Interviews

Published on June 27th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford

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UFC’s, Luis Pena Warns Future Opponents: “You Better Be Ready To Get Hurt!”

Luis Pena improved his record to 8-1 with a dominant TKO win over veteran, Matt Wiman; hoping for a September or October return!

Known as, “Violent Bob Ross,” because of his uncanny resemblance to the painter, Luis Pena has definitely lived up to the “violent” aspect of his moniker. Six of his eight wins have come by stoppage (knockout or submission) Pena was a contestant on, The Ultimate Fighter 27, but was sidelined from competition after suffering an ankle injury. Despite the setback he was given an opportunity to compete in the UFC. He won his UFC debut against, Richie Smullen via submission in the first round. He has amassed a 3-1 record in the UFC, and 8-1 combined record. His only career loss was a close split decision loss to, Michael Trizano. After back to back dominant performances, Pena is hoping to land a fight against a top contender in the fall.

I recently spoke to, “Violent Bob Ross,” who opened up about his win over, Matt Wiman, talks about moving back up in weight and warns future opponents.

Congratulations on the win over, Matt Wiman. You completely dominated a very durable guy. How do you feel about your performance?

Luis Pena: Thank you! I can’t lie, I am satisfied with my performance. My coaches, my teammates and everyone around me is giving me all of the accolades and telling me that it was my best performance. I can’t lie, I agree, but just the kind of person I am and the kind of competitor that I am, it’s just hard for me not to look at the things that I could have done better, look at the mistakes that I made and the holes that I saw in my game. Especially as I’m in there fighting. For me, it was a dominant performance, but it can always be more dominant, and it can always be better.

You put a lot of pressure on him and you sustained that pressure, was that strategic because he usually likes to come forward or was that because he hadn’t fought in 5-years and you wanted to test his endurance?

Luis Pena: Kind of a mixture of both. I wasn’t really sure how he was going to approach me in this, but I had a feeling that if I came out strong and put the pressure on him, it would kind of surprise him. Especially being a guy like him, I wasn’t so sure how he would react to that. With him having a 5-year layoff and me having a 2-month layoff, I kind of just wanted to get in there and put the fight on him from the very beginning so he didn’t have any time to get going.

Wiman is also a guy you don’t want to let build any confidence because a little confidence goes a long way with a guy like him.

Luis Pena: Exactly! That’s why every time he landed anything and every time, he had any type of success, I made sure with my body language and facial expressions that he didn’t affect me. I was still going to move forward; my game plan hadn’t been deterred and I’m fighting to hunt for the finish.

You had a close decision loss and then a unanimous decision win and then you score a stoppage in the final round of this fight. Was it imperative to secure the TKO after back to back decisions?

Luis Pena: Man, I don’t really care. If I decision someone then I decision someone. It’s just the way I fight. I look for the finish from bell to bell. Every second that I’m in that fight, I am looking for a way of how I’m going to finish you. Sometimes it doesn’t come and Saturday night it came. It came late in the fight and that’s the thing about my style, I never get deterred from hunting that finish; even late in the fight.

You cut him very badly in the first round with a knee. He’s such a crafty veteran, do you still have to approach him with caution at that point?

Luis Pena: Oh yeah, for real! They say the most dangerous animal is a wounded animal. You always gotta approach every situation with caution, especially with a guy like, Matt Wiman. I knew it was going to take me putting a huge amount of damage and a huge volume of damage om him to even come close to deterring him. In my post-fight interview, they asked, “Is it discouraging when you’re hitting these guys with all this stuff and they are still coming at you?” I was like, ‘Nah man, I was just having fun hitting him.”

After you landed the knee that cut him open and the doctor came in to look at him, did you feel the wind come out of his sail or do you think he bit down on his mouthpiece and fought even harder?

Luis Pena: Oh no, when we both saw that blood, we both bit down on our mouthpieces… I could feel it. We were both ready to fight as soon as that blood started pouring. It energized him and it energized me. Without a doubt, he wanted it. He wanted to go.

After the fight you spoke a lot about composure, and I felt you did a great job of letting the knockout come as opposed to forcing it.

Luis Pena: For me personally as a young fighter in my career, I try to pride myself on it and focus on it and that is my composure in those situations. How many times have you seen some guy with spectacular skillsets go out there and hurt someone and not be able to finish them. They get discouraged and then all of a sudden they are on the receiving end of the finish. So, I just knew, as long as I stayed composed and at that pace that I put on him that eventually, it was just going to come.

You are 6’3, you attempted to make 145-pounds and you missed your mark by a couple of pounds. Will you move up to lightweight [155 pounds], remain at 145 or have you not even given it any thought yet?

Luis Pena: I have a great relationship with both of my coaches, Rosendo Sanchez and Ron Kesslar. I talk to them almost every day about stuff. I kind of look at them as a father figure and an older brother figure. I’m constantly bouncing ideas off of them. Do I think I can make 45, yes, do I think it’s the right move, not necessarily. Especially after Saturday’s performance, how I felt in the cage and how I performed, instead of trying to drop weight and go up against these smaller guys, gaining a little bit more size, so that I can compete with these short and super stocky muscled up guys at, 55. I’ll be fine.

You said you wanted to fight anyone that could get you close to a high ranking and title-shot. What do you think of the landscape of the 155-pound division in the UFC?

Luis Pena: Man… 55 is without a doubt, the UFC’s and possibly, MMA’s most competitive division. It’s going to be hard climbing your way up those ranks no matter what, but I’m prepared for whoever and I’m prepared for whatever. It doesn’t matter to me who it is, it doesn’t matter to me where it is and it doesn’t matter to me what it is. I just want the guys that are going to get me in a position to fight in the top-ten within the year and be fighting for the title here soon after.

I always hate to ask a guy who just fought, when and what next, but how many more times would you like to fight this year?

Luis Pena: I wouldn’t even approach it like that, man. I love thinking about fighting. I do this for a living. I do this for a reason, it’s because I love it. I was on the, Ariel Helwani Show and they asked if that blood gets to me. Man, I love that shit. This is my job. This is my life. This is what I do. That’s not a thing to me. I want to jump right back in there. I would love to get in there around September or October and depending on how everything plays out, if I could get another one in around December that would be great. If not, it is what it is, but I would like to get at least one more fight in this year if not two.

Is there anyone in particular you would like to test your talents against or just anyone who will get you closer to the goal?

Luis Pena: Don’t get me wrong, my managers probably have guys in mind, but I don’t really handle that kind of stuff. I’m just focused on fighting. I focus on improving myself, me, and my game plan more than my opponents when it comes to preparing for guys. It’s whoever, man. Whoever wants the smoke.

You can’t have one of the coolest monikers in MMA without being violent. I know the win is always important, but how important was it for you to do it in that manner?

Luis Pena: This one was extremely important for me to go out there and even if I didn’t get that win or get that finish, it was extremely important for me to go out there and show, that when you sign that contract to fight, “Violent Bob Ross,” you better be ready. You better be ready to get hurt!

Congratulations on the win and a great performance. I look forward to seeing you in there again soon. Is there anything else you want to add?

Luis Pena: I just want to say thank you to all my fans, all my supporters, my sponsors, my coaches and my team. This is a message for everyone out there who thinks they want to put my name in their mouth, remember, the last man that said he was going to smoke me, got posted on the Gram with broken heart emoji’s.

 

 


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