|Photo by Scott Hirano|
MTA: What do you gain from training there over what you find in the U.S.?
Ognjen: Experience. I am training with current champions in Thailand every day. The level of these fighters is superior and is something I cannot replicate back home. I understood that it was the experience that I needed in order to become a more successful fighter. There are no shortcuts to experience and simply just takes time through repetition. This is why I chose to stay in Thailand for a longer period of time.
MTA: There was recently a coup in Thailand. Can you tell us a bit how, if at all, it has affected your daily life there? Do you know if it affects the fights in the stadiums at all?
Ognjen: What coup? It really hasn’t affected anyone's daily routine here in Thailand. The Thais have dealt with this numerous times before and I really respect the way the army handled the situation. They truly care for the country's well being. Yes, the stadiums have been affected and one of my fights was postponed two times because of the curfew.
MTA: How is the experience fighting in Thailand?
|Channel 7 118lb. Champion Jack Satanfaa. Photo by Scott Hirano|
Ognjen: The competition is a lot harder here. The main difference is that the Thais have expert timing. This is what I’ve been trying to work on while training with and fighting against the Thais. I try to set specific goals on what I want to learn, whether it be a specific move or a skill such as timing. I try to work on it until I get it. If I don’t successfully accomplish what I’m working on within a few days than I leave it alone and come back days or weeks later to retry.
MTA: How is that experience different from fighting in the U.S.?
Ognjen: The whole fight is different. As most fans know, Thais tend to fight in the later rounds. In Thailand we also get a two minute rest break which gives a fighter a lot more time to recuperate so that he can fight harder in the later rounds. I do prefer fighting in Thailand, the scoring system is much better. In Thailand a weak fighter can throw 5 kicks while a strong fighter can throw one strong kick and in this case the one stronger kick thrown will count more. Back in America (some states excluded) no emphasis is placed on a fighters ability to perform the techniques well–with balance and power. Emphasis is placed on the fighter who is walking forward and out working his opponent even if the techniques are weak.
MTA: How long before American fans get to see fight state side again?
Ognjen: I will be fighting for Lion Fight sometime by the end of the year.
MTA: Who would you like to fight when you return to action in the United States?
Ognjen: As I stated before, I’d like to fight Rungravee and anyone else that is ranked at a high level. Win or lose I get satisfaction out of challenging myself.
|Photo by Scott Hirano|
MTA: It seems that there are more potential fights at higher weights. Would it be possible to see you move up to 140lbs or is that out of the question?
Ognjen: As of now I have no plans fighting at that weight. When I am training for a fight here in Thiland I have been walking around at about 138lbs. The guys at 140lbs are walking around at much heavier weights. It’s not out of the questions but for now I have no plans.
MTA: Any parting words for those who look forward to your return to the ring in the U.S.?
Ognjen: I will be back soon and as a much stronger and technically sound fighter. I promise to give even better and more exciting fights thank before.