Jon Olav Einemo, or simply JOE (props to Ryan Ventura for the nickname), will return to Mixed Martial Arts this weekend after almost a five-year lond absence, directly into the big stage against the 20-2 Dave Herman on the main card of UFC 131 in Vancouver.
Holding a professional MMA record of 6-1 (5 Submissions and one TKO), thirty-five year old Jon Olav Einemo started his MMA career in the year 2000. Einemo is a decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, and a 2003 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Champion with a victory over Alexandre Ferreira in the final. Norwegian's only loss is against Fabricio Werdum via Decision, in a fight that was part of PRIDE 31: Dreamers card on February 26, 2006 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
You were originally scheduled to face Shane Carwin at UFC 131, but instead you will be fighting the 20-2 Dave Herman. How do you feel about having a different opponent on such a short notice, and do you consider Dave Herman an easier match-up?
I'm a little bit disappointed because I was training hard for Shane Carwin, but these things happen, and there's nothing I can do about it. The best thing to do was just to forget about it and prepare for my fight against Dave Herman instead.
Dave Herman is actually more experienced than Carwin, so it's not somebody I will underestimate. He's a big Heavyweight and has a very good record, so I'll have to be at my best for this fight.
You're a decorated grappler, but your preparation for UFC 131 was with the "striking" Team Golden Glory. How different it was for you to train out there, and what in your opinion was the biggest improvement you made during this camp?
Well, I've trained here before my camp for UFC 131, but it's been a while ago. I needed to get into hard sparring and hard training. My mission was to work on all aspects of MMA, and I think I have improved in all levels during this camp. You have so many high level training partners over here, and of course great trainers.
You didn't fight for almost 5 years, and now find yourself right away on the main card of big UFC event in Vancouver. Do you have any "butterflies", or maybe concerns about having ring rust?
Yes, but only in the beginning. At first, I was thinking a lot about everything that could go wrong, but as we got more and more into our training camp and as the training went better and better, I felt very well prepared and it's all vanished. But don't worry, the butterflies are going to come back, but right now I'm very relaxed.
Will submitting Dave Herman be your main goal at UFC 131?
Yes. I want to finish him, but not necessarily to submit him. It's difficult to say what will happen during the fight, but main goal is obviously to get the finish. I think the fight will end in Round 1 or 2.
Will you participate in this year's ADCC (held in Nottingham, England)?
No, I don't think so. I need to focus on my contract with the UFC. This is my main and only goal right now.
What's your prediction for the main event bout between your original opponent, Shane Carwin, and Junior Dos Santos?
Haha, well it's hard to say. Dos Santos is very good and he should have a better conditioning. But in my opinion Shane is stronger, and has a lot of "KO Power". He could catch Dos Santos and knock him out. But again, it's really hard to tell.
Obviously, you also trained with Alistair Overeem at Golden Glory. What can you tell about his grappling game, especially before the fight against Fabricio Werdum?
Well, in my opinion Alistair's grappling is very good. He has a good technique and is really strong and explosive. This is MMA, so anything can happen.
Would you like to mention any sponsors or to thank teammates?
I have so many people to thank, so let's start:
Whole Team Golden Glory - best team in the world.
Ron, Bas, Cor, Roberto, Martin, Kemail, Rinus, Fabrice. Best physiotherapist Erik and JanJan -The Genius Doctor. My family and friends in Norway, my son and unaico that helped me a lot. Special thanks to Alistair for all the help and sparring, and everybody else who helped, thank you so much!