Ep. #108 – Jared Vanderaa

Jared Vanderaa is a mixed martial artist who competes in the heavyweight division of the UFC. The former SMASH Global and EFC Worldwide Heavyweight champion is 11-4 as a professional which includes ten stoppage victories.


Jared Vanderaa: And we are back with the 108th edition of the quarantine cast. I’M super excited for this one. We have jared van buren who just won on the contender series earning a ufc contract, so i’m really really excited to have him on um without further ado here he is how you doing man i’m doing good yourself, not too bad. How uh? How have you been doing with the the quarantine and the pandemic and everything? Obviously, uh things went in your way this past week, but overall, how have you been doing uh busy um so the first couple of months once the quantity hit i stayed home, put on a lot of weight like everyone else did but half the reason why i Was i knew once the quarantine was over? I was going to be really busy. I was opening up a new business. I actually took on another business, so i was like [ __ ], i’m going to be busy so for the first couple of months. I didn’t do a lot and then my girlfriend and my business partner. She was like hey, you need to start working on the gym, so we started working on them boom boom boom and by mid-june they’re like hey, you could open up, so we opened up business and we haven’t closed sense, even though we’re technically close uh, but yeah. No, we’ve been open, uh i’ve been training and doing everything since so now that’s changed for me, how was your? How was your training overall throughout the whole thing? I mean a lot of people: you’d heard that they were doing cardio rather than getting proper sparring in, but but for you, how was that it was good for the most part. It was pretty solid. I it was just. It was a really prolonged camp and then the last minute change opponent. I felt like really mentally screaming out for my fight, but i mean training wise. I i have my partner sam who’s constantly in the gym at least he’s in the gym he’s a body for me and i’m body for him. I was helping him get ready for his fights. He helped me get ready for this fight uh jamal, so we’ve had people constantly busy, so it hasn’t really affected me too much my day-to-day life pretty much the same as last year. It’S just you know. I did take a couple months off because i knew i was going to be really busy. I was gon na hit the ground running type of thing, so i just need to take that mental break and i’m back at it again i mean hell. I’Ve already got a fight scheduled for december 12th. I do want to touch a little bit about that opponent change i mean you were originally supposed to fight coda and then i think it was on four days notice. Was it that harry that didn’t um, so how? How does that? How does it affect you mentally? I mean it’s, it’s arguably the biggest fight of your career uh. You have some big titles, but you know the contender series really is about that platform to the ufc and on four days notice they tell you. Oh opponent change: how does that affect you mentally? For me? I actually was. It was kind of a weird sense of relief because i was like because i’ve been literally like thinking about this guy for like 18 [ __ ] weeks. So for me to like not have to worry about what he may or may not be doing. I was like all right: let’s, let’s switch this [ __ ] up. Let’S do it uh. The only downside was. I was kind of prepping for a chess match on the feet for the first fight, like i expected offshore, hit big and hit hard, but not like bull rushed me like. I was in that my fight with uh – oh my god, harry um, so i was like it kind of threw me off, but at the same time i mean i had i quickly once i felt that clinch i was like oh, this is where i need to Take him down and beat him up so yeah, so i took him down, beat him up there. So how do you? How do you assess your performance? Overall i mean it was. It was a quick finish. You got it done um, but you know overall. Are you pleased with the way you performed? No, no. I’M going to be like my striking is far better than what i displayed and anyone can give me [ __ ] for it online rightfully so i’ve i’ve watched it several times and there was some all right moments. I i could be very honest with myself all right moments: uh out loud uh – oh my god, uh harry – to hit me a few times. Uh too many i like i wasn’t like. I just did all the wrong things that i wasn’t supposed to um now, but i mean again. I was also expecting to play a chess match with oscar not play check yeah, so i you know i mean i easily adapted though, and yeah like i got. The first round of tko and yeah – i got i got it, were you uh? I mean it was a great night of fights. I mean four or four finishes um some spectacular head kicks when you were sitting back watching the other fights. Were you a little nervous? Knowing that how well they were doing, or were you confident in your performance that you would have gotten a contract uh? No, i was a little nervous uh i mean keep kick after t kick to the face. That is hard like, like that’s some hard [ __ ]. To do, and i mean i didn’t get like the spectacular like like because i’m not one of those like i’m a big dude, but i’m not that, oh i wan na. I don’t have that francis the kind of power where i just rush and just touch you you die. I actually have to put in some work where are like greg hardy, who who’s athletic, and he just has a big arm that he hits you within a lot of people fall to that i don’t. I don’t have those tools, but what is it so? I was like, ah i don’t know if they’re gon na call me, but i’m like i know i got my first round finish: um and yeah. I was like. Maybe just maybe i could get this contract and you know sure enough. They’Re like yeah, come join us like all right, [, __, ] yeah hopes that i’m happy with. Let’S be real here like maybe if i was like 135 or something like that, that’d be a no-go, but no because i’m a heavyweight, i think they’re like yeah. We need some bigger dude, i’m. I know i’m still on the young side of that vision. Still weirdly enough. A lot of them are in their mid to late 30s. How do you assess the division? Overall, i mean i find right now. The heavyweight division is uh as shallow as it’s ever been in the ufc i mean the heavyweight division you go back. 10 years was crazy. I mean they had everybody from randy couture to to mark coleman. How do you, how do you assess it right now, and do you think that uh that makes things easier for you to get up into the top 15 and make a name for yourself? I think getting the top 15 is easy. Now, with that being said, the top 15 anyone anyone the heavyweight division could beat, i think anyone, but in the top 15 it’s even a little more of a hair thin line, the only person that could really like i, i really could see everyone capable of beating Anyone on any other night, i i see easily blaze, you know becoming a champ uh, francis soon um. I would always like to see over him before he retires to become a champ uh, like you got enough guys in there that could easily in the top 10 top 15 beat anyone, and then you got like someone like linux and for doom who aren’t going to Most likely knock you out, but they have the capabilities of choking you out there there’s their presence is still felt just in a different way, so i think our heavyweight division, especially in the top 15, and i could even say in like top 20, there are some Monsters out there that you know we’re not looking too much in it like like this weekend or laosi, is fighting tanner uh bosnia yeah, i like tanner, i, like i, don’t know i have a. I have a good feeling about him. I think i’m gon na run run into him. Eventually i don’t mind i i have nothing bad to say about the guy. I you seem like a cool dude. I just don’t know how he weighed like 2 35, because i felt like we were the same size. I was like hey, you look like you’re 270 wait and i’m like oh hell. No, so after your fight i mean you already had names on the top of your mouth, like you’re, already ready to go ready to fire them up. One of those names was sergey. Spivak – and that is the guy – you were fighting december 12th. What was it about him that uh that intrigued you, and why do you think, you’re a good match-up for him uh? Well, it’s just again like i said he kind of ran from, i won’t say he ran for me on the regional circuit he might have. I don’t know i assume his coaches did. I think his coaches or his manager was like hey. Let’S try to get you in the ufc first, once you get in the ufc fight, but i think they were kind of hand picking his fights. I don’t know these are all assumptions, i’m not talking anything about his character. I’Ve met the guy, yet uh, but so with that being said, you know i like he. I was scheduled to fight him. He backed out for whatever reason, and i want that fight. I don’t know he seems like a fun fight like i like, like stand up wise. I think i have him be now on the ground by like by. Like i think skill, i would want to say me because that’s just who i am but he’s not a it’s not gon na, be easy, walk in the park with sergey, i think he’s a black belt in judo and i’m very confident going against judo fighters, because One of my training partners for like years was uh terry sokuju, yep uh, who happens to be a black belt in judah and yeah, and i mean i also come from a gym – that’s kind of famous for its greco-roman uh wrestler uh dan henderson. So i’m kind of used to being around that type of environment of being thrown. So so i definitely think i could match very well against that style, but i mean it to act like it’s going to be. An easy fight would be a full full van on my end, so i’m taking this fight um. My goal is to look better than i did in my contender series fight, be on point and you know try to win my first ufc fight. You talked about dan henderson’s, how significant and how? How big of a role did that gym play into your success so far um it played, i would say, a decently large part. It’S just you know we don’t have as many big guys as it used to be. It used to be like just 185 and up just monsters, master monsters, but now it’s just me: uh sam dominic, reyes and jamal pogues. That’S four one heavyweight three light heavyweights and that’s [ __ ], because i’m all alone, but you know we we got. I got the i mean, like i said, like a dominant face. He can’t he kind of famous he’s kind of known, you know he’s also in the ufc and then uh. I actually think out of all three of those guys, oh pokes he’s like he’s, like 24. biggest help, my cam the hardest worker uh, the dude’s, going to be on the he’s going to be in the uf better than later and he’s going to put a lot Of people on notice um, i mean, i know his style – isn’t the most flashy bang stuff, but he boxing’s crisp and stupid, and his wrestling his wrestling’s got the best of me twice. We used to fight on the amateur circuit, so his wrestling has always been top notch, so i can’t wait to see all come in and [ __ ] kill the light heavyweight division. Do you think the key to uh to fighter success in the future is a smaller gym? I mean you’re, seeing it from so many other gems right now that the smaller the gym, the more tight-knit they are, the better the fighters end up being. Do you feel that uh as well, i think, there’s always a plus and minuses to both uh, like i’m, like my my my coach zach, isn’t like a technically a head coach at dance. I chose zach because i like how his mind thinks i like how he teaches me striking. Is that a discretion of the other coaches there? No it’s just. I found who’s going to benefit me the most and i’m and he’s helped me rise. I’M not saying anything! Negative towards the other coaches – it’s just. I found what works for me and because me and him have that connection it. It seems like we have a smaller affair of interactions versus him, having like 20 30, guys that he has to watch out, for he deals with just me and a few of the smaller amateurs and that’s his focus. It’S me and a few amateurs. It’S not a big deal, whereas you get like these, like really famous coaches, that have like five guys that, like are like 25 guys now, they’re, just strong, like just spread so thin that they can’t really do too much. So i mean i just happen to have someone i really like. I, like his knowledge, be able to coach me at a bigger gym. Now i am him. My coach also knows that i’m not afraid to ask people questions. I will go up to him like hey uh in class today. What did you see me do wrong or hey? Can we go over this again, like that’s, like i’m, not afraid to ask questions, because i know i’m only limit limited to my coaches knowledge. So i try to broaden my knowledge by asking other coaches yeah yeah. It’S a good point. I think i think you brought up a good point that different coaches mesh better with certain people who you might find benefits. You may not benefit someone like francis or dominic or so on and so forth. I have a couple personal questions. I i was reading a piece on you today, a humanizing uh article that kind of talked about some of your favorite things. The one thing that stood out to me is your favorite. Animal is a lemur that is also my favorite animal. So what is it about a lemur that you like so much? I don’t know it’s just like, maybe like their stature but they’re like so powerful, like like i like to see [ __ ] like there was jumping ranges like 30 feet from stationary, i’m like that. That is some hops all right just and but they have that much muscle to hop about 30 feet but they’re like the laziest animal on the planet. I’M like goals the goals uh, it’s just they’re they’re, i don’t know they’re. Also i’m a big. I like the primate family, and i just because they’re they’re like the lowest of the primate family, but it’s just one of those weird species where they have just enough diversity. There kind of makes them mesmerizing too, and i think my first attraction and i think most people would be a ringtail lamer, yep and yeah. So i just you know i like when i was in south africa. I legitimately was looking at one of my coaches. Like madagascar was only two hour flight it closed and i could touch a lemur. I i looked at like i kind of like really thought about buying a ticket. Then i saw a giant sign saying: hey warning madagascar has been affected by the plague. I’M like i like lemurs, but i definitely don’t want to play so that ended that that thought real, quick but yeah. I just don’t know it’s just an animal that came to enjoy. You talked about south africa. Another place a dream destination of yours is japan. Is that somewhere you’d want to go for fighting or more personal reasons? I can think about all the reasons why someone would want to compete there, whether it’s saitama arena, all the history with pride. Is that a place you want to compete or is that a place you’d rather go and visit? I oh yeah, so uh yeah, both uh one, i kind of cliche, i’m a giant anime nerd, so yeah. I would love to just visit japan uh, but one like japan has a lot to offer outside of the anime realm their history, the shinto religion itself, is actually one of the more of my favorite like mythos. To like look in it’s close, like the only one. I actually like i can kind of relate to reminds me a lot of the north mythology for some reason, but it’s just i like i like that, so i would always love to go visit. Apples their history is just so rich, then. Yes, when it comes to fighting the fighting, history is just one of the deepest parts of like mma history, so i would love to fight against tomorrow. That would be old for myself. If it happens, it happens if it doesn’t cool, i’m gon na be upset and then, like i said, i’m a giant nerd. So i’m gon na, like visit like some longer cafes uh, do all that uh and then they have the unicorn gundam statue now. So i want to go see that and then i believe they have a real operating gundam that moves and i’m a giant gundam fan. I have multiple gundam kids, so yeah that i just lose my mind. I want to talk about the the contender series fight. All the titles you’ve won, every fight, you’ve had there’s been so many great moments. Is there one that stands out more than the other? Is the contender series, like the biggest one to date, or was it winning a world title uh in africa? What was the biggest moment of your career that that one’s tough, because i mean i don’t like i tried – not to take this for granted, so i do appreciate a lot of the moments um like i i’m there there’s a lot like. I think, like one of the biggest ones for me, was just like the opera, the opportunity to go pro they’re like hey. I know this is quick, but hey. We have a last minute heavyweight, that’s, oh! No! He wants to fight professionally and do you want to take it, and i was like: am i ready? I’M, like you know what i’m feeling good and like that opportunity came knocking, and it’s just it’s one of those moments that feels kind of like now, very surreal. Like i was just like, did that really happen to me? Is this actually happening and sure enough? It did it happened, and i don’t regret it like i’m like this moment right now. It feels very surreal, i’m in the ufc, and it feels kind of surreal. I’M just like all right. Well, this actually happened to me. I’M like i guess it is all right! Well, cool! Thank you. Let me appreciate it. Hopefully, your debut goes as as well as that uh debut pro fight, because it ended in 29 seconds yeah. Well. Granted. No no offense, like no offense to my first opponent, if sergey can’t last 29 seconds. No, i i’d be surprised. All right. I’D be i’d honestly, be surprised, like i found out that dude was a professional boxer, so i really worked on my hands in that fight and but he only relied on his boxing. So i pushed him against the fence and i was like elbow and he fell to the ground and i choked him i’m like. Oh, this was an easy night out my face hurt though holy [, __ ]. It was like i i i don’t know how many times i was hit. I just knew my face hurt. I was like what the [ __ ] my jaw yeah like i just remember. It was so fast how many times they get hit. My face hurts what the [ __ ]. I want to ask one last question, then i’ll. Let you go. There’S a big fight coming up for the we’re gon na go complete opposite sides, we’re going from heavyweight division down to flyweight. There’S a big title fight coming up, alex perez challenging uh davidson figuero. Do you have a prediction for that fight, uh, alex perez by ud or submission? Do you do you have a? How is he going to win it? Is it? Is it just going to be a dominant? Is it going to be a close fight and what is it about his game plan or his his fighting style that you think is going to beat davidson? I really i i just know him. I i used to do uh conditioning with him out out in huntington uh with cory, belize and stuff, like that, so i met alex cheeto and all that, so i just i got ta put my support on alex. You know uh and i believe, uh from what i’ve gathered from talking to chito analysts. They wrestle hawaii and they do have high levels of jiu jitsu there. So that’s my assumption, uh, but i mean i believe that alex has been a wrecking ball in the flyway division. So i just you know i hope the best for alex for granted. I’M not gon na lie. I barely watch anyone under like go ahead. All right. Last question: man: is there anybody you want to plug any sponsors? You want to thank and uh. What can people expect from you on december 12th uh a better performance than my contender series performance, uh sponsors, not just yet i’m kind of like a little hazy on that. So i’m sorry to any or all of them that i may or may not have uh. But yeah expect a better performance. Uh, it’s going to be a great fight. Uh expect the best sergey expect the best me uh way better than what i had planned for the contender series and yeah uh. And if you want to follow me or talk to me, social media is jared van, dare on all platforms, twitter, instagram, facebook and tick tock, so yeah all right man. Thank you very much. For the time you had a hell of a performance. You got it done early and hopefully we can uh. Hopefully we can see more of the same uh come december. Yeah, that’s the plan! Thank you all right, man, all the best stay safe. You too, all right. There we have it jared vendera huge fan of his. He had a hell of a performance on wednesday uh yeah wednesday, because it was election day was tuesday, so he had a. He had a hell of a performance on wednesday and expect more things from him. Um huge fan of his um, all the best guys stay safe, make sure you guys donate if you haven’t to um movember. I remember i’m raising money for prostate cancer and, if you haven’t yet make sure you like comment and subscribe and we’ll see you guys later,

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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