George Sotiropoulos: The name says it all – ‘TUF: Smashes’ (Interview)

George Sotiropoulos: The name says it all – ‘TUF: Smashes’ (Interview)


Seven years since Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar changed the sport, TUF franchise goes downsunder with a special season of TUF Smashes: Team UK vs. Team Australia. Filming began on July 19th, as the TV launch date of the show is yet to be revealed.

This time the coaches are Ross Pearson (UK) and George Sotiropoulos (Australia). Borth fighters are familiar with The Ultimate Fighter format – Sotiropoulos competed on TUF 6: Hughes vs. Serra, and made it up to the semi-finals, while Ross Pearson won TUF 9: USA vs. UK, coached by Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Team UK won both Lightweight and Welterweight brackets of TUF 9.

Sotiropoulos is well-known for his amazing record in the UFC Lightweight division. The Greek-Australian went 7-0 inside the Octagon, before losing a decision to Dennis Siver at UFC 127, and then getting stopped by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 132. G-Sots is expected to fight Ross Pearson in a traditional Coach vs. Coach bout, with sights on getting back on track in the UFC.

We had an opportunity to speak with George Sotiropoulos, who revealed some interesting information about Team Australia, and his expectations from the fight with Ross Pearson.

Feel free to follow George Sotiropoulos on Twitter @georgesots.

Hello George, what can you tell about your TUF: Smashes experience so far?

It’s a really good experience. It’s very positive, and I’m happy to pass my knowledge to all the great fighters we have on our team. More than anything, I really feel like I’m representing my country.

Do you think fighters today have different goals on TUF than 5 years ago, when  you were fighting on TUF 6?

No, I see the same competitive mentality. I think that’s something we all do the same. People are still coming on this show to make their breakthrough; they want that chance to break into the top 5 percent of Mixed Martial Arts competition.

What can you tell about Team Australia / Sotiropoulos?

We have a lot of talent on our team. I think the fans will be surprised by how competitive is this season. There are some fighters with pretty good records. You guys definitely won’t be disappointed.

I think there’s such thing as “Gym culture”, you can really see it when fighters coming from different gyms – they have their own habits, and often seem to have different mentality. How do you make sure everyone is loyal to Team Sotiropoulos?

Well, basically, I can’t really point my finger at something negative. It’s all positive – my team has a very good mentality, and they train hard. That’s despite the fact that they are all coming from different gyms. As a coach, I do everything I can to help those guys to get in the UFC, and fight on TUF Finale. They are sparring together, working together – yes, they’ll probably face each other, but it’s still a very positive environment.

So, you are not required to take any disciplinary measures as a coach?

It’s not like I’m gestapo or anything like that. Everyone is equal on our team. Everyone wants to get better, and have their chance to get in the UFC. None of them are playing-up or doing anything stupid. They are respectful, humble, competitive, and to be honest – nothing like that has ever crossed my mind.

What do you think about Ross Pearson’s coaching style?

There’s not much interaction between us. I just see him in the hallway and that’s it. Our teams are not training together at the same time.

How do you feel about fighting Ross Pearson? Are you looking forward to it?

Yeah, I’m absolutely looking forward to fight him. Yeah, there’s a lot of pride on the line in this fight. I represent my country on this show, so beating Ross Pearson is definitely on my “to do” list.

Do you think this coaching role on The Ultimate Fighter will have a significant impact on your career in the UFC?

I think it raises my profile. More people will become familiar with my character, and I’m very excited about demonstrating my coaching style as well. I think it will help me to become a household name in the UFC. This season of the Ultimate Fighter will be aired in Australia; so many fans will jump on board. It will grow the sport. Also, I think it’s great that global fans will also become more familiar with what I do as a fighter.

Finally, what fans can expect from TUF: Smashes?

I think they can expect exactly what the name says – TUF Smashes. The name says it all.

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  • dirt

    this is exactly what the sport needs to grow on a global scale. the next champion might be sitting on his ass watching tv when this turns on in Australia. maybe it’ll get him to start training.

    before you get into the sport you have to hear about it first. for a lot of people, this is how it happens.

  • KeithFarrell

    It’s cool doing it U vs. AUS but being honest I wish they could have got better coaches – both guys coming off loses and Sotiropoulos hasn’t fought in ages.

  • ak4742011542

    shouldb good season and decent coaches fight good match up for finale

  • Anton Gurevich

    Sots was injured. And the fact that you’re saying he’s not a good coach is beyond my understanding.

    Went 7-0 in the UFC beating some of the best. Lost that Decision to Siver, and got caught by dos Anjos. Typical MMA fan attitude – once you lose all of a sudden you’re a crap fighter,

  • TheRealDeal

    The best fighters do not necessarily make the best coaches, or vice-versa. Some of the best coaches out there are mediocre fighters at best.

    Sots and Pearson are two who are already proven as top fighters, but we’ve yet to see if either of them are good coaches or not. Both fighters were very close to title contention and have suffered minor setbacks recently.

    Let’s wait until the show airs before we rate either of their coaching abilities.

  • KeithFarrell

    Where did I say he is not a good coach?
    I mean when we are used to people like Wanderlei, Belfort, Cruz, Faber, JDS, Brock, GSP, BJ, Liddell, Ortiz, Bisping, Big Nog, Rampage, Forrest and Rashad being coaches G-Sots and Pearson don’t exactly stack up to them in name value or fighting level.

    I know they did they best they could that’s why I said “I wish”, not I wanted or expected.

    Obviously they are great fighters, Pearson going to a cotroversial decision with Barboza and Sots beating Lauzon proves it but can you really say they are at the level of the usual champion or big fight coaches we are used to?

    It’s been a while since either guy got a win on a main card and injury or not Sots got KO’d quick in a prelim and hasn’t been seen since… this isn’t a “typical mma fan attitude” it’s just been laying the facts and you getting hurt over it for some reason.

  • KeithFarrell

    lol at everyone jumping on Anton’s senseless hate

  • Anton Gurevich

    Haha… relax. No hate at all :)

  • HunterB

    keith, not to prove Antons point but “being honest I wish they could have got better coaches” implies pretty much what he said… i know you didn’t mean it that way, but it dos imply he is not a good coach.

  • HunterB

    AMAZING, one comment that isn’t insta weaked within the first sentence i read. and nothing said about Jon Jones!!! There is hope for you yet!

  • KeithFarrell

    @Hunter I suppose but I was just meaning that they aren’t the elite of their divisions or big name fighters but there isn’t anything better they could have done.

    @Anton just the way you said a typical MMA fan attitude sounded very condescending but if it wasn’t meant in that fashion then I apologise for my mini rant

  • mindkontrolle

    This is a different format of the KFC Double Shot where a double shot is delivered within the context of a single comment, some of you may not be familiar with it yet. Now, having said that, this is preceded by the traditional KFC Double Shot that we all know and love.

  • Entity

    KFC Double Shot!……sorry I havent had the chance to jump on that bandwagon yet….

  • Entity

    Back when I ran a gaming site GP2 team, I always told people Its ok to disagree but you have to remember admins always have the bigger e-penis.

  • Entity

    No shiit. Im almost thinking of sending him a tripod for his AK47.

  • ny2ut2id2nv

    I love both George and Ross’s fighting styles. Should be a great fight at the finale!