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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with GEORGE SOTIROPOULOS
ONE STEP CLOSER - George Sotiropoulos
By Elie for MMA Sports. Photos by Josh Hedges, courtesy of Zuffa, LLC.

George Sotiropoulos has gone from The Ultimate Fighter house to one of the top contenders in the UFC lightweight division. Undefeated in the UFC, he has claimed 5 victims in dominating fashion including highly regarded Joe Stevenson. With eyes on the golden prize, his next target is Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 116 as he gets One Step Closer.

Elie: How is everything since the UFC 110 win?
George: I’m back on track and getting ready for my next fight.

Elie: Your next fight is against Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 116, what are your thoughts on that fight?
George: Pellegrino is similar to Stevenson, they both have a wrestling background, with good jiu-jitsu and striking. But I think Pellegrino is the faster, more agile athlete of the two.

Elie: He’s won his last four fights in the UFC, what is your game plan going into the fight?
George: I’ll play to my strengths. Predominantly he’s a wrestler, but has submissions and striking to back that up.

Elie: What are your predictions on the fight?
George: I’ll have something no matter where the fight goes.

Elie: How is training coming along for this fight?
George: I just got back from a trip in L.A. training with Eddie Bravo, focusing on my ground game. But now I’m home working on everything and it’s going well.

Elie: You’re 5-0, a win over Kurt will make you 6-0, how close do you think you will be to a title shot after this fight?
George: It’s not really my concern. My goal is to simply keep winning.

Elie: If the fight goes as planned for you, who do you want after this fight?
George: I’m not really too concerned. I’ll fight anyone in the division.

Elie: BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar are having a rematch, if for whatever reason BJ was unable to take the fight and they offered the title shot, would you take it?
George: Of course I would.

Elie: We’ve seen you constantly improving with every fight, when will we see the best George Sotiropoulos?
George: It’s always a work in progress and I’m always working to improve every aspect of my game. Always working on my boxing, muay thai, grappling and wrestling.

Elie: If you were ever offered a coaching spot on the Ultimate Fighter, is that something you’d like to do?
George: Definitely, I’d take up an opportunity like that.

Elie: No doubt you’ve fought some big names, big events, what’s one of your best fights to date?
George: My toughest fight took place in Guam on January 2006 against a well rounded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. That fight was a war.

Elie: What can fans expect of George Sotiropoulos in his next fight?
George: An improved version of myself since my last fight.

Elie: Good luck in the fight, any final words?
George: I would like to thank;
• Leonard Gabriel of Fisticuff Boxing in Vancouver Washington
• Eddie Bravo of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu in Los Angeles California
• Eric Jetton for Coaching me in wrestling and my training partners at Impact Jiu Jitsu in Beaverton Oregon.

IN HIS OWN WORDS...

The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale
George def. Billy Miles via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1
“That was my first fight in the UFC, on the big show
against a wrestler.”

UFC Fight Night 13
George def. Roman Mitichyan via TKO (Punches) in Round 2
“That was a much bigger event and the biggest crowd I fought in front of at the time. Roman was a tough Judoka with a lot of heart. It was a good win because I got to
showcase that night.”

UFC 101
George def. George Roop via Submission (Kimura) in Round 2
“A very scrappy striker and grappler with good conditioning. Again, it was the biggest crowd that I fought before at the time.”

UFC 106
George def. Jason Dent via Submission (Armbar) in Round 2
“Predominantly a striker with better grappling than Roop. After this fight I got a step up in competition with Joe Stevenson on UFC 110.”

UFC 110
George def. Joe Stevenson via Unanimous Decision in Round 3
“A high caliber UFC fighter with a solid base in wrestling and jiu-jitsu. A tough lightweight with lots of experience. The biggest name I fought to date.”

 

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