World Series of Fight president Ray Sefo will be stepping into the cage for what will possibly be the last time tomorrow night against Dave Huckba at WSOF 4. The decorated kickboxer, fighter, and now promoter spoke with MMAFrenzy ahead of tomorrow’s bout to discuss a variety of topics including tomorrow’s fight, his career, and more.
How hard has it been to put your duties as WSOF president on hold to train for tomorrow’s fight with Dave Huckba?
No, not at all. I still go to the office for maybe an hour or so here and there, but I am very fortunate to have a great team here at World Series of Fighting. They all understand that I am getting ready for a fight and they have been great for giving me the time to focus on training camp. They want the best for me come Saturday.
Your opponent this Saturday is a tough veteran in Dave Huckba, what are your thoughts on him as an opponent?
Dave is a tough, strong guy and his record speaks for itself. He was supposed to be the co-main event at WSOF 3 with Rolles Gracie, but unfortunately Rolles got hurt. So it was only fair to bring Dave back on the main card. We presented some guys and our matchmaker asked me about that fight. The timing was right, cause I also wanted to fight. So here we are.
As for what I see in the fight, the whole training camp has been great. Like I said about Dave, his record speaks for itself and he has a lot of experience in MMA (with 40+ fights) and I have three. I have a lot of overall experience in combat sports though. Again, I cannot thank my team enough for putting up the time and effort to help train me. I feel like I am ready for wherever the fight goes.
How long are you looking to keep fighting in MMA?
This fight is probably my last fight. My first goal in fighting was to win three fights, the second goal was to become a national champion, and the third goal was to become a world champion, and the fourth was to become a K-1 fighter and fight the best in the world. I have won multiple titles and have been inducted into the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame.
My last goal was to get to 100 fights [combined] and I am at 100, I thought I had 96, but I spoke to my coach in New Zealand, who I became world champion with, and found out that my fight this Saturday will be 101.
I have been very blessed with how my career has gone, and I can’t thank all my friends, family, and everybody involved with my life enough. This was not a one man scenario. I could never have achieved anything in my career by myself. So this is possibly my last fight.
So even with GLORY’s recent success you have no desire to get back in the ring as well?
Absolutely, I mean that is the reason why I am in this fight [with Huckba]. That said, there are great things happening for World Series of Fighting in 2014, I still coach at Xtreme Couture, and my son, who is the love of my life, I have to make time for as well. Because I have had a very blessed career, I am at that point now where I am content with hanging up the gloves and walking away from the game.
What is the toughest part of going from kickboxing to MMA?
At first, it was being able to fight off my back. I had always been on my feet [in boxing and kickboxing] so having to deal with a guy in top position and learning submissions/sweeps was the toughest. That was in the beginning though. So learning the ground game has made me a better fighter. Like I said above, I have had a great camp to help round that out.
When I have talked to Dustin Jacoby and Tyrone Spong, both have been complimentary of you allowing them to seek out other challenges in kickboxing. How do you balance letting your fighters take on challenges while still putting on great events for the WSOF?
Yeah, I absolutely think that coming from a fighting/martial arts background gives me a lot more insight into making those decisions. Thinking about the fighters best interests is big for me. When you work at a happy place, and when you’re happy where you work, you’re going to perform better.
As for Tyrone, he is just an amazing talent. There just isn’t enough words to describe how talented he is. It is amazing to me he is still in his 20’s. I have known him since he was 18 years old and even then I was hearing so many great things about him. Then when I saw him perform I was even more impressed. He is with a great camp, working with Rashad Evans and some of the best in the game with great Dutch coaches, boxing coaches, etc. He just won that tournament in New York [GLORY 9] and did so impressively.
The reason he is contractually allowed to fight in kickboxing is because that’s his thing and I respect that. I was in the same boat, guys like me and Tyrone can kickbox in our sleep, if you will. He is an amazing person and fighter, just can’t say enough good things about the guy.
I know you are more focused on Saturday right now, but what can you tell me about the plans you mentioned for WSOF?
There’s a lot of good things coming. Right now we have a show Saturday, then September 14 we head to Atlantic City, and then in October we are heading to Miami. I have things planned for 2014 but my main focus is for Dave Huckaba on Saturday. After that, I can put on my suit and tie again.
Anything you would like to say to the fans before Saturday’s card?
I want to thank all the fans, both in the US and all over the world, for all the support they have not only give me but the World Series of Fighting. We’re a new company that has only had three shows but it feels like ten years because of the love and support of the fans, as well as the media. I want to thank NBC Sports Network for believing in us and being a part of what we do. Boost Mobile has been a big help to us. I want to thank all my staff at WSOF, my team at Xtreme Couture, and my family.
The World Series of Fighting returns to action this Saturday on NBC Sports Network with a solid lineup featuring kickboxing great Tyrone Spong taking on Angel DeAnda in the main event. The card will also feature Sefo himself taking on Dave Huckba and will mark the debut of former XFC lightweight champion Nick Newell.