September 24, 2008
In this exclusive MMA interview, brought to you by FromTheGut.us, Travis “The Serial Killer” Lutter discusses his fights with Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin. He shares his opinions about the UFC’s 4-man heavyweight tournament. Also included is the entertaining story behind his famous nickname and much more for MMA enthusiasts.
Jacob Regar: Which MMA organization are you presently contracted with?
Travis Lutter: I’m not contracted with anybody right now. I’m still looking and weighing options.
JR: Any plans to fight for the UFC again?
TL: I guess. I really think I’m going to fight for the UFC again. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t get a chance to fight in the UFC again.
JR: Have you spoken with Affliction, EliteXC, Dream, or HDNet Fights about possibly fighting in any of their MMA organizations?
TL: Yeah, of course. We’ve talked to them. I’m not real sure but I think I need to ask my manager to find out why I haven’t signed with anybody yet. But I’ve basically been letting him do his job… not bothering him too much and letting him fill me in.
JR: There was a recent rumor circulating that you were going to face Joe Doerksen. Where do you think that rumor originated?
TL: It was a rumor. I’ve heard all kinds of things like I asked to fight him. None of that’s true. Then I think the rumor spun into we were going to fight MMA here in Texas. I have no problem fighting Joe and maybe we will end up fighting eventually, but the rumor isn’t true.
JR: You are a very talented fighter and you spend a lot of time training and teaching, are you a fan of the sport? Do you enjoy watching MMA fights?
TL: Yeah, of course I’m a huge MMA fan. I don’t really follow very many other sports. I loosely follow a few. But I watch MMA religiously. And not just for watching the 185 lbs division. I just like watching fights.
JR: Which non-UFC organization do you enjoy watching the most?
TL: Probably Affliction. They put on a great card, their last one. I was very disappointed that they had to postpone their next event that they had coming up until January. You know, that last card had a lot of talent on it and the second one looked even better.
JR: Which fighters are your favorite to watch?
Man, I like watching GSP. I enjoy GSP right now. B.J. Penn is sick. He’s a crazy athlete. Randy Couture, I always watch anyone that Randy’s MMA fighting. Man, just everyone. I just like watching fights.
JR: GSP v Penn rematch, who takes it?
TL: It’s hard to bet against GSP. It’s hard to bet against B.J. but his cardio is still improving and he’s a small 170 pounder. GSP’s a big 170 pounder and his wrestling is just freaking crazy. I think Penn has him beat in the standing department. But if GSP puts him on his back I think he can probably win a decision.
JR: I think GSP would probably be able to put Penn on his back where he could get offensive with his GnP. If so, he would force Penn to constantly be on the defensive in addition to working an active guard so he could work submissions or sweeps. Either way, that level of activity could have the effect of tiring Penn on the bottom. And that style of fight seems like it would favor GSP.
TL: Yeah, I think so too. GSP just keeps improving, improving, improving. He looked really tough against Fitch. You know, B.J.’s got knock out power at 155 lbs, but not as much at 170 lbs. He puts his punches together really well. But I don’t think he’s knocked out anyone at 170 lbs. But I could be wrong too.
JR: Penn definitely dazed GSP when they first fought, but he wasn’t really close to knocking him out.
TL: GSP does have a suspect chin. I think Fitch hurt him, but he hurt Fitch back. Fitch definitely doesn’t have the hands of B.J. But it’s still size. And I just see GSP taking the fight to the ground. I would guess he’s pretty confidant right now with his jiu jitsu defense and his wrestling is just sick.
JR: Who do you think would win an MMA fight between Nick Diaz and Shinya Aoki?
TL: I don’t know. That’s kind of a weird style match-up. I guess if I was betting I’d probably bet on Diaz.
JR: What other sports are you a fan of and why?
TL: I’ve never been a huge watching sports- kind-of-guy. I like to do stuff. I didn’t grow up watching football or anything. I’ve probably followed tennis the closest. I’ve never played or anything, I just enjoy it. Those guys are really good.
JR: As an experienced Jiu-Jjitsu/MMA instructor what do you think is the most challenging submission for students to learn (typically)?
TL: I don’t know if it would be submissions. I guess there are different submissions and all of that in terms of degree of difficulty. But it really depends on the individual. You know, a wrestler usually has problems from his back, so he’s going to have problems doing armbars and triangles from his back. And a great big guy is going to have problems from his back just because of his size. But I think everybody is different.
JR: Most difficult submission you’ve ever tried to pull off in competition and a fight, regardless of whether you nailed it?
TL: I’ve tried for a couple of kneebars in competition but never gotten one, so I should probably quit doing that (laughs). It’s just slippery and low percentage, especially in competition. It’s probably best to just move on.
In MMA, I keep it simple. I really try to keep it high percentage. The most frustrating one is Rich [Franklin] getting out of that armbar. I finished that armbar a whole bunch of times. I think for a little bit I was bending it backwards. I’m still surprised that he got out of that.
JR: Who is your favorite submission artist? Why?
TL: Probably B.J. He has sick flexibility, crazy technical; he plays kind of a weird game. It almost looks instinctual sometimes. He’s just fun to watch because you just don’t know which direction he’s going to go sometimes.
JR: Prior to MMA becoming mainstream, it seemed like BJJ practitioners needed to do well in submission tournaments to advance in their art. Now, it seems many fighters that practice jiu jitsu as part of their fight training program seem to get promoted simply by training and fighting and showcasing improved jiu jitsu in the ring, without competing in purely submission formats. Would you agree with that assessment? And if so, what affect do you think that has on jiu jitsu as a whole?
TL: Yeah, I would agree with that. You know, I’m not going to rank someone (give them belts for their participation in MMA)… They’re going to have to have skills with the gi before I give them props for their no-gi expertise. But, you don’t have to. That’s the thing, MMA is changing things. A lot of people just don’t care about belts.
But the only guys that I really care about what their belt rank is, are my guys and that’s from competing in jiu jitsu.
JR: What are your thoughts on the p4p rankings? Do you take stock in them?
TL: I don’t take much stock in it. You know these guys are good fighters in their divisions but how do you compare these guys across divisions? You know B.J. fighting in the upper echelon of two weight divisions. You could argue that. Would GSP have that success? Probably, he’d probably do really well at 185 lbs. And then to go with Fedor, I mean he’s huge and he’s probably not going to make 205 lbs any time soon. You know, I don’t really look at the p4p.
JR: Who do you consider to be a top MMA prospect for the fans to look out for? Any prospects coming out of your school?
TL: As far as in the smaller shows, I don’t know. That’s a good question. I don’t know who’s going to be the guy that comes out of the blue and surprises people. I don’t know, that’s a good question. I don’t know that answer.
It’s too early to tell with the guys coming out of my school. All my guys are real young right now, so it’s too early to tell who’s going to do well in MMA and who’s not going to do well. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
JR: When you’re preparing for a fight, do you train with any camps? Any camps you would like to train with in the future?
TL: What I do is I make my own camp in Forth Worth, Texas, here at my school. We have guys that that show up at certain times, and they’re there to motivate me and they all have different jobs. So I don’t go some other place for a camp, I stay here in Forth Worth and train my ass off.
Some people think I really should train with other camps and some think I shouldn’t. But the only guy that’s going to make that decision is me. If I moved up to 205 lbs, I think I’d have to, just simply cause I’d have to fight another style. But I think at 185 lbs, fighting the style that I have, I think I can impose my will on a lot of guys. And at 205 lbs, I wouldn’t be able to impose my will, so I think that if I stay at 185 lbs I can keep fighting the same way I do and just let people try to stop it.
JR: What are your thoughts about the UFC’s 4-man HW MMA tournament?
TL: I’m happy to see Randy back. I honestly didn’t think he’d ever fight again. I honestly didn’t think he would ever fight again based on the lawsuit and kind of following all of that noise. So it’s very cool to see Randy coming back.
You know, Nogueira, for a little while probably thought he was the champ for the UFC and now he’s the interim champ, so that kind of sucks for him. But it’s the UFC’s ballgame. They get to be God of that organization, they get to call the shots, whether you like it or not. At the end of the day they’re making money.
JR: Who are you picking for the Couture v Lesnar Fight?
TL: Couture. I just think Lesnar’s huge and stuff like that but I think Randy’s wrestled at a higher level than he did, granted at a different weight class and Lesnar’s huge, but Randy’s a beast, and I’m not betting against Randy.
JR: Who are you picking for the Nogueira v Mir fight?
TL: Nogueira. Nogueira, man, Nogueira’s a beast. Some of his fights in Pride were just crazy. Like the Cro Cop fight, when Cro Cop beat him up pretty good. Cro Cop beat him up before he finally got that takedown. And that Tim Sylvia fight, you know, he was getting beat, you know, and that guy just never quits. That guy never understands the word die. And Mir knows, no disrespect to Mir, but he tends to fade.
I think Nogueira’s jiu jitsu’s better. I think Nogueira’s stand up is better and Mir’s wrestling’s probably better.
JR: Are you watching this season’s “TUF” show?
TL: I will once they get done with all the preliminary fights. I don’t love this format. You know, sometimes the fights aren’t so good. Of course, no disrespect to these guys getting in the Octagon and doing there thing, but sometimes the fighters aren’t so good.
I’ll start to watch once they get down to the final sixteen. The last two seasons I found myself fast-forwarding through a lot of it, because I pre-record it. The first six seasons I didn’t see myself fast-forwarding that much. The last two seasons I really fast forwarded a lot and watched the fights. I don’t know, it’s getting a lit bit stale for me
JR: You fought against Patrick Cote and Anderson Silva, what are your thoughts on their upcoming fight? Who are you picking?
TL: I don’t think that fight goes four minutes. I think Anderson knocks him out pretty quick.
Patrick’s got a pretty good chin, he hits hard, but with that being said, I think Anderson’s chin is better, I think Anderson’s standup is probably two or three times better than Patrick’s. His jiu jitsu is better. I just don’t see how Patrick makes it four minutes into that fight.
I beat him in, not very fast, but pretty fast, but I don’t see him making it very far with Anderson. Anderson’s good.
JR: Which one of your MMA victories is the most important to you?
TL: Probably that one against Patrick because that was the one with the big money on it. It was big money for the time. It had the biggest audience; it was in front of the most people, winning The Ultimate Fighter Finale. So probably that one against Patrick.
JR: How much do your losses affect you?
TL: The last two were pretty tough. You know I was beating Anderson, I was beating Rich. Anderson caught me. I got tired or whatever happened to me in the Rich Franklin fight. I still haven’t decided what I think was wrong with why I got tired. I know I got hit real early, I know I used a lot of energy, but I still don’t understand why I got that tired that fast.
But especially against Anderson, I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do, but unfortunately, he got lucky.
If there was ever a day that I could get a do-over, it was that day. I’d like to think that I could some day make it into the position to where I could fight him again. But the thing is, he’s really good and I don’t see them [UFC] letting me fight him ever again.
He’s probably going to go the superfight route now. He’ll probably fight at 185 lbs a little bit more but I think he’s probably going to end up fighting more at 205 lbs, then putting together a big payday and then he’ll probably disappear. So I don’t know if I’ll ever get another crack at him. I sure hope I do because I don’t think Anderson can beat me again. But that’s just what I think.
JR: How’s your current physical conditioning? Any injuries?
TL: I had surgery on my knee a week ago. I had my knee scoped. My knee has been giving me problems. I hurt it a few years ago and it was steadily getting worse, so I decided to get it scoped because I didn’t have anything in the near future and this way I can be good for 2009.
My goal for 2009 is to fight at least three times and try to get back in the UFC and if I can’t get back in the UFC try to get in another name show against someone who is good. You know, just let me fight someone.
JR: What specifically was wrong with your knee?
TL: I blew out my ACL five years ago and I didn’t know it until I had surgery. So I fought my whole career basically without an ACL. They didn’t fix my ACL. They just cleaned up my knee. I still don’t have an ACL but me knee is crazy stable, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I’m back working out and lifting and stuff like that and it was only a week ago.
The thing was, I couldn’t run any more and I couldn’t do sprints. I had some testing done after the Franklin fight trying to figure out why I got tired. My VO2 max is down a little bit lower than it should have been probably and you can change that to a degree if you improve it. And I also had a blood test done and it kind of came back a little bit weird. So it would be nice to get both of those things fixed and come back in 2009.
JR: How much longer do you want to fight?
TL: The brain wants to fight forever. You know, it’s fun and I’m as motivated as I think I’ve ever been, right now, this moment, you know, than I have been for at least a little while.
You know after “The Ultimate Fighter” and then fighting six times in that year and then losing to Anderson in the Finale in that sixth match I might have been a little bit burnt out. And now I feel like I haven’t fought very much in the last two years and I’m ready to go. Just trying to work my way back up.
JR: What’s your favorite part about teaching jiu jitsu?
TL: Watching somebody that comes in and isn’t an athlete and isn’t going to be a world champion some day become very, very good and still be able to hold their own. I like to see the transformation. I’ve been teaching jiu jitsu for ten years now. My first student still trains with me; my very first student. It’s kind of cool. I enjoy having the relationships that you have with them. These guys are my friends.
JR: How did you get your nickname, “The Serial Killer?” Did Patrick Cote come up with it on “TUF?”
TL: Yeah, it came from Patrick. I was on the show and that house is like, even with time marching forward, you kind of forget how terrible the house is. The house is just a terrible place to be. And with every day that goes by you kind of forget that part. Living through it is just painful because they take everything away. There’s no magazines, no books, no television, no radio; you’re just talking to sixteen people. As a human, some sort of input, whether it comes from a television or radio or talking to other people, you know, after a few days you grow weary of talking to the same guys over and over again. Basically, you’re just talking to the eight guys on your team.
One day, I was kind of on a rant upstairs of the house and Patrick happened to be in the room and I was like “Fuck this house,” you know, I’m kind of going off on it. And Patrick didn’t speak that good of English and he misunderstood some of the things I said. I was like “it’s like being in jail,” and he thought I said, “it’s like when I was in jail.” And then this goes on for a couple of days- they were trying to figure out what I went to jail for. I’m usually really quiet and I think it kind of freaked some of the guys out because I didn’t say much and then they heard me in a rant. It ended up with Patrick drawing a picture of me and he drew me with a sickle and they named me the “Serial Killer” and that’s how the “Serial Killer” was born.
JR: That’s pretty cool. That’s an awesome story.
TL: Yeah, it’s funny because Patrick was drawing pictures of all of us from the other team and he’d hang them on the refrigerator and we’d come down in the morning- we worked out first in the morning- so that team would usually stay up later than us. And all of a sudden you’d come down stairs and there’d be a new picture. He drew basically our whole team and some of the guys from the other team and that was the picture he drew of me.
JR: Any shout outs?
TL: Warrior Wear. Warrior Wear’s been great to me. They treated me really good for my last fight and they’re still treating me good. And I’d like to thank them.
MMA Are you ready for a No Nonsense, Real Deal Mixed Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu/MMA Academy? Try out our World Class program in Fort Worth TX Risk Free for 30 Days. That’s right, come train for free in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, BJJ, Muay Thai Kickboxing, MMA, Submission Wrestling or bring your child to one of our Kids Programs for 30 Days FREE,plus our BJJ 60 Day Money Back Guarantee.MMA