Strikeforce Middleweight prospect Eric Lawson will look to bounce back off his first loss in three years, this time facing the American Kickboxing Academy product Ron Kesler at preliminary action of next week's Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg fight card. Holding a professional MMA record of 9-3, Eric Lawson is a part-time fighter, looking to overcome a series of injuries and claim his spot in the Strikeforce Middleweight mix.
Eric Lawson currently works as a mortgage broker in the North California area. Before his MMA career, Lawson was a professional BMX rider, competing at the X-Games qualifiers in 2002. You can follow Eric on Twitter @lawsonmma, or add him to your friends on Facebook.
Taking time off his busy training schedule, here's what Eric Lawson had to say about his upcoming bout, life as a part-time fighter and much more:
Your next fight is against Ron Kesler on January 29th at Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg. How are preparations going for this fight?
My preparations are going great. I'm training my butt off. I'm training twice a day, six days a week for a while now. I'm having a really good cardio and conditioning program that I'm doing over in the UFC Gym in Concord. At night I'm doing all my MMA and Jiu-Jitsu sparring. I really want to fight a strong fight against Ron for all three rounds.
There's not much information you can find about Ron Kesler. What do you know about him as an opponent?
Ron Kesler is a strong wrestler. He wrestled in college, has a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Camarillo of AKA. He's a strong guy all overall with a good work ethic. His last fight was against one of our other guys, Josh McDonald, Ron went for all three rounds with him and it was a really close decision. Everyone who comes out of the AKA will be tough. It's going to be tough, he's definitely a game opponent – but I feel like I'm fully ready for this fight.
What do you prepare for him in terms of gameplan?
Well, I've seen his fight where he constantly tries to take his opponent down, and I've seen him fighting only in stand-up. So we are prepared for pretty much everything. We are ready for a high-paced long and scrappy fight.
You are training right now twice a day, but from what I understand you're not a full-time fighter?
Yeah. I have my day job. I do mortgages, real estate loans. The good thing about this job is that I can create my own schedule, so when a fight's coming up I concentrate on training. I'm training a morning before work, go to work and training after it at night. It's definitely a full schedule so the time is going pretty fast. I blink and it's fight time.
What's the main reason behind you not being a full-time fighter?
I've been trying to fight a full time. But I had a string of injuries that took me out of competing. Last year and a half I fought only once because of these injuries. Previously I fought four times a year when healthy. I had a knee surgery, dislocated elbow and a busted rib. All that happened during the last year and a half, so that's why I was a little inactive lately and had to postpone my goals of becoming a full-time fighter.
I think that some people may ask you why you are still doing MMA after getting all these injuries?
I think you are just doing what makes you happy. But still, you have to pay your bills and make a living. For me, I fight for fun and because I love it, and not for money. I do pretty good money with my job. If I could afford it, quit my day job and fight full time it would be fantastic. And that's basically my goal. But for now, the most important thing is to do what you love. MMA is such a tough work, which requires a lot of time and dedication. I can't see anyone doing this sport without being extremely passionate about it, and truly loving MMA for what it is.
How many times do you plan to fight in 2011?
In 2011 I want to fight as much as possible. Hopefully each three months. Fighting four fights would be great, without any injuries along the way.
I don't know if it's alright to ask you, but since you are in the Real Estate business, what do you think about Chael Sonnen's money laundering charges?
Well, what he did was wrong and illegal. I think that there are a lot of people in the Real Estate business that shouldn't be in this business. He did a mistake, a bad choice, so now he has to take a responsibility for his actions. Simple as that.
I wanted to ask you about the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament. Who in your opinion has the best chances to win it?
I think it's awesome. The format is great, just like in Bellator. There's no politics behind who gets the title shot, so it's basically up for the fighters. I think it's fantastic and exciting. I think Overeem will come out as a champ. This guy is a freak of nature. He's so big and strong, he will be murdering people. Fedor is also great, but I think that Overeem's got his number.
Where do you see yourself at the end of 2011?
I think 2011 is going to be a year of transition for me to fighting full time. I want to get my fights televised and getting myself name on the map on national level.
You're working with the Alchemist MMA Management. What kind of part they play in your career as a fighter?
They did a great job so far. Everybody on board has a very solid background. So they are pretty smart and good at what they do. It's a great team, and I'm honored to be a part of it. It's a good feeling to know that someone has faith in what you can do. It helps my confidence and my ability to meet my goals for 2011.
Any words for your opponent, Ron Kesler?
I'd say I hope he trains hard, because I train hard. But I'm confident he's preparing well for this fight. I just looking forward to fight him and put up and entertaining show for the fans, that's it.