Eddie Gordon Interview – Full Transcript: UFC 217 Fallout, Weight Cutting, USADA and Eddie’s New Book
Eddie kindly agreed to this interview where he relays his thoughts on his life, the on-going controversies in MMA and the aftermath of UFC 217.
Eddie “Truck” Gordon is a middleweight mixed martial artist who has competed for the UFC. He most recently participated in the reality TV show “The Ultimate Fighter (TUF)” for the “TUF: Redemption” series under coach Cody Garbrandt. Additionally he is also a former winner of the series succeeding in “TUF 19” in the middleweight division.
Since the series, Eddie has been active on social media promoting motivational speaking and has written a book detailing his inspiring story throughout his life. This story also been featured as an Emmy award winning documentary.
In terms of fighting, Eddie Gordon is still focused on returning to the cage and has plans to fight in February or March.
If you are interested in Eddie “Truck” Gordon, please follow him on social media platforms @TruckMMA_UFC. If you want to read his new book which is a fascinating insight into the MMA world, the link is: https://www.amazon.com/Forever-TRUCKIN-Mastering-Will-Win/dp/0999608614/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510501484&sr=8-1&keywords=forever+truckin
Furthermore, if you want to see the video interview it can be found here: https://youtu.be/rQa8pP4SXzw
KJ: Hi Eddie, firstly thank you for the opportunity to interview you, what have you been up to since Ultimate Fighter and what are your future plans?
EG: Yeah, everything has been going good for me since Ultimate Fighter. I have a couple of different ventures going on.
I am in the process of finalising my first book, which is something I’m super excited about. I never thought I’d be fighting, I never thought I’d be writing a book, so both things have been great. I’m using the platform the UFC gave me and hopefully I can touch some lives and make a huge difference.
I’ve been training and getting ready to get back into the Octagon. Not sure where yet, being a free agent is good but I am in a good place, because I’m not fighting because I need the money. I fight now because I love the sport and it’s a good opportunity for my family.
KJ: You are very active on social media, where your focus seems to be on being a role model. With UFC 217, there was a lot of trash talking, what are your views on this to promote a fight? You have a degree in marketing, so I know you would understand the reason for this but is there a line that is being crossed?
EG: Yeah there is a fine line. With UFC 217 it delivered and all that trash talk came to fruition. But Rose Namajunes said in the post fight interview that Joanna took it too personal. Joanna was an amazing champion who showed women the way fighting wise. However, with the trash talk she took it too far getting into touchy subjects like mental health. You know we all want to make money. But there is a fine line. If you look at Bisping vs GSP those guys promoted the fight but knew the lines not to cross. But for you to bring another fighter to tears, that is brutal. I like Joanna but I think she went too far.
But you see people cross the line and it is the Conor McGregor effect. Fighters feel like they need to trash talk to make money and its scary.
KJ: From Conor’s side, I believe it is more his personality. On the other angle, do you feel that its affecting fighter’s performances that aren’t trash talkers but are trash talking as it is adding that pressure. I don’t think specifically Joanna is that sort of person but she’s putting that added weight on.
EG: Yeah, I definitely do think its adding pressure. You got to be who you are, everyone else is taken. If you are going to follow a Conor McGregor blueprint, you got to remember he has been doing this since Cage Warriors. He is who he is. He is a different person on the scenes and behind the scenes. You see some people talk trash and it looks silly. You got to remember Chael Sonnen originally put the blueprint together. He didn’t do it like Conor he didn’t have the talent but he continues to do well for himself because of his personality. Significantly, when people try to trash talk and they can’t, they do themselves a disservice and it looks really bad.
KJ: You look at Colby Covington a few weeks ago and it was a good promo but a line was definitely crossed.
EG: Some bridges were definitely crossed there. The saying goes don’t poop where you eat. He is around a lot of Brazilians and some people took offense. You know it’s working for him and he is getting noticed. I feel he has put a lot of pressure on himself. His performance didn’t back up what he said. He didn’t finish Damian Maia. After the fight, once you win you should be humble, be high with your highs and be low with your lows. He defeated a Brazilian great on their home soil, he should take some of them as fans. Don’t take them and spit in their face while they are down and start a storm.
KJ: He’s definitely creating that racial side and a potential match up with Tyron with the sensitive issues that surround it. Do you think UFC was better before? You see GSP do it the old school way, being humble, polite and making money. You see Demetrious Johnson now doing that and he’s not earning money. Has the game changed and do fighters have to do this?
EG: The game has changed. The old UFC, the best fighters fought the best person. You see guys now who aren’t that high ranked moving onto title fights earning millions of dollars because of their mouth and their trash talk because of the racial tension. Is it fear? No. UFC sold for £4 billion dollars and they have to recoup that money and they got to do something about it.
EG: Not the best thing for the sport but for the entertainment aspect that’s what puts money in their pockets and its scary. People don’t want to talk about it and when they do like Tyron Woodley who is one of the best welterweights there is, who is backing it up and defending his belt and doing what most champions are not and that is fighting and when you see what he did with Wonderboy who fought well against Masvidal. You got to give him credit. But he’s touching on political things that aren’t rubbing off too well with the fans.
KJ: As a free agent and with the UFC uniform policy inhibiting fighters earning that much money, which in turn is encouraging fighters to trash talk. Do you feel Bellator is doing it right, as they are bringing in fighters like Gegard Moussasi and Rory Mcdonald.
EG: People don’t realise Bellator has a lot of money and a lot of backing because they are owned by Viacom. When you look at guys like Ryan Bader, he probably wasn’t going to win a title in the UFC. Every time he knocked on that doorstep he either lost the fight or wasn’t given that big fight because he wasn’t a fan pleaser. Now he’s going to Bellator, getting paid a lot more base money plus his sponsors and has a lot of eyeballs watching him. You talk about a Viacom, they can get huge viewerships. He made a decision, am I going to support my family or keep chasing this dream.
UFC does a great job marketing but in the end you got to feed your family and it is a job. It’s not a recreational hobby that we are doing. That’s why you are seeing the Moussassi’s and these fighters migrate and now they are teasing the free agency market and it is a great thing for these fighters.
We are independent contractors but we are being told to wear a uniform. UFC is allowed to get sponsors and those sponsors are getting paid but when you have them on your kit, you are only getting paid by one sponsor and that is Reebok. You’re not going to get that side money from them unless you are one of the bigger fighters.
But the sport needs the middleclass. You don’t want a top-heavy division. Change is coming, no doubt about it. But its going to be the change that people don’t want to see and the change they won’t expect. I don’t think the UFC is going away from Reebok but it might be somebody else.
KJ: I feel fighters with a bigger social media following should be allowed to design their own kit and embrace their persona. In Bellator they showcase this more. It seems like an easy fix. Michael Bisping came out with a Count shirt so perhaps they are. What are your thoughts?
EG: They are doing a better job. Reebok took a lot of flak for it. People felt it was bland. People did like seeing the variety. It is probably helping Bellator as you are getting to know the actual fighter.
Take the NBA and the NBA promotes the players. The players are individuals and now it’s a global sport. Take the NFL and the NFL doesn’t promote the players like the NBA does. Its more about the NFL shield and that’s the route that the UFC has gone.
The UFC believes they can make a new star and make sure they keep the brand bigger than the fighter. Conor McGregor has thrown a monkey wrench into that and it’s almost like the UFC created a monster. It’s a catch 22 and it’s looking like the UFC is going to unfold.
You got to understand the UFC has only been around for 20 years. It’s in the baby stage and its one of the fastest growing sports in the world and its exciting where its going.
KJ: Talking about The Ultimate Fighter, you worked with TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. Cody seemed to be positioned as the successor to Conor McGregor with the trash talk and the tattoos. Dana seemed to support him too. What was it like working on that?
EG: The thing about TV its crazy, they see what they want you to see and they create a storyline and they portray it. Working with Cody was amazing. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
I think they are trying to create the heel out of him and he’s just a young emotional guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve and you know where he lies. Same goes for TJ. I think they had to choose a good guy and they chose TJ. Nothing wrong with that, TJ is a down to earth dude. I just think he was misguided and all the anger was targeted to the wrong person.
He was in a tough situation. You can’t doubt him and you can understand he wants to get better. But I feel like it could have been handled differently. Because there are guys who left Team Alpha Male who are still on good terms. You feel bad for TJ, almost like a lone wolf. It’s a situation that didn’t have to play out that way. It’s Crazy.
As far as Cody being the next Conor McGregor, it’s so super hard to find out who is going to be the next anything because this sport is forever changing. If someone were to tell you that Ronda Rousey were to fall off the spot as quick as she did. People would have thought you were out of your mind and crazy. To think that GSP could come back and then make such a big splash after being on hiatus for 4 years. No one on the planet would have thought that except him. Just honestly you never know and now one of the biggest stars is back.
KJ: I completely agree it was an amazing performance. Looking at GSP now do you think he is a middleweight? What did you think of the title fight? Did you think Michael deserved to be champion? People clearly didn’t rate him.
EG: It’s tough. I’m a big critic of Michael Bisping. But you got to give credit where credit is due. To get wins in the UFC is tough. Before GSP won that fight, he was the most winningest fighter in the history of the UFC. I feel like during his title reign, did he face lesser competition than most champions of past? Yes, numbers are numbers. Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.
Did he really fight the top guys in his division? No. Dan Henderson is a legend, he’s the goat but he was also a 48 year old man who wasn’t even in the top 5 and it was a razor close decision. If that was in the States, not on his home soil, who knows?
It’s tough Jack. You got to give credit where credit is due but there is an asterisk next to his name. But he got it done and not many people can say they were UFC champion so he went out and knocked out Luke Rockhold so he went out there and earned the belt.
KJ: Do you feel confident about GSP defending the belt against Robert Whittaker or a Rockhold?
EG: It’s crazy, I’m a huge fan of GSP and we have the same training family. I didn’t think he would be able to pull it off against Bisping, who is a bigger man and he pulled it off. Did I think he would stay in that division, I thought there was no chance he would stay in that division because Bisping was the perfect match up for him.
If GSP watched his last fight with Dan Henderson he knew he was faster, stronger and has better endurance and he saw what Dan Henderson did so he thinks I can do that. It was a great match up for him.
Now, how does he match up with the other middleweights. Chris Weidman, my teammate is huge compared to GSP. You look at Yoel Romero he is a big aggressive strong middleweight. Everyone knows GSP’s style and he doesn’t want to fight these middleweights and he said himself, “these guys hit hard. I was a small welterweight and I am a tiny middleweight. I don’t belong here.”
Dana then comes and say’s he has to defend his belt. But Dana wears his emotions on his sleeve and things change. So who knows? If you ask me, I’m the UFC and I want to recoup some of that money. It’s a no brainer, Conor McGregor vs GSP fight at 170 or a catch weight at 175, that’ll make ridiculous money. Conor McGregor needs a big money fight and he’s not going to fight for peanuts when he just made a 100 million dollars.
KJ: Even more obvious Tyron is calling for that champion vs champion match up. What if GSP fights at 170 and wins that. Could you see Conor vs GSP for the title at 170? Two 2-weight world champions going at it. Although it’s not a foregone conclusion that Tyron is going to lose, as I believe Tyron is underrated. Surely that is the plan?
EG: That’s an easy ticket to sell. But I don’t think he likes that match up vs Woodley. Woodley is very active. Always in the gym training and getting better. Honestly there are not too many strikers like Wonderboy and Woodley handled and carried his own with one of the best strikers in the game. One of the most elusive strikers in the game. Is GSP’s striking at the level of Wonderboy? Not even close. They train together and they know that. Woodley’s a decorated wrestler.
So now if GSP can’t beat Woodley in the stand up and can’t get him on the ground. What’s your outlet to win. It’s just not a good match up. He struggled against a Johnny Hendricks who is a legit wrestler with punching power and look at Johnny Hendricks now. Kind of makes you think. GSP’s management now has to be looking at the fact that he’s not a young spring chicken and they got to make match ups that make sense for him and if he loses we aren’t having this conversation. No one is going to be talking about it. The door is only open if you keep on winning.
KJ: Talking about Johnny Hendricks and weight cutting. He was a big welterweight and he doesn’t really look filled out at middleweight. GSP on the other hand, has put on muscle and can physically hold his own.
You cut to welterweight for the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter and you are a big Middleweight anyway. What are your views on weight cutting?
EG: Cutting weight is under talked about and its miserable. There’s a reason why on these count down shows, they never really highlight it. They don’t talk about it because it is a black eye on the sport. Everyone is doing it and it’s miserable. I used to cut weight the wrong way and it has literally robbed years of my life. It made me question whether I really want to do this.
Everybody loves fighting. We love to go in there and train and compete. But when you are sitting there on the brink of death to make weight. Then you got to rehydrate and go there and perform against some of the toughest guys in the world 24 hours later. It’s tough and most guys just don’t understand that. They can’t wrap their head around it. They think what you see is all in that cage. But there are other things going on in life.
I think they are trying to get the drastic weight cutting out but the worst thing for a fighter is themself. We always look for advantages.
Look at these guys, they know they are getting drug tested. They know it’s random. Nine out of ten times they know they are going to get caught and they are still doing it so they can get that little advantage. So you think if they are willing to risk it all cutting weight, taking drugs and risk getting suspended for a year or two or banned all together? Then they are always going to take advantage. It’s horrible.
I’m a big guy and I started out at 300lbs and made it to welterweight. It took a lot of discipline and sacrifices. Not going out with my kids, not going out with my friends. No one knows how long it’s going to take unless you do it the right way.
It’s more of a lifestyle and it’s going to be tough. It’s why you see so many guys changing weight classes because they have to. Nobody trains six day weeks as hard as us fighters. They’re not tired after a 15 minute fight, they’re tired because they’re body is drained. That’s the problem.
KJ: Where do you see yourself fighting in the future?
EG: I’m going to stay at 185, if they offer me something I can’t refuse at 170 I’ll take it. But if I’m going to do that, then I’m going to do it the right way. I’m not going to sit there the night before and cut 40lbs. No it’s got to be a methodical process and need at least 10 weeks. So no short cuts for me at 170. At the stage in my life now, with the book coming out and with the different things I’m doing, I’m not going to put my health and risk my livelihood for a couple bucks.
It’s not realistic. It’s scary. I’ve been playing football my whole life. I’ve been competing now for 7 years. I’ve been competing in football and fighting for 20 plus years and that’s a lot of activity on ones body. I didn’t go to college for a good degree to make bad decisions. Fighters got to look in their soul and say we are all competitors. As fighters we got to look at ourselves and make a decision and risk this. Or create a gateway when you stop fighting.
Sometimes as fighters we don’t know what the next step is. We’re involved with the right here and right now. And when it’s over we don’t know where to go. We don’t have an identity because we are so wrapped up and we want to be great.
So while we’re in the moment, there should be someone in the background, saying lets set this up, so you have a future after fighting. Because it’s such a short window we have in the bigger picture. It’s a little blip on the radar of life.
KJ: Yeah and that brings me to Jon Jones, a guy who has always seen himself as a champion of MMA. Importantly, it also allows me to talk about the drug epidemic in MMA. How even in your series the guy who won the show was caught on steroids. What are your views on the drug problem that plagues MMA and Jon Jones?
EG: Its crazy and when you think of Jon, it’s more sad. Do I feel bad for Jon? It’s a catch 22 again. You can only feel bad for someone only so many times. Jon has been blessed with many different opportunities and a lot of second, third and fourth chances. It’s just bad decisions. Is he a malicious bad person? No.
He has the wrong people around him. People that want to use him. People that say they love him but could care less. It’s not enough people telling him the right thing to do. When you get away with hitting a pregnant woman and not serving any jail time. There are real repercussions. You fail a drug test and you get a slap on the wrist. There is always something that prevents him from getting into real trouble and that is a real problem to his personal growth and development.
As far as drugs, these fighters, I told my fiancée, these fighters are so wrapped up into getting an advantage they aren’t thinking about results.
Like we know we are getting tested and these guys are failing left and right. I know, I fought a guy who was on steroids and their camps knew they were taking steroids and it’s like what are you going to do. You aren’t going to take the fight? You’re going to pass up on it. Or you’re going to risk it and go for it.
I’ve lost to guys on steroids and beaten guys on steroids. So for me it’s frustrating and I can understand the stance GSP took. If you look at Michael Bisping his body hasn’t changed. He’s 38 and he became a champion. He became a champion after USADA came in place. Look at all these genetic freaks that were doing head kicks, this and that. Looking like a cartoon character.
Michael Bisping a normal guy who pushes the pace becomes champion when he’s 38. Is there a coincidence? USADA came in and levelled the playing field. This guy got an opportunity and made the most of it. It’s not a coincidence. Look at their bodies they went from being a specimen to having dad-bods. The proof is in the pudding.
Until the punishment is like the death penalty, guys will risk it. Especially those guys who are fighting once or twice a year, getting paid millions of dollars. They get suspended for a year and they still get their check. They’ll train and lift, they will fight and be ready once their suspension has been lifted. What is the real punishment?
KJ: At UFC 217 Cody stated TJ taught Team Alpha Male how to dope? Which is stupid as it implicated the whole team? Did you see any cheating or an individual ever try to bring that when you were training?
EG: Misery loves company. Fighters know fighters. Someone must have showed you. I’ve never seen TJ stick anything anywhere, it’s not my place to judge. Cody knows him better but he wears his emotions on his sleeve. If you look on the facts, look at Chad Mendes, awesome fighter, I like him, he gets popped for drugs and where does he train, Team Alpha Male. Where there is smoke there is fire. Everybody is different.
KJ: Looking back on UFC 217 and after speaking about weight cutting. What do you think of a potential TJ vs Mighty Mouse match? Did you think TJ would get knocked out by Cody?
EG: I was sure TJ was going to get knocked out. Razor close. Saved by the bell. No doubt TJ is a top-level fighter. Guy is skilled and versatile. All around top fighter. But, that’s why they have fights. No one is invincible.
Look at Rose Namajunas, who thought she would knock out Jedrzejczyk out like that. Everyone thought it would be a submission. That’s why they have the fights. Four-ounce gloves and all it takes is one second.
You know who won last night at UFC 217? The Fans. We were able to witness that. Am I upset Cody lost? Yes because I have a personal relationship with him. I knew him before the UFC. I’m biased.
But I respect TJ he overcame a lot of adversaries, ex-teammates, trash talking, that knockout video in practice. He fixed his mistakes from his loss to Dominic Cruz and made those adjustments so give that man some credit.
It’s not about how you react when you are winning but it’s about how you react when you lose. It’s when you are at your darkest moment that’s when you can tell who you are as a person.
KJ: At Middleweight who would you like to face?
EG: I train with the top guys like Chris Weidman. But in the ring its all about self belief and confidence. After seeing GSP win, you got to believe in yourself.
Not many people are going to jump to fight me. If I win I steal everything they worked for. Now if I win, you were supposed to win. Most fighters don’t like those fights and everyone wants the big money fights. Was Machida’s loss mental or drugs? To me it’s mental.
I’ll fight anyone. I don’t care what the analysts say. I got into this sport on a whim. I remember watching Anderson Silva fighting Forrest Griffin. I remember people saying this is cool. I said this is cool but I want to be part of that. People said you’re too drunk, too fat and too old to pick this up. I said I believed in myself. I gave it a shot and it took off for me. The bigger the challenge, the more people don’t believe, those are the challenges I want.
KJ: Thank you Eddie for this opportunity, it was brilliant to talk to you. Just a little shout out is there anything you want to say?
EG: I want to thank you for reaching out. It was certainly a pleasure. I love doing these things because who knows you might blow up? Might be bigger than Ariel Helwani.
But I’m super excited and everything I do I give a 110%. That is why this book means so much to me. Everyone wants to tell me I am an overnight success. It wasn’t overnight. It has been 34 years in the making and my story won an Emmy award for the documentary they did on me.
So for me to put it all down on a piece of paper, so I can motivate some young kid that came from nothing and for someone who no one ever believed in but believed in himself that is what I am aiming to do.
The book will be available hopefully this week, if they can follow my social media @TruckMMA_UFC I will be promoting it.
Importantly it’s going to be affordable. I don’t want money ever to be an issue for someone to step into their greatness. So there is going to be a special pre-order and it is going to be 99 cents for the audiobook, the eBook and it’s going to be affordable for everyone.
My legacy is not going to be about how many fights I won, cars I owned or houses I bought. It’s going to be about how many lives I’ve touched. That is why I’m talking to you and we are going to touch tonnes of lives. So I’m super excited.
KJ: Thank you for being an inspirational role model especially in MMA where it is not common and importantly people should read this book! Follow Eddie and subscribe.
I also look forward to seeing you fight again, hopefully in the UFC I wish.
EG: I’m definitely fighting again, there is a lot left in this tank and I see myself fighting between February or March. I got some things in the works and I am looking to being back in that ring.
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