know it’s hard because I so I trained with Kevin Lee for his fight against Tony and then so until Kevin got tired. He was kind of rag, dolling him a little bit yeah, but I do think Kevin’s a different type of athlete than gages and I also don’t think, like Kevin’s uses wrestling in this fight, I think these wrestlers that don’t use their wrestling in their fights. I think there’s a reason for it. A lot of them are good at getting takedowns a lot of them know, though, when they do get it takedown, they don’t know what they’re doing when they’re on the ground, and so it’s kind of a waste of time to go, get a takedown or a waste Of energy, so I’m not saying that Justin’s case, but I think a lot of these guys that that wrestle and are good, wrestlers and good MMA fighters. They kind of fall back and start trying to get good at striking and better at striking that’d be their main focus because when they hit the ground, they don’t really know what to do and they’re, not humble enough to learn jujitsu to to get better at it. Before they were just a takedown guy and they weren’t good on top or anything like that, so I think Tony’s depth we’re gon na have an edge on the grappling. But you know you seen you’ve seen ehe land, a bunch of punches and the dudes don’t go out, and then you also see them with that one knockout power. So it’s kind of hard to tell like sometimes like how do you? How do you not a dude out with one punch and then a lot of your other fights? You hit you hit to do with 300 and they don’t even they really don’t even plant. This get higher like Justin’s kind of a wild card, yeah yeah and then it’s similar with Tony. If he can withstand early on it’s gon na, be his fight. I think so I it’s I’ve been back and forth on both all. Since it’s been announced and every day I come up with, I think of a different, I have a different winner last question, some naanum and make like non MMA stuff. What have you been doing any free time? Obviously you mentioned call of duty. Is there anything on Suzy, you’re watching and then last summer, hos Game of Thrones I’ll watch the whole? I went from nothing about. I knew nothing about Game of Thrones and watched the whole the whole thing. In probably like a month. I really like comedies on on Netflix. That’S what I like. My only favorite thing to do when I go out here in Vegas is have some buddies. Who are comedians and I’ve been invited to a few shows, and then I can I’ll go just random shows now and then, but I love, I love stand-up comedy Adam hunter and Butch Bradley or my are the two that I I could go see the most here And there yes, all right man, I thank you for taking the time. Hopefully this thing clears up, so you can get a fight in soon and start putting together some wins and hopefully we’ll see you on the Ultimate Fighter on an island appreciate it man. Thank you. I’M in all those beasts have a good one.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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