Written by: Karim Zidan
It has been a long road for Bart Palaszewski. With 50 professional fights under his belt, and a resume that spans over 20 different organisations, it is clear that “Bartimus” does not lack any experience in MMA. His calling to the UFC came as a result of the folding of the WEC featherweight/bantamweight divisions into the UFC and he has hit the ground running ever since.
Making his UFC debut back at UFC 137, Bart took on longtime favourite Tyson Griffin and knocked him out in just over 2 minutes. It was as picture perfect a debut as you could wish for, and according to Bart, he managed to make a “big splash in the UFC.”
Whilst the UFC’s upcoming overseas journey to Japan for the first time ever in the ZUFFA era carries a lot of sentimental value, it also brings with it an outstanding fight card, from top to bottom. Bart Palaszewski will be making his first oversea’s trip to Japan for the biggest fight of his long career, against Japanese star Hatsu Hioki.
It is the most important bout in Bartimus’s experienced career; with a featherweight division with no clear contenders, it is the perfect setting for Bart to cement himself as one of the elite in the division by defeating Hioki on foreign soil.
Bart took the time to speak to Karim Zidan of TFKmma about his upcoming bout at UFC 144, his training camp, his greatest professional moment to date as well as parenthood.
Interview available after the jump.
You are set to face Hatsu Hioki on February 26th at UFC 144; how do you feel about the match-up?
I feel great, training has been going really well so I am just excited to get in there.
Do you believe you hold any advantages over Hioki? Have you noticed any specific holes in his game that you are planning to exploit?
I feel I have the advantage on the feet striking, I feel I will be stronger then him as well. I will be looking to keep the fight standing and get the KO.
Training has been going great , my body feels great I have been working a ton of wrestling , basically the same as my last camp. I have been working with some taller guys, focusing on the reach aspect.
There are rumors circulating around the internet that the winner of your UFC 144 bout could possibly be in line for a title shot against Jose Aldo. Have you heard any of these rumors?
I don’t pay attention to rumors or hypothetical’s , my focus is %100 on Hioki right now nothing else.
Many fans out there believe Hioki is currently one of the best grapplers in the division and a top #5 ranked featherweight on most rankings. After your knock-out win over Tyson Griffin, did you expect the UFC to offer you an opponent of Hioki’s standing in the division?
This is the fight we asked for , Tyson is a veteran and a solid fighter just because I won so quick doesn’t take anything away from him , anything can happen in a fight. People keep bringing up that he is a great grappler , but im a BJJ black belt and a veteran as well , im not afraid to be on the ground or standing , but I like to strike so im looking for that. This was the fight we asked for so im just glad the UFC / Joe Silva granted me this chance , Tyson was in top ten for our division so I feel like I earned this fight.
Do you think a win over Hioki will have earned you a shot at Aldo, or do you think you need a few more fights at 145 before challenging him for the title?
IM just focusing on Hioki right now , I can’t look past him or think of anything else.
You have fought at lightweight in the past, earning victories over the likes of Anthony Pettis; do you feel you have found your final home at 145 pounds?Do you see yourself switching divisions again as you get older?
There wasn’t really much at 145 for me back then , it was tough at 155 people were always bigger but what could I do 155 was where all the fights were at. I like 145 the cut wasn’t hard and I feel really strong for this weight class. But I like challenges and anything can happen so right now im focused on 145 , but anything can happen.
How does parenthood affect your focus as an MMA fighter? Does it motivate you to get into the gym, or does it become a distraction at times?
I love being a parent, I have a great family and it doesn’t distract it only motivates me.
What do you consider the highlight of your career up until this point?
Beating Tyson & making my UFC debut it was like all my hard work to that point finally paid off. I really wanted to make a big splash in the UFC make sure people saw what I could do , and I felt I did that. This has been a long time coming and I want to take advantage of my opportunities right now.
Thank You very much for your time and effort in completing this interview, all the best in your upcoming bout.
No problem thank you.