From the gridiron to the cage, the UFC’s Brian Houston got off to a quick start in mixed martial arts. Now fighting out of Omaha, Nebraska, the 32 year old Georgia native is looking to right the ship and make his name in the UFC.
Fighting out of Omaha, Nebraska you got a late start to MMA. You’ve grown leaps and bounds since your pro debut against Josh Heath less than just 2 years ago in Victory Fighting Championship. Going from basically winning with your athletic ability and dragging it out 3 rounds. After that fight you strung together 3 straight knockouts to earn your way into the UFC quickly. How did you transition from playing professional indoor football with the Omaha Beef to becoming a professional MMA fighter?
Houston: It was pretty easy since I wrestled at a high level in high school. That and I’ve been competing my entire life. I just jumped right in so i could see if this was for me or not. The most noticeable difference between the two would be the cardio. Football is short bursts with lots of rest. Switching over just meant I had to catch up in that aspect.
Before you got into MMA, you were an all-state (Georgia) wrestler in high school, a football player and boxing trainer. You also have Muy Thai and professional boxing experience. Does your athleticism and striking ability help you overcome some inexperience in the cage when it comes to the ground game and other disciplines like jiu jitsu and how do you use that to your advantage?
Houston: Yeah, of course my athletic ability gives me an advantage on the feet and the ground as well. I’m very technical but i can go “Beast Mode” if i choose to. I just feel like relying on that too much, on my athletic ability will make me a one trick pony. Those kinds of guys never last that long. Speaking of experience, yes it helps my learning curve. I’ve always felt that if i look at him on film and think I can beat him, then I can. No need to make it harder than it has to be. Either you can or you can’t, its up to you.
Your fight against Jett Jones in Victory Fighting Championship 40 was Rampage Jackson like with that slam. Did you know immediately that he was done after that? Is that something you love to do in fights or was it something that just happened?
Houston: No, I didn’t know that he was done after that. He kept repeating my arm my arm! So I looked down and saw that it was mangled and pretty much got out of there hahaha. I have a wrestling backgrounds, so yes I love slams in fights. I have a saying I like to go by… “If I lock my hands. I I hope you packed your bags.” what?…….. I like to toss to people haha.
Being fast tracked the UFC with just a 4-0 record and making your debut against former Strikeforce competitor Derek Brunson you suffered your first defeat via rear naked choke in the first round. Since then you also lost second UFC fight with a tough split-decision loss against Trevor Smith. What has this experience and journey been like and what have you learned from your setbacks to become a better fighter down the road?
Houston: The journey so far has been great to be honest. Its cool to say that I’m doing all of my learning in the UFC. Win or lose I always learn something from my fights. I don’t mind set backs as long as I get there. I’m a pretty patient guy.
What’s next for you? Any fights lined up either getting another chance in the UFC or another promotion? Who would you like to fight next?
Houston: As of right now I’m still in the UFC waiting on my next call. I’m down to fight anyone in the top 50. Or anyone on the roster for that matter. I just want to compete.
As a fighter, what was your most memorable fight and as a fan what is the one fight that either made you love this sport or really stands out as your favorite of all time. If you had your pick, anyone throughout the history of MMA, who would be your dream opponent?
Houston: My most memorable fight was my national championship Thai Boxing Association fight. It was a huge step up for me in the level of competition I was facing. He won the first round but I won the second and third round from standing 8 count in each round. I’m still one of only three men to ever beat him. Favorite moment in MMA history will have to be the Gracie’s taking over the MMA game. That’s also the same time that I made the decision that I never wanted to fight MMA. I wasn’t a fan of people tapping and them still getting their arm broken hahaha. Cliche as it may be my dream opponent is Anderson Silva.
Brian, thanks for taking the time. Anyone you’d like to thank (Sponsors)? And where can fans find more info on you or stay up to date with you?
Houston: I’d like to thank my sponsors: oral IV. Twin Peaks Omaha. FSE. Smuggling duds underwear for ninjas. American Top Team . Team extreme athlete Management. Max Muscle Bellevue and Faction Mouthguard .