Former UFC welterweight Pete Spratt says this is the "second half" of his career and he's not letting an undefeated local prospect nor a public feud with a promoter stand in his way.
This Friday, Spratt (19-15) will meet Nathan Gunn (7-0) in a fight promoted by the Maximum Fighting Championship in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, an organization he previously swore off due to a "horrendous" experience at MFC 15 in February 2008.
In the interview below with FanHouse, Spratt talks about the restart of his fight career at 38 and explains why he chose to stick around with the MFC despite his strong differences with promoter Mark Pavelich.
Ray Hui: How has training been coming along?
Pete Spratt: Quite well actually. I'm excited, I got a good core group of guys that I train with, so it's been going well.
Who are the guys you're training with now?
Same people [I've been training with]. My jiu-jitsu with Rodrigo Pinheiro, my boxing with (former WBC champion) James Leija and my main sparring partner Aaron Rosa from Strikeforce.
How's rehab going with the knee?
It's going well. I'm doing quite well to be seven weeks out from surgery. Things are going good. I'm able to roll, I'm able to wrestle, I'm able to box so everything's good. It's not quite 100%, it's probably 85% or so but 85% is probably good enough for a lot of the guys I face, so we'll actually see what happens on fight night.
You're known for your striking and it's been 18 months since your last knockout, do you get an itch for a knockout win when you've gone an extended period without?
I'm willing to take whatever comes. If a knockout comes fine, if a submission comes fine, but I very seldom go to the [score]cards, so if a decision is inevitable, then it is, but I'm always looking for the knockout. It's not something that I'm just shooting for because the knockout always comes – you can never push for it. It just comes.
Have you gotten a chance to scout Nathan Gunn?
No, haven't gotten a chance to scout him. Don't know anything about him. It's really not that big of a deal. I've fought some of the best in the world so he's not going to bring anything different that I've never seen before.
I do know that he has a full-time job and he fits his training during lunch and evenings. You have the luxury of teaching MMA in addition to training. Do you think it's tougher for an up-and-comer these days like Nathan to juggle a job and fight since MMA has gotten increasingly competitive?
I think it's tough to an extent but he's been very successful thus far with his training situation being the way it is. I can't say it's any tougher or less tougher for him being in this situation because he's been successful. Maybe the guys he was fighting was in the same situation that he was in, doing a full-time job and that type of thing. We'll see what happens when he faces a guy that pretty much trains all day long.
You're by far the most successful and experienced guy Nathan has ever fought. The last time you fought at the MFC, similar situation, they matched you up against an undefeated local favorite. Do you think a win over Nathan will be a redemption of sorts?
I'm not in a position to be thinking about redemption or anything like that. He's just another opponent that's standing in front of me. It just so happens that he's one of their guys and we've been in this situation before. It is what it is, but at the end of the day I'm going there to fight and it really doesn't matter who it is that's across the ring. Whether he's an up-and-comer or an experienced veteran, I'm just looking to go in there and have a better performance than what I had the last time I was there.
After your MFC fight against Ryan Ford, you publicly questioned promoter Mark Pavelich's professionalism, calling him "classless," that he has "no character" and saying that you would never associate yourself with him or his promotion. What brought you back to the MFC and have you two made up?
I haven't talked to him directly. That's something that was handled between my manager and him. I'm sure I'll end up speaking to Mark when I get out there. But as far as coming back, the MFC is one of those shows that gets a pretty good amount of media attention other than the UFC and Strikeforce. So in regards to being able to maximize my earning potential it was only inevitable that if I wasn't fighting in another promotions to go back there and get a decent opportunity. I've got a decent three-fight deal and with all the TV exposure I'll be able to make added income off sponsorships because nowadays the sponsors are not paying unless you're on TV. Business-wise it was a good opportunity for me.
We've seen guys like Phil Baroni and Frank Trigg, fighters around your time in the UFC, recently sign deals to return to the Octagon. Do you keep in touch with Joe Silva?
I keep in touch with Joe sparingly. The UFC is selective with who they sign, who they bring back and who they want back, and if the opportunity presents itself I'm sure I'll look at it very closely to make sure it's the right decision. But if not, I'm content with where I am with my three-fight deal with MFC and still being able to fight at any other promotion that's being promoted in the United States.
What are your goals at this stage of your fight career?
At this stage, I look at it as the second half of my career. So for me, technically, my career began again back in June. So I'm looking at it that I'm 1-0 and I'm starting my new career and I'm looking to go 2-0 and see how far I can take it. I've made the statement a couple of times that I want to be the next Randy Couture, and me being 38-years-old, soon to be 39, I feel like I'm in great shape and I finally had surgery to repair my knee [and I got] a couple of little injuries that I need to get taken care of. But once I get back to 100%, I think I can make a decent run at a title, whether it's with the MFC or any of the other promotions.