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Ben Saunders to Give Fans a 'Good Scrap' Against Marcus Davis

Ben Saunders made an impression last December when he destroyed Brandon Wolff with knees, but after falling short in his next fight in June to Mike Swick, Saunders will have to wait longer to be considered a contender as he now has to reestablish himself in the welterweight ranks.

In this exclusive interview with FanHouse, Saunders talks about fighting Marcus Davis at UFC 106 and learns through this interview of friend War Machine's new career in the adult film industry.

Ray Hui: On paper, this fight has Fight of the Night written all over it. How important for you is it to entertain as well as perform to the best of your fighting abilities?

Ben Saunders: In all honesty, performing is definitely up there. Entertainment-wise for the fans. That seems to be my no. 1 job of all-time. At the end of the day, when you're fighting for the UFC, you could lose numerous fights in a row, as long as you go out there and put it all on the line and put on a good performance and show for the crowd. That seems to be the deciding factor, so I can say [entertaining] is one of my no. 1 priorities.

When you yourself in the shoes of a fan, what's the most important quality of a fighter, when you're watching fights?

The people that I look up to the most are so ridiculously good at being technical. That alone is going to bring the entertainment value through the roof. Anderson Silva, granted some of his performances, some people have say have been not that great, but for the most part that guy is so ridiculously amazing with his technique and so on point with everything that he goes out there and his showmanship is automatically going to be entertaining.

Who are you working with for this fight?

We got some southpaws that we have me specifically work with for Davis that are good at mimicking his style. I've been working with Paul Rodriguez, Esteban Ramos and a number of other guys from American Top Team that are either southpaws or can switch it up for me.

Every time Marcus fights, seems like both guys can expect to be banged up by the end of the night. How do you approach a fighter like that?

Dude, I love it man. I respect him tremendously and I've met him on numerous occasions. He's real professional and a very, very nice guy. And for that reason alone, I'm really honored to fight him. And the fact that he likes to stand and bang. We're similar a lot in that we're both martial artists. We enjoy every aspect of the sport but I'd say as far as what we like to do is put on a show for the crowd and give a good scrap for the fans.

Davis last fought in a loss to Dan Hardy. Davis claims he won, how did you score that fight?

It was a close fight. He definitely had an argument, I guess you can say. I'd say the third round was really the deciding factor and was really close. He was the aggressor with that footlock, kneebar and anklelock and when that ended up not working for him and he ended up on the bottom. That's what probably ended up giving Hardy the edge cause Hardy ended up being on top for the remainder of that round. On top of that, he ended up cutting him, and that's what Davis does. He cuts easily so unfortunately, that probably worked against him. He ended up losing the decision and nonetheless it was a split decision so that probably gives him more reason why he's arguing it.

You're also coming off a loss -- the first in your career. How did you mentally deal with that? How did you bounce back from that?

To be honest, I just underperformed. That wasn't me in there that night. It wasn't much go watch the video and see what you did wrong and what you could have done right. I mean bottom line is, I knew for a fact I didn't fight up to my potential and I felt at the end of the fight, pretty much why I got caught was because of my mentality going into the fight, win, lose or draw.

I want to be entertaining. I want the crowd to enjoy seeing me fight. Unfortunately with that fight, the crowd didn't seem to enjoy it at all. That was on both of our behalf, and because of that I tried to be a little more aggressive and I threw an outside leg kick that I honestly when I threw it, I just knew it wasn't right timing and distance and the right technique to throw at the time, but I was just trying to give the crowd a little something -- more entertainment, action to the fight and I ended up being clipped. And that's just what happened and it was bad judgment on my part.

There was part where you two threw in some trash-talking during the fight. Was that the first time you exchanged words in the middle of a fight?

Yeah it definitely was. Actually, I was on the verge of saying, "let's stand back up" and he cut me off in the process, and he said, "hey man, are you going f---in' hold me all night?" and I didn't approve of the way he was speaking to me so I was like, "let's stand back up, b---h!"

It was mainly the boos that was frustrating to me. I understand that I wasn't doing much but I'm the one on my back and [Mike] was the one on top. Why are you screaming do something when you're the one keeping us in this position for the most part.

Your last fight was against Swick, who is one of the contenders for the welterweight title, so an argument can be made that you were fights away from title shot. Where do you see yourself now in the current standings?

My mentality is that no one can beat me. Even if you beat me on a given night, you beat me on that night, but we'll do it again and I'll show you [differently]. My mentality is that no one can make me fear them. In that sense, mentally, I can take anybody. Unfortunately, it goes by performance, it goes by statistics and records, and who you fought, and who you won against and how you won. And under those rules, I'm probably not very high up there as far as what the fans might think. But I've been a hard worker all my life and I've worked my ass off to get where I am right now and I just feel if I can perform against Davis the way I can, that will definitely put my name back up there as a title contender. And then whoever they want to give me, bring it.

Finally, I wanted to get your take ont his because you've developed a friendship with War Machine from your days with him on The Ultimate Fighter 6. What are your thoughts on his recent career choice? This interview was conducted a week after War Machine spoke about his entry into the adult industry.

What do you mean his career choice?

He entered the adult industry.


Yeah, he did.

No [way] cause I talked to him like -- we frequently talked. I had no clue. He's now in adult entertainment? Like porn?

Yeah, he's already shot a film or two.

What the hell -- [Laughs.] Ah, to be honest, it makes sense. I know the guy pretty well. I wouldn't put it past him. That seems to be right up there with his fight career, as far as, what does he like to say, "laying b---hes or whatever, man." He likes to have sex with numerous women all the time. That seems to be his second career. [Laughs.] That's hilarious that you tell me that now.

Hey, good for him! Cause if it works for him, if he can balance the two and make it work for him, then more power to him. I don't think that works well as far as getting him back in the UFC, cause they might not necessarily condone that, but I don't know if that would affect his career with other organizations. Hopefully it doesn't, but more power to him.

His reasoning was that pretty much burned his bridges with the UFC and he was tired of living paycheck by paycheck, so he's making money through adult films.

[Laughs.] That's too funny, man.

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