Gladiator Challenge

Interview With Strikeforce Star And Former GC Champ Scott "Hands Of Steel" Smith




Former Gladiator Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith is one of the most

popular fighters in the middleweight division today, due to his “never say die” attitude and brutal knockout

power. A professional fighter for ten years, Smith holds a 5-1 record in GC, and competed in the promotion

as recently as 2007. Now focused fully on his career in Strikeforce, “Hands of Steel” is scheduled to face

Tarec Saffiedine at “Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson” on July 30th. I spoke with Smith

recently about his upcoming fight, his reputation, and his career. Check it out:


Phil Lanides: How are you doing physically? How has your training camp been for this fight with Tarec


Scott Smith: It’s been good. Every camp, you’re always going to have a few injuries or whatnot. But I’m

doing good. I’ve gotten back to my basics of wrestling and jiu -jitsu, and everything’s been coming around

these last few weeks. So I’m feeling a lot more confident now.


PL: That brings me to my next question. Most MMA fans see you as a brawling striker, but you’ve said in

recent interviews that you want to get back to your roots, which is actually wrestling and grappling. Have

you focused more on that than your striking in preparation for this fight?

SS: Not just this fight, actually, but the last fight, too. Coming into my Benji Radach fight a few years ago, I

had a knee injury that almost forced me to pull out of that fight. And going into the first Cung Le bout, I was

banged up and couldn’t do any grappling because of those injuries. The last fight that I did true grappling

and jiu-jitsu for was the Paul Daley fight [this past December], and I didn’t get to show any of that, which is

what was so disappointing about that fight. I’ve been really excited to get back into jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

It’s not that I’m going to go out there and try to take this fight to the ground, but that hasn’t even been in

my playbook the last few years. Now it’s at least a page in my playbook that I can fall back on.


PL: Your opponent possesses a strong kickboxing background, but only has one knockout victory in his

pro MMA career. Do you feel you’re the guy to bring that facet of his game to the surface?

SS: It’s one of those fights where I’m going to go out there and see how it goes. Obviously, I’m going to

have the power, and he’s going to have the speed and technique. I think I’m the way stronger wrestler. He

probably thinks his ground game is way better than mine, and I disagree with that. I think I’m going to take

the fight wherever I want it to be.


PL: Regarding the Daley fight, some have said that it was the weight cut that really did you in. You’ve come

back and said that the cut was hard, but that it had nothing to do with the loss. How has your weight cut

been for this fight?

SS: It ’s been about the same. Like I’ve said, I felt great that last fight. I wish I could point the finger for the

Daley fight, but I feel like I just got caught. Now, if the same thing happens again, then I have to step back

and look at what weight class I should fight at. But I felt great at 170, and that’s what I want to be again. I

think I’m going to go in there big and strong, and feeling good.


PL: Turning towards your overall career, you’re known as the “Comeback Kid,” the “Rocky Balboa” of MMA,

so to speak. What is it about your approach that allows you to get more come-from-behind wins than most?

SS: I think it’s just that when you’re losing a fight, fear takes over. I think fear is a good thing for people.

Just like the fight against Cung Le. I’m in there getting kicked all around, and finally, it’s like, “Do I want to

keep doing this, or do I want to try to end this fight?” Then the sense of urgency kicks in it, and I do have

the knockout power when I’m able t o touch people.


PL: Obviously, you would never purposely design to get beat down and come back at the end, so it just

seems to be a mental thing for you, from what you’ve said…

SS: Yeah, it’s something I’ve really tried to work on. I’ve had that problem even sparring. I’ll spar eight

rounds, and I don’t start looking good till round six. I’ll sit there and take way too many punches, and that’s

some I’ve really tried to work on…you know, to make the last round the first round.


PL: You’ve lost three of your last four in Strikeforce. Going into this fight, you’re the established veteran,

and you have more name recognition than your opponent. Do you feel more pressure than you normally

would for this fight?

SS: I feel the pressure, yeah. This is pretty much a must-win for me. But that’s a good thing, too. I need to

go out there and fight to win, and not fight not to lose. I need to go out there and take the fight from him,

and that’s what I’m going to have t o go out there and do. And that’s where I fight my best.


PL: Out of all your knockout victories, which one is your personal favorite?

SS: Probably the Cung Le fight. That’s my favorite knockout victory. My favorite overall fight is the Pete Sell

fight. We had so much fun in that fight. It was a pretty even fight going till the end. I mean, the Cung Le

fight, he beat me up the whole fight and then I caught him. But the Pete Sell fight is my favorite fight, and

the Cung Le fight is my favorite knockout.


PL: What should fans expect out of “Hands of Steel” at “Fedor vs. Henderson?”

SS: I’m going to go out there mean and hungry. I’m not going to go out there and take the fight to him, and

I’m going to determine what happens.


PL: Any prediction for the Fedor-Dan Henderson fight?

SS: Fedor-Dan Henderson…I don’t think a lot of people are saying this, but I see a Dan Henderson

knockout. Maybe I’m just going off of what I want (laughs).


PL: One last question: do you have a prediction for your fight?

SS: I don’t see it going past the first round. I see the fight ending by KO or TKO.


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Gladiator Challenge is a world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion established in 1999 by Tedd

Williams. A former UFC fighter, Williams is a former national AAU Sambo Champion (1997), a former

California State Judo Champion (4th Degree Black Belt under “Judo” Gene Lebell) and a former college

All-American wrestler (Cerritos Jr. College, 1988-89). Gladiator Challenge runs 12-18 MMA events per year,

and has featured MMA superstars Urijah “The California Kid” Faber, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, James

Irvin, Tyson Griffin, Dan “The Beast” Severn, “Sugar” Rashad Evans, Scott “Hands of Stone” Smith, “The

Maine-iac” Tim Sylvia, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, Mac Danzig, Jerry Bohlander, “Krazy Horse” Charles

Bennett, Chris Leben, Chael Sonnen, Jake Shields, “The Secret Weapon” Pete Spratt, Nate “The Rock”

Quarry, Jason “The Punisher” Lambert, Bobby “The Bad Seed” Hoffman, and Cal Worsham, among many

others. Gladiator Challenge can be found online at




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