« Inside the head of » ep02: Scott Askham

The two-time BAMMA Middleweight champion is making his way through the UFC as he signed his first UFC victory last week-end in Berlin, where he faced Antonio Dos Santos Jr in the UFC Fight Night 69 prelims. The tall Middleweight of 27 years old just beautifully knocked the Brazilian out in the very first round, in an exciting fashion; a perfectly-time upercut when Antonio rushed in, followed by some brutal knees until the referee stepped in. All of that happened in front of a lot of his dressed up fans who all brought a great atmosphere to the event. Congratulations to them.

Let’s get to know this English father of one little girl, who fights for a living.

360-mma.com: How does it feel when the UFC calls you and offers you a fight ? How do you react, and what’s happening in the next 10-15 minutes after the call ? 

Scott Askham: This time I did not know my opponent so it was straight to YouTube to find some of his fights. Other then that it’s just letting my wife and parents know who he is and, of course, my coaches. I watch a few tapes but don’t get too caught up in what he does and always go out to implement my game and what I do good. 

As a tall Middleweight, do you spend a lot of time working on your « style » – fighting tall, or is it just natural and you’d consider you train like any other fighter ?
I would not say I spend time on « fighting tall » so must come natural … I also would not say « size » matters BUT reach can play a big part.

Your UFC debut was your first and only loss of your career. How did you feel after this decision ? Was it, mentally, easy for you to come back from it ? Did it motivate you in your last fight ?
Motivated me massively!! All that was on my mind was getting that UFC win; it meant so much to me. It was far from easy but well worth the work.

During the fight week in Berlin, how did you feel ? There’s a lot of things to do; is that fun or exhausting ? What’s going through your mind when you run into your opponent in the halls ?
I think some of it keeps the mind occupied as you are focusing on your weight cut and it’s good to keep a little busy rather then been sat in the room 24/7. I always can’t wait to see my opponent because you can’t visualize their size on tv so can’t wait to see them.

I believe weight cut is really dangerous. What’s your opinion about weight cut ? Do you think it’s part of the sport or you’d like the UFC to find a solution and regulate it to a minimum ? Do you yourself have any idea of how it could be removed to have everybody fighting at their own natural weight ?
I think it’s part of the sport. I also think some people get too caught up in cutting weight! For example say you got two people fighting at 70kg on the day they both weigh in 70. Say one goes up to 77kg other 80kg. It’s only 3 kgs who cares? You spar with people heavier all camp. It’s only 3kgs.

Scott is indeed making a good point, here. Some fighters waste a lot of energy in cutting weight, just to have a few pounds advantage, which is nothing. Just look at the heavyweight division; the last 3 champions were nowhere near the 260 lbs limit. Some of them even get to the fight still in a dehydrated state, making them way easier to knock unconscious. Anyway, the former BAMMA champion had a cool weight cut and put on a show during the weigh in:

Scott Askham staredown Antonio Dos SantosI loved the show you put on in Berlin and the weighin. Can you describe me what are your thoughts when you are on the scale in front of so many people ? Then, you rushed to Antonio, went forehead on forehead. What is going through your mind during the staredown ? Was it for the show, or was there any kind of animosity between you guys ?
I would not say it’s for show – yeah maybe a little – but also 100% no animosity. It’s just trying to get the upper hand on your opponent and letting them know come Saturday night what they are in for. There is a awesome picture of me and Antonio after we had a little chat and he also talked to my family too. We are athletes on Friday it’s all business. After show I will talk to any opponent with respect.

Indeed, I’ve seen that picture. It’s really cool, how come he is laughing ?
He did not speak much English but he had nothing but nice stuff to say about me and my fans and I thanked him and had a little chat. We are both laughing on the picture because he is on his tip toes but you can’t see that bit.

Your fans. They were FUCKING awesome. I’m gutted I didn’t have the chance to talk to them. Anyway, who are they ? Relatives ? Friends ? Just fans ? Are they going to be there everytime you fight ? By the way, I love how they showed respect to Antonio after the fight; that was one of the greatest moment in MMA; great display of fair-play !
Scott Askham fansThank you they truly are great and love all the positive feed back I get on them. They all love putting on a show as well and of course supporting me. It’s a mixture of friends and family mainly; my wife and mam and dad rest are all God friends. We live in a small town and have a close knit of friends that all get behind me. Yes, my wife and mam and dad said how nice Antonio was and he came up to them and gave them a cuddle I believe. Antonio is a gent! Really nice guy.

After the weigh in, what do you do ? Go for a walk and a dinner outside with your team or chill in your room alone ? Are you thinking a lot about the fight ? How good is your  sleep before the fight ?
First thing is rehydrate. I have my coaches that prepare my meals and hydration. They tell me everything to do. Then we chill out in the hotel and go out for a meal at the evening. I always sleep good! Part of the prep is a good nights sleep.

Once you get to the arena before the fight, what do you have to do before warming up ? How do you warm up ? Do you take breaks to watch the fights before yours ?
Urine test and eat if it’s time to eat. That’s about it really. Other then hand raps and gloves, I suppose. Never really watch the fights; I like to watch other people in the room warm up see how they do it. Because everyone warms up different. Just been nosey really. This time I was on early so was pretty much straight into my warm up.

What is going through your mind during the walkout ? When Andy announces you, do you even listen to him or you’re already focused a 100% in your fight ?
I could not wait to get in the cage! I knew it was my time. Every thing had gone perfect in terms or prep. I just felt ready and could not wait to get it on. When I’m announced, I am only focusing on my opponent and that’s it.

Scott Askham kick ADSAnd ready he was. The fight started pretty quickly; the Brazilian didn’t want Scott to feel comfortable nor find his distance; he tried to push the pace from the start but was a bit sloppy so Scott could circle out. Unfortunately for the Brit, he slipped when he threw his first kick, but his opponent couldn’t do much of the slip. There were some back and forth action until Antonio Dos Santos rushed with his chin down and Scott Askham threw one of the best upercut I have ever seen. Right on the chin, faceplant. But he was still moving, so the fight went on for a bit, until the tall Askham kneed him in the face. And that was enough for Leon Roberts who stopped the fight at this point.

That upercut. What a perfectly well-timed upercut. That was crazy. When you hit his chin, do you know you got him clean ? Were you surprised he was still a bit there, trying to wrestle you ?
Yeah I knew I caught him clean. He hit the mat face first and I made the mistake of letting him get back to his feet. That should have been the end right there. But still I capitalized and got the job done.

It took you something like 15 seconds between that upercut and the knee that ends the fight. What are you thinking while you try to finish him ? Excitement, adrenaline rush ?
I really could not tell you what I was thinking. I obviously knew I had him hurt; it was just a matter of landing the right shot and getting the ref to step in.

Scott Askham genouBecause of Adrenaline, a lot of fighters can’t remember their fights. Is that your case ? When you watch one of your fight, how does it feel ? Does it happen to think « wow, I don’t remember he hit me at that moment » ?
Yeah some moments are clear, others are not so clear. It’s always good to watch back. Specially when you get a finish like my last one.

That was a great finish. Unfortunately, there were 8 finishes this night. Were you expecting a bonus and disappointed you didn’t get it ?
I thought I did enough to get it. When Marc Goddard stepped in to stop Jessica Penne in the main event I thought I had it. But like you said, 8 finishes, it’s a tough card; some amazing fights. When you are on that early you know it’s going to be tough not to have one better when you are fighting in the best organization in the world! That been said like I said… Every time I will come for them bonuses !! One day I will get them it’s just a matter of time !

360-mma.com wants to thank Scott for his time, as well as Yellowcat (@tarec_the_doc) who were with him in Berlin. Another promising European fighter holding a record of 13 wins now, for only 1 loss. Let’s all follow him !

Catégories :Inside the head of

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