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The 'Crazy Cuban' talks

Interview by Jose Santiago

On the undercard of UFC 99, Rolando “The Crazy Cuban” Delgado (8-3-1) will take on Paul Kelly (9-1) in a 155-pound three-rounder. Delgado recently took time out to talk with Fightnews.

How did you get started in the fight game?

I was always fascinated with martial arts. As a kid, I never really had foreseen myself with an opportunity to get into it. I started to wrestle in Philadelphia then I moved to Little Rock when I was a junior in high school. Looking for a gym to train in I came across a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gym and that’s where it all started. I got involved in MMA and although I was and am always training I was only dabbling a bit and fighting once or twice a year for a long time. I opened a gym and started training Jiu-Jitsu then, on a whim, I got involved in the TUF.

Your alias is “The Crazy Cuban.” How did you receive that moniker?

It’s actually an anti-climatic story. A buddy of mine that I used to work with at a coffee shop used to make fun of me for being half Cuban. So before my first amateur fight he sarcastically suggested that I use the name “Crazy Cuban”, not realizing that I would actually use it. So I put it down as my nickname and The Ultimate Fighter used it as well. The funny thing is that I’m not really all that crazy and consider myself a pretty reserved conservative person. There are a lot of people crazier than I am.

What was your reaction to getting being casted in The Ultimate Fighter Season 8?

Well it works in phases. You get a call letting you know that you made it to the medical round. At that point you have an idea how well you did in the interviews. I felt for certain that I did really well in the interviews and I thought for sure I had made the show. But the most important for me was to make it to the medical stage. When I finally got that call it was phenomenal. I went to the tryouts and interviews and was suppose to receive a call on Sunday. I didn’t get the call so I didn’t think I made it and I was bummed out. But they did finally call me the next day and I was very excited.

You won your fight in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter and now you’re fighting in the UFC. How does that make you feel?

Fighting in the finale is essentially the same production value of a UFC fight so from that aspect I thing I’ve experienced it. But to be honest in the past I would be sitting at home thinking to myself wow what would it be like to fight on the same card with Wanderlei Silva and now that it’s happening I don’t even think about it. I’m just focused on my fight and even if it was being broadcasted on a smaller scale or on the internet I would treat it the same…just focused on my fight and not on the big show. However because I’m fighting for the UFC which I’m really excited about, I don’t know if I would willing to sacrifice all that I have. The UFC will bring out the best in me and it’s an honor to be here.

You will be taking on Paul Kelly, what’s your take on him?

Well we know that he’s shorter than I am, but he’s not necessarily smaller. He’s coming down from 170 and I normally fight at or below 155. He’s like a little fire plug and will probably come in heavier than me on fight night. He’s a heavy favorite and a tough guy…a grinder and finisher with striking as his biggest strength. We’ve know about this fight for about 3 months now, so we’ve watched video and have acknowledged some of his weaknesses that we look to take advantage of. My advantages are on the outside and on the ground and we look forward to taking advantage of those things as well.

He’s a 3 fight UFC veteran and this is your UFC debut, does that benefit you or Kelly?

You know with my personality I don’t fight for the recognition. I can honestly say that I fight and use it as a personal test to see where I am as a fighter, and as a person. If I’m fighting in a basement or on the fairgrounds of some poor dunk county it doesn’t matter. I’m not fighting for the crowd or the venue and it doesn’t play on my mind set. If anything I feel that the pressure is on him. He’s moving down in weight, he’s the three fight veteran and that could be a lot of pressure for a guy. At the end of the day it comes down to what I’m going to do and not what he’s already done or plans to do.



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