Your New WEC Lightweight Champ Is Here

Fresh off his thrilling WEC Lightweight title victory over “Razor” Rob McCullough, new champ Jamie Varner returned to The Park to discuss the bout. Varner appeared to be quite the confident fighter in his first appearance around these parts a few months back and, wouldn’t you know it, he actually backed up his words when most weren’t giving him much of a chance. Some of the topics we disscused included:

* What’s it like to finally be crowned champion?

* Did Razor’s trash-talking leading up to the bout piss him off?

* Was he surprised that he knocked him out?

* His game plan going into the fight

* His underestimated boxing skills

* The timeout controversy

* Who will be his first opponent as champ? (Hint: He thinks it will be in June against the winner Marcus Hicks v. Ed Ratcliffe)

* Any interest in unifying the WEC and UFC Lightweight titles?

* His prediction for Sherk vs. Penn


Jamie Varner – 02/19/08

(photo courtesy of Zuffa, LLC)

Park Memories: McCullough & Varner Engage In A War Of Words

Bad News: My computer is still sick.

Good News: We should be good-to-go in a couple of days.

Bad News: I haven’t been able to talk about what is shaping up to be one of the better weeks in combat sports (Quintana over Williams? Wow.)

Good News: A few months back, I spoke with WEC Lightweight champ “Razor” Rob McCullough and Jamie Varner to preview their upcoming title bout. Well, as you all know, that match goes down tomorrow night and since I suspect many missed these interviews due to the holidays, here they are again. Enjoy the fights.


Rob McCullough


Jamie Varner

(photo courtesy of Zuffa, LLC)

Carlo Prater Is Ready For The Fight Of His Life

Just days before the biggest fight of his career, Carlo Prater stopped by The Park to discusses his upcoming bout against WEC Welterweight champ Carlos Condit this Wednesday in Albuquerque, NM. Prater will be making his WEC debut and will also be looking to capture his second victory over the 23-year-old Condit. He is actually one of the few contenders out there who never received a shot at fighting for one of the major MMA promotions but come Wednesday all that will change. Some of the topics we also touched on included:

* The difference between the Carlos Condit he defeated in 2004 and the one he will be facing in a few days

* How he received a title shot in his WEC debut

* His strategy going into the fight

* Why it took so long to make it to the “big leagues”

* His thoughts on fighting in the WEC as opposed to the UFC

* Why he was not promoted in the last WEC show and why he is the only fighter from the triple main event not to be featured on the official poster (weird isn’t it?)

Really enjoyed this one. I genuinely felt how anxious, ready and excited Prater was to fight Condit. Take a listen.


Carlo Prater – 02/08/08

“Razor” Rob Is Getting Ansty

Seems to be standard procedure nowadays for title holders under the Zuffa banner to experience long layoffs between title fights. WEC Lightweight champion “Razor” Rob McCullough is no different. The last time he defending his title belt was in September but thankfully for him his next bout is officially scheduled for February 13 against Jamie Varner.

McCullough was one of the contracts Zuffa purchased when they bought the World Fighting Alliance a little over a year ago (however he did fight five times for the old WEC prior to the acquisition). He was quickly placed in a title match against Kit Cope and it was then that he captured the Lightweight crown.

Varner, on the other hand, is coming off a win against Sherron Leggett in August (an even longer layoff than McCullough) and while he did fight twice for the UFC prior to their purchase of the WEC he appears to be transitioning nicely as one of the top contenders in World Extreme Cagefighting.

I spoke to Razor Rob about his upcoming bout against Varner, his current contract situation with the WEC (only two fights left!) and his road back to the WEC.


Rob McCullough – 12/31/07

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Jamie Varner Really Likes His Chances Against Razor Rob

It’s official! Jamie Varner (right) will challenge “Razor” Rob McCullough for the WEC Lightweight title at the promotion’s next event February 13, 2008. The 23-year-old fighter told The Park he signed his contract for the bout yesterday.

We certainly found it a little weird that the WEC organization didn’t mention who McCullough would be defending his title against at their last show but I guess we now know why.

Nevertheless, Varner (13-2-0, 2 NC) says he has been training for his shot at the title since September and feels his wrestling skills will pose a big problem for McCullough – a five-time Muay Thai champion.

This contest will be Varner’s second for the WEC after fighting twice in the UFC. And while he appears to be extremely happy with his move to World Extreme Cagefighting he still has very serious plans to someday capture the UFC Lightweight belt.

I caught up with Varner to talk about his huge match against Razor Rob, how he ended up in the WEC and where he ranks himself among the top 155-pound fighters in the world.


Jamie Varner – 12/21/07

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A TUF Review & A WEC Preview

Another busy week for the Zuffa family as Saturday night they held the The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Spike TV and this Wednesday on Versus is another blockbuster World Extreme Cagefighting offering.

Guida vs. Huerta certainly lived up to the hype and while I presume a ton of MMA fans lost some coin as a result of the Guida Huerta victory no one lost more than Ryan Harkness of FightLinker.com. His extreme confidence in Guida failed to pay off as he was forced to live up (or is it live down?) to his highly-publicized bet with Kid Nate of bloodyelbow.com.

I reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts on the now-infamous bet, the TUF Finale and what can be done to revamp The Ultimate Fighter show, in general.

In addition, we also previewed the WEC card which showcases three title fights and one huge debut. I think this card has a solid shot at “show of the year” with Faber vs. Curran for the Featherweight title, Filho vs. Sonnen for the Middleweight belt and Marshall vs. ARIEL(!) Gandulla for the Light Heavyweight crown. Throw in the debuting Jens Pulver vs. Cub Swanson and I know what I’m doing this Wednesday night.

Below is our discussion.


Ryan Harkness – 12/10/07

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