Today on the “MMA Hour” Josh Burkman sat down to speak with Ariel Helwani about his recent WSOF win over former UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch and to discuss what’s in store (next) for “The People’s Warrior”.
Burkman was in high-spirits in answering Helwani’s questions. Josh has always been a guy that came across as light-of-heart, but in this afternoon’s sit-down one could / can tell that he’s on cloud 9.
Burkman credits the turnaround in his career (8 & 1 since leaving the UFC) to a number of things. Principal amongst those are no longer “living-the-lifestyle” in the offseason, rehabbing his injured back, getting married and having his first child. Of those the latter two are the most important. Of his marriage he said it made him become a “man” and of the birth of his child he said it “renewed my spirit and passion for what I do.”
In a nutshell, he has matured and become a family man. Burkman noted that when he first entered the UFC in November of 2005 and at age 25, he was simply too immature to maintain the training standards of a professional MMA fighter, during the interceding months between bouts.
As to his victory over Jon Fitch, Josh said he wasn’t shocked at the win (he had predicted a 2nd round finish), but he was shocked as to the early manner of it, saying that “sometimes you gotta go with what opens up and when they go like that, you tip your hat to the martial arts when it works out...”
He felt that although Fitch had not intentionally underestimated him, he thought that Jon could not have failed to do otherwise, by virtue of the fact that he had would have had no idea as to how much he (Burkman) had improved since their last meeting. Surely, the proof of that statement was Jon’s limp and out body @ the 41 second mark of round 1.
On the subject of Steve Mazzagatti and the criticism(s) which has / have come his way for not stepping in and pulling Josh off of (the out cold) Fitch, Burkman thinks it’s out of order. The only negative thing that he had to say of it was that perhaps the referee could have been in a better position, in terms of seeing the action. Other than that he had nothing more to offer.
As to what’s next for The People’s Warrior, Josh tells us that he has 3 fights left on his contract and no intention or desire to leave the WSOF. His focus is on helping build the company and hopefully turning it into the “ABA” of MMA, with himself playing the role of “Dr. J”.
Ray Sefo, president of the WSOF has told him that his next fight will be for the promotion's (inaugural) welterweight belt and will most likely be against Steve Carl (19 & 3). However, as Burkman has a hand injury and may be out for a while depending on whether or not he needs surgery Josh has suggested a bout between Carl & Fitch, with himself getting the winner of that match.
All in all, it was a great interview. If you have the time and wish to watch the video is below. The Burkman interview starts at (roughly) the 28 minute mark.