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Paul Buentello Interview: A Headhunter for sure

Sometimes nicknames just don't fit. However, when it comes to Paul "The Headhunter" Buentello, the term 'Headhunter' fits just fine. After all, he isn't much for takedowns, as you'll soon hear.

And his 23-9 record was formed on the basis of 16 (T)KO's. What's more, he holds seven submission victories, four of which were due to fight-ending strikes.

So as Buentello gets ready to take on Alistair Overeem -- an outstanding striker in his own right -- at the Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives event on November 16th,'s Robert Rousseau got the chance to pick his brain for awhile concerning his upcoming fight and more. How's training been going?

Paul Buentello: Very good. I'm actually in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Greg Jackson's Gym getting some high altitude training. That's awesome. Who have you been training with?

Paul Buentello: Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Mike Seal. . . This guy from England, he's pretty sharp. A big light heavyweight named Tom Kong. This guy's a beast. Really. I'm not aware of him at this point, maybe because he's from England.

Paul Buentello: Yeah, he fights in Cage Rage. Alistair Overeem may be the most explosive striker you've faced since Arlovski. How do you think your striking compares to his?

Paul Buentello: He's not one- dimensional or anything. He (utilizes) a lot of excellent kicks. So, I'm kind of curious how I'm going to adjust to that, because he throws a lot of knees and comes pretty hard with them. Do you see any scenario at all where this fight could end up on the ground at some point?

Paul Buentello: I don't know. I've never taken anybody down in over thirty matches so I'm not looking for a takedown. (Laughing) And he doesn't tend to do that either. I've seen it once or twice but not very often.

Paul Buentello: Exactly. I think we're interesting. Everything changes when you have those smaller gloves on. I've noticed that the kickboxers don't like to exchange very well with those smaller gloves on. Along with that, in your last fight against Carter Williams you knocked out a kickboxing champion. Coming into that fight, is that how you thought things might go down? Did you think you could do that to him?

Paul Buentello: No. I had no idea. I thought he was going to come out with more kicks and stuff. But basically what I wanted to do was hold off and wait and try to isolate his kicks. The game plan we had worked good; I think his game plan fell out the window. He actually took you down and tried to continue along those lines in more than one instance, which was really surprising to me.

Paul Buentello: Yeah, right off the bat he took me down. This is kind of a hard question. When you get in close, it just has always seemed to me that the punches you throw tend to be more pinpoint and accurate than most adversaries. Am I making an accurate statement, and if so how do you pull that off?

Paul Buentello: One thing I've learned is that you always throw your punches (by asking yourself) what's the fastest way to a straight line. . . It's always fastest if you throw right down the middle. You've won ten of your last eleven MMA fights. Do you feel that you're somewhat underrated at this point?

Paul Buentello: No, I just think I fell off the map a little bit. I don't think I'm underrated. Fighting for Strikeforce, it's not the main show right now. That's the only thing: I just fell off the map a little bit. I don't think I'm underrated at all. How much would you like a rematch with Andrei Arlovski someday?

Paul Buentello: I'd still take the rematch. Right now at this point, I don't think he would. It would be nice to have the rematch but between one and ten? I'll take the rematch?(but) probably five it. It's just totally going to be a different fight now. It was awhile back. Speaking of taking you back, when you defeated Bobby Hoffman at KOTC in that second fight against him, what did that do for your confidence? That was a really big fight for you at that time.

Paul Buentello: Confidence wise, it didn't do much. But what it did do was (help me) come up with a better game plan. If you remember that fight, he got tired. I was (also) tired. Crazy Bob Cook told me it's a mental game because I had to show him that I wasn't tired. When you're resting between the rounds you kind of keep your feet moving, your hands moving, (and) show him you're not tired. (It's) a mental game. How much does winning this fight mean to you and your career right now?

Paul Buentello: I think it's a plus. It's a tough fight no matter what way you look at it. And that's what we wanted. We tried to go after another guy. . . That would've been a real barnburner but we couldn't get him (because) he was already fighting in another show. So Alistair Overeem was right there and my manager thought it would be a good fight. He's certainly a big name and he's beaten some good guys. In fact, even when he's lost?for the first few minutes of the fight? he always looks good. He's a very strong starter, how do you plan on combating that?

Paul Buentello: Just meet him in the middle. Everybody is a strong starter at the beginning. . . Don't give him any respect in the middle of the cage. Do you have a prediction for the fight, Paul?

Paul Buentello: My hands will be raised. I don't see this fight going past the first round. I'm pretty accurate on that point. You never know; he's going to be tough; he's going to bring it every time. I think it's all going to change when the small gloves are slipped on and we start exchanging punches. I'm used to it; I'm not afraid of the small gloves. I think it's going to change for him. Anything you want to say to the fans?

Paul Buentello: You want to check out updates, you want to see what's going on with me, sign up at my website for the monthly video newsletter. Good luck and we're looking forward to seeing the fight.

Paul Buentello: I appreciate it.

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