TKO 31: Young Guns goes down tonight from the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC, and I’m intrigued by this card for one main reason: Steve Bossé. I know fighters with 2-0 records shouldn’t be headlining shows but Bossé is an exception. You see, when he’s not fighting in a TKO cage, Bossé plays hockey for the St. Jean Chiefs of the North American Hockey League. He isn’t exactly the second coming of Sidney Crosby (Bossé has scored three time in six seasons) but, still, the man can punch, has a gimmick and that’s good enough for me.
Bossé made his MMA debut this past June and tonight will face former TKO Heavyweight champion, Icho Larenas. Below is my interview with the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu native just hours before his bout. As you know, I usually post the audio to all my interviews but let’s just say his English was, rather, poor. Plus, I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to my broken French (I asked Steve the questions in French but he insisted on responding in English).
Ariel Helwani: Who is responsible for introducing you to MMA?
Steve Bossé: (TKO president and CEO) Stephane Patry (ed. note: Patry is now
AH: How did you guys meet?
SB: We have a mutual friend and he told Stephane “hey, come see one of Steve’s hockey games. He is a great fighter.” So, he came to see me and I did my best to knock someone out. So, afterwards he told me if you train Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling I will give you one tryout MMA fight. After I won that one fight, he signed me to a contract.
AH: Which team do you train with now?
SB: Team Bergeron in Drummondville. Also, with Fabio Holanda of Brazilian Top Team and my wrestling coach is Jason Chan.
AH: This is only the third fight of your MMA career, are you surprised to be fighting in the main event this soon?
SB: I’m happy to fight in the main event and if I win I hope to fight for the belt.
AH: Did you always want to become an MMA fighter?
SB: I’ve always been a fighter and have boxed. I love my life…my training life and I want to be the champion and I train everyday to be that.
AH: What do you covet more: a contract with the UFC or with the NHL?
SB: All my energy is being put into MMA career. I want to be a champion and maybe one day go fight in the UFC. Hockey is not my top sport anymore.
AH: Have you officially retired from sport of Hockey?
SB: No, I will play 36 games (this year) but I stop playing a month before a fight because I don’t want to get hurt.
AH: For those that are just hearing about you – exactly how popular are you in Quebec?
SB: People in Quebec love me because I’m a striker and a big hitter. In hockey, I’ve been knocking out everyone. I have gone after the top fighters in the North American Hockey League have knocked them all out.
AH: Which MMA fighter do you you try to pattern your career after?
SB: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. That’s my boy.
SB: Because he strikes well, punches well and is a great wrestler. I want to be the same as him.
AH: Recently, you traveled to Phuket, Thailand, to learn Muay Thai – what was that experience like?
SB: It was a great experience. I trained there for one month very hard. Every day, I would train Muay Thai for four hours and Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling for two hours. When I came back in August, I wasn’t the same guy.
AH: What are your thoughts on your opponent tonight – Icho Larenas?
SB: I am happy to fight the ex-champion because it’s an opportunity for me to prove to the fans that I can train really hard. I just want to be the champion.
AH: How many fights are on your TKO contract?
SB: It’s a five-fight contract.
AH: What are you looking to do when your contract is up?
SB: I am one of the most popular fighters in TKO. I want to stay there and win their belt. I want to protect the belt and then in one or two years maybe go to the UFC.
AH: How do you expect tonight’s fight to go down?
SB: Oh, I am knocking him out, for sure (laughs).