WARMING UP I started out wrestling in high school and boxing a little bit growing up. My grandfather was a boxer in the US military. He taught my father how to box and my dad taught me. I really got into it in college. I started running into other fighters who did other disciplines. We used to rent a racquet-ball court at the fitness centre at UCLA [the University of California, Los Angeles] and fight one another. Full-contact [fighting, such as mixed martial arts] was getting big, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was getting popular, so that was the direction I was headed. I joined a jujitsu team that became a full-contact team and it just went from there. I got my undergraduate degree in history from UCLA and I wanted to go back for my master's and doctorate. I applied to the programme but didn't get in. I was spending four hours each day training and I thought: 'Why don't I give that a shot for a few years?' It worked out pretty well. ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES I have the mental and physical abilities to do other things, but right now I'm spending the time I have fighting. In boxing, at 31 you're starting to fade. In full contact you can carry on longer because the damage isn't as repetitive. In boxing, you get hit in the head a lot. Concussions start taking their toll on you - speed is the first thing to go. In full contact, if you're a wrestler, you're not taking much damage and it doesn't require that kind of explosive speed that is hard to get after 35. I tell everybody: 'Defeat doesn't need any help.' You can't fear defeat; you have to want victory. They're two different mental processes. You have to focus on victory and what you need to accomplish. Let's say my fight is 15 minutes long - I will sit for 15 minutes beforehand and envision the fight going exactly the way I want it to go. I also think about horrible things I've gone through with training: 'I've gone through that, I've already gone through the hard part. The fight's the easy part.' Eye contact is a huge thing - your opponent's eyes tell you everything, and if I see fear in there, they're in trouble. THE OTHER FELLA Professionally, I've trained with world champions such as Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Jack O'Day - big-name fighters - and I love fighting them. I've never gone: 'Aw man, he's so good I don't want to fight him.' My fantasy fight would [have been against] either Bruce Lee or Sugar Ray Robinson, because they are legends in their fields. There are so many stories about Lee, not only as an actor and as a performer, but as a fighter. I would have loved to be able to say: 'Yeah, I got kicked in the ribs by Bruce Lee,' and still have the bruise to show for it. FIGHT CLUB I have a fight team that's developing in California, out of Redondo Beach. So the next stage after fighting would be managing other fighters and promoting other fights and being part of the fight world in another capacity. When I'm fighting, I'm aggressive and I attack. I'll beat up a person who's my best friend when we're in the ring. If I haven't given you a black eye, I don't know you that well. The mentality of the military doesn't appeal but I'm not a pacifist in any way. If somebody fights dirty with me, I'm fighting dirty back. If someone I don't know throws a punch at me and we're not in the ring, he is in trouble. Once my friend got into a bar fight with a guy who had harassed his girlfriend. It was my job to make sure only the two of them fought - my friend was outnumbered 30 to one and the last thing you want is a beer-bottle brawl. So he started fighting this guy and they ended up on the ground. This big biker guy tried to join in and I jumped in front of him and he went: 'Eh ...' and just stopped and went, 'Alright, I'd rather not fight you.' I just put my hands up and stood there, like, 'The first person is going to have to go through me.' Everybody just froze. WHEN THE BRUISES HEAL My wife would describe me probably as a contradiction, because I'm into a weird mix of stuff. I'm a history and trivia nut, I'm calm and I'm not a violent guy when I'm not fighting. Maybe later on in life I will want to teach at the college level. Get my master's and go on and teach at a higher-level institution. I would really enjoy teaching. I'm a history dork. I've always been a history dork. Watch Jimmy Smith and co-host Doug Anderson battle the best in Fight Quest (Discovery Channel; Tuesdays at 10pm).