I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with overnight UFC sensation, Houston Alexander yesterday. Just talking to Houston, you get the feeling that he feels blessed just to be in the situation that heís in right now with the UFC. Well, that and heís very anxious to show you his ground game. He had some very interesting things to say and I hope you all enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Thanks to Houston for taking the time out of his day to sit down and give us his thoughts on a number of topics, including who he might be looking to fight next, his ground game, his thoughts on the online MMA community and much more. Enjoy.
Adam Morgan: Youíre a UFC fighter, a radio DJ, a hip hop lecturer and enthusiast, and a single dad of six children. Whatís it like balancing all that?
Itís almost military. Everything has to be precise, everything has to be organized and everything has to be time driven, so itís almost like the military.
Adam Morgan: So what is a normal day for Houston Alexander? Do you get up, take the kids to school, or whatís a normal day for Houston?
A normal day for me is waking up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning to go work out first. Go to work out, get a good hour or two hours of training in and thatís the first workout of the day. Then I come back home and take the children to school and then I work out again after I drop them off. In between the kids, I get to work out.
Adam Morgan: So itís basically just taking care of the kids, training, and then you have the radio show on Sundays?
Yeah, I got the radio program through NRG Media (POWER 106.9 in Omaha, NE) from 7-10 and the show is called Sunday Nite Raw and I play independent music from all over the world, hip hop, and R&B. I also do promotions for the station and I also work with seven other different radio stations throughout the week. Theyíve been working with me as far as the time goes, but I enjoy doing radio, so I donít think Iím going to stop doing that.
Adam Morgan: So youíre saying even if youíre a full time fighter, training full time, radio will always be a part of your life?
Yeah, because I enjoy playing the music and I enjoy playing the music that no oneís heard. I enjoy helping artists out who are, you know, trying to get on and get that help.
Adam Morgan: Now a lotís been said about your Culture Shock School Tour where you lecture the students about hip hop culture. Is there one underlying theme about hip hop that you stress in those segments?
Itís funny that you ask that because there is one underlying theme that we stress. Itís that hip hop culture is about music, dance, and art. Period. Itís a culture and a lot of people see rap music being set up as the only element in the culture, so we let the kids know that the hip hop culture is about music, dance, and art. Itís not about the gold chains or the trucks or the 22 inch rims or the 30 inch rims or however theyíre doing it nowadays. The hip hop culture is about music, dance, and art. Itís not about the commercialized stuff theyíre seeing now.
Editorís note: WATCH some Culture Shock Tour video HERE
Adam Morgan: Right, so itís not all about the benjamins, itís about the culture itself.
It is about the culture itself. And if anyone knows anything about the culture, theyíll know that Justin Timberlake is not hip hop. Only MTV wants to categorize him in that situation.
Adam Morgan: Now youíre a graffiti artist as well?
Oh yeah, been a graf artist since I was 12 years old.
Adam Morgan: Do you still do graffiti regularly?
Houston Alexander: Yes, Iím still doing walls and as a matter of fact, about two months ago I did a project for Red Bull. So yeah, Iím still doing walls and I can proudly say that.
Adam Morgan: Youíve got your mixed martial arts career, your radio deal, and your Culture Shock School Tour. These are sort of your jobs on the side and I know you said youíd continue to do radio even if you are a full time fighter, so is it enough to just be getting paid to fight or whatís your take of the fighter pay scale in the UFC?
Houston Alexander: I let my manager handle all that. Right now Iím happy with what Iím getting paid. I have no complaints about what Iím getting paid and I know that being in the UFC and being a rookie, so to speak, Iím going to have to earn my way up just like anyone else, so Iím willing to do that. Iím willing to work and thatís something that a lot of people donít like doing in some cases. But I like to work, I like to train, and I like to get it done because I like to see the results in the ring. So I have no problem earning my way.
Adam Morgan: Alright Houston, you know I have to ask this, itís the standard interview question for fighters. Do you have any idea who or when you might be fighting next?
Houston Alexander: And Iím going to give you the standard answer that Iíve been giving everyone else. The UFC can decide whatever they want to decide on that. For me itís been every three months. Iím thinking over the next month and a half theyíll let me know who it will be.
Adam Morgan: I saw a little interview with Steve Sievert of the Houston Chronicle with you. He mentioned Michael Bisping as someone you might like to fight?
Houston Alexander: I wouldnít mind fighting Bisping. He seems like a pretty good competitor and he seems pretty fired up about fighting so I wouldnít mind fighting him. But I wouldnít mind fighting anyone thatís any type of top caliber. I want to test my skills and see where I stand in the 205 lb. division also, so I wouldnít mind fighting anyone, but I think that he stands out the most to me. Heís very outspoken like I am.
Adam Morgan: Regarding who youíre going to be fighting next, Forrest Griffinís come out and said that he canít fight until maybe next year, so heís out of the light heavyweight picture and Rampage isnít fighting until next year because of a wrist injury. So my question to you is, what about Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva? Would you be interested in fighting either of those guys?
Houston Alexander: Again, man, just like Iíve told everybody else. I will fight anyone at any time. As a matter of fact, Iím used to fighting every week in the smaller shows so a three month layoff is like a killer for me. Iíd rather be in the ring on a regular basis, but it is what it is. I wouldnít mind fighting whoever they put in front of me. If itís another big name they want to put in front of me then Iím going to do my best to get it done.
Adam Morgan: Youíve said in recent interviews that youíve fought over 200 times in the past seven years in unsanctioned bouts. Where were these fights usually held?
Houston Alexander: A lot of the time they were in Des Moines, Iowa, Sioux City, Omaha, a lot of fights going on in Illinois. The majority of them were around the area that I stay in. Whether or not people believe me or not? Do I care? No. I know where Iíve been over the past seven years and itís been fighting in the small shows for lesser amounts of money than Iím getting now. But I enjoy doing it. I enjoy doing it and it pays the bills.
Adam Morgan: Were these non-sanctioned bouts against guys that were more or less street brawlers or were they guys that actually had MMA technique?
Houston Alexander: Iíve fought probably every type of fighter and any type of style of fighter thatís probably ever been laid out. Jiu jitsu style, wrestling style, boxing style. Iíve probably fought every type of style, probably fought every type of weight, and Iíve fought every type of height. Nothing surprises me in the UFC right now. Iíve seen it all. Iíve seen fat, short, tall, toothless. Iíve seen it all, man. As a matter of fact, itís a pleasant surprise to be in the UFC because I get to actually fight someone who is my actual weight. Iíve been fighting guys that were twice my size for the past seven years. At 205, Iím grinning with glee.
Before I even got into the UFC, I was in Extreme Challenge, one of Monte Coxís, my manager, one of his events. Two of the guys I had to beat, well John Murphy was 6′3Ē, 235 lbs. and the last gentleman was 6′3Ē, 250 lbs., and Iím at a light 207 so Iíve been fighting guys that were twice my size for the past seven years.
Adam Morgan: Whatís the funniest or craziest thing thatís ever happened to you in one of these unsanctioned bouts?
Houston Alexander: True story. Des Moines, Iowa, I slammed a guy so hard that I broke the boards in the ring.
Adam Morgan: You slammed the guy through the mat?
Houston Alexander: No, you know how you have boards underneath the ring? I broke the boards in the ring.
Adam Morgan: Are there any big names that youíve fought in the past? Anybody the casual MMA fan would know?
Houston Alexander: Josh Neer and I fought, but that was more of an exhibition. It was just a fun match, it wasnít like a major match because at the time he was at around 175 lbs. and I was at about 203 or something like that. It was one of those things that we just kind of did, just for the fans.
Adam Morgan: Youíve been fortunate enough to have your two UFC fights on some pretty high profile shows. You were on the UFC 71 card with the big Chuck Liddell v. Quinton Jackson main event and then UFC 75 on Spike TV. Has there been any stardom thatís come along with knocking out a former Ultimate Fighter guy and competing one one of the biggest stages in mixed martial arts this year?
Houston Alexander: I think I was really freaked out when we went to London and we went to the weigh ins and there were 2-3,000 people there and we received just as much applause as the gentleman that was from there. That freaked me out when they applauded for us and our team is from Nebraska. It was just really interesting and I was really appreciative of that, so that charged me even more to go intO the ring and do what I did.
Adam Morgan: I know you have a background as a boxer and a wrestler and we sort of have yet to see you on the ground in the Octagon. Letís say in your next fight, guy comes out, shoots a double leg takedown on you and puts you on your back. What does Houston Alexander do from his back?
Houston Alexander: First of all, the guy has to be really fast to get me in a double leg takedown, so thatís gotta happen first. They have to get past my first line of defense. If something weird like that happens, like in the Sakara fight when he grabbed my leg and we went down, my ground game is just as good as anyone in the UFC. I donít know of anyone that can be stronger than what I am. Itís weird, because I get this question every time someone interviews me. I just havenít had the chance to do it, so why go there when they canít get past my first line of defense?
Like I said, I slammed the guy in Des Moines through the floor. I just canít wait and Iím excited to show the world what type of ground game I have. My ground and poundís not too bad according to the ref at UFC 75.
Adam Morgan: Are you training any jiu jitsu right now?
Houston Alexander: Iím doing everything. Iím not just concentrating on one thing, Iím doing everything. Iím training in every type of ground game, grappling, jiu jitsu, Iím doing it all.
Adam Morgan: Do you train with a gi or no gi?
Houston Alexander: Everything. All you have to say is everything. I wonít get into all that because I am training everything on every level.
Adam Morgan: As far as cardio goes, do you think you have the cardio to go five 5-minute rounds in a championship fight against someone like Quinton Jackson or Dan Henderson?
Houston Alexander: 8-Ball Nutrition has been a sponsor of ours for a while now and those guys got me looking great in the ring. As for my cardio, I havenít had a chance to use my cardio. They canít get past that first line of defense, but I can go round upon round upon round and still feel refreshed. I feel fine after every fight, so I can go. Believe me, theyíll find out if it has to get to that. Again, weíll use that phrase throughout this whole interview: they have to get past the first line of defense.
Adam Morgan: You mentioned the Alessio Sakara fight earlier and I wanted to ask you about a picture of you before UFC 75 with ďSakaraís Gotta Go!Ē scrawled across your wraps. Is that something you do for every fight and is it always the same message?
Houston Alexander: At the time, my coach and I were sparring and thatís our catch phrase at the gym. They gotta go. When Iím in the ring, those people gotta go. He just kind of drew it on the hand and we thought it would be a cool idea to put it on the site. Itís something I havenít started doing, but itís kinda cool.
Adam Morgan: I know you have a good relationship with MMAjunkie.com and I donít know if youíve heard Dana Whiteís recent comments about these ďgoofy internet sites,Ē but I just wanted to get your thoughts on the online MMA community and whether or not you think it gives fighters a good chance for exposure.
Houston Alexander: You know what, it does give the fighters a good chance for exposure. Any promotion for me is good promotion, whether itís good or bad. I understand that the site got started from a fan who just wanted to know information and wanted to get info to everyone across the world. I donít see anything wrong with it. I donít see anything wrong with getting the information, wanting to know the information and getting to know the fighters.
Adam Morgan: I do understand where Danaís coming from to an extent, as some of these sites can get a little out of hand sometimes.
Yeah, but you learn to shift through all that. You learn to shift through all the crap thatís out there and MMAjunkie.com, theyíre for real. Theyíre a legit site for info or I wouldnít put my name behind it.
Adam Morgan: I notice you have some tattoos on your forearms and various parts of your upper body. Is there one that means the most to you and is there a story behind any of them?
Houston Alexander: I wouldnít get any type of ink on me without having the stories behind it, but my favorite is the one on my back, it says ďThe Bringer of War.Ē ďThe Bringer of War,Ē to me, is a symbol of me and my life struggles. The meaning is that Iím going to bring it 110% no matter what I do and Iím going to accomplish everything that Iíve set out to accomplish. A lot of times, maybe nine times out of ten in my life, Iíve accomplished it. As far as the UFC, my accomplishment is to get the belt. That should be everyoneís goal, to reach the highest pick in anything they do. So if Iím gonna do this, my standards are set high. My goal is to get the belt.