Remco Pardoel - Interview

May 27, 2004
With the unmatching images of a stocky schoolyard bully out for lunch money and the humble, honest personality that he displayed in UFC 2, Remco Pardoel became as unique an attraction as anything MMA has since seen. He came from Holland, a land of kickboxers, yet was most comfortable on the ground. His respect and admiration for those he fought contrasted the brutal dark side that was let loose in the cage: a brief UFC star, Pardoel has since continued to fight on in more modern MMA.

Derek Callahan: How did you first start up in MA?

Remco Pardoel: There was an ad in a magazine in Holland, called KO magazine. I reacted that I wanted to fight in this event called the UFC.

DC: What made you want to enter the UFC?

RP: I believed in my style and I wanted to look how far I could get in this kind of an event. It is always a hot item, which style is the best. Holland is a pro Thai boxing country and I want to prove them wrong.

DC: How did your impression of the event change from before to after you competed in it?

RP: My belief in jiu-jitsu only went stronger. I knew about the Gracie's. I invited Jacare in November 1993 over for a seminar after I met them at the world championships in Denmark at that time.

DC: How come so many fighters from the early UFCs are gone and you're still fighting?

RP: I love to compete. I was out for two years in 1996 due to a complicated broken leg I broke my shin bone, crushed my calf bone and my ankle was in four pieces. That happened in a judo match. I still have the urge to prove that I belong to the best 20 in the world.

DC: How has the game gotten tougher/easier for you since UFC 2?

RP: A lot of people now go in to survive the 2 or 3 rounds. At that time there was only one winner. So people went for it. The skills of different fighter has moved up a lot. A year ago nobody ever thought someone could beat Minotauro. Look what Fedor did to him.

DC: I'd like to hear about your fights with Marco Ruas, Orlando Weit, and Royce Gracie please.

RP: Orlando Weit: He is a Thai boxing legend. I really looked up to him. He never was kayoed in his entire career until the UFC, I really had the thought that [I] would not survive this one. Everything went as planned with the shoot and the takedown, than it was a kind of rush. The rest is history. Royce Gracie: The best way to learn something to compete in it. Royce was the man to compete against. He was, and I still think, the better man. He won fair and square. I am proud that I am one of people who had the honor to compete with the legend of the cage. Marco Ruas: This is a different story. He was not really fair. He used grease. So at that time I did not had the experience to fight a guy with oil over his body. I loved to get a rematch. He declined.

DC: Why have you slowed down your schedule as of late?

RP: Ask Dana White. I had a bad promotion. Bas Boon was my manager. I could help Gibert Yvel and Heath Herring with the promise that I should get some fights offered. I waited 18 months. If I asked him for a fight the answer was that I should train more. Yeah right.

DC: What can we expect from you in the future?

RP: I really don't know I hope that someone can offer me a good deal in an event like Gladiator Challenge, King of the Cage or the UFC.

DC: We see many kickboxers from Holland, but not many jiu-jitsu guys like yourself. Why do you feel that's so?

RP: I tried to build up BJJ in Holland. In 1996 we had an descent team. We played 3-3 against a pro Japanese team as amateurs. Some guys were jealous and got it as far that we split up. I could start from scratch. I helped some fighters and we are getting back on track again. The second thing is, the magazines and other media are Thai boxing orientated also. For instance, judo and jiu-jitsu is big in Holland, 240,000 people train judo and jiu-jitsu, and we have many big stars and there is nothing about that in the magazines. That is sad I believe.

DC: Would you ever like to be back in the Octagon? If so, how do you plan on getting there?

RP: It is better to ask Dana White this question.

DC: How have you evolved as a fighter since the UFCs?

RP: I trained some boxing, won a few fight standing, made the classic mistake to forget my ground game in some fights. I am over that and ready to take any challenge.

DC: As evidenced by your KO of Weit, how were you able to overcome the thoughts of, 'hey, I may have to really hurt a guy here?'

RP: He would do the same with me when he had the chance. MMA is the strangest sport around. Before and after you can make really good friends with some people, fighters. When it is in the ring or cage it will be war.

DC: Tell me about the emotions that ran through the backstage areas before the early UFCs, what was the 'behind the scenes' like?

RP: For me it was kind of hectic. It was all new. I never fought outside a tatame, on the street once or twice, but never for a packed arena. I am used to sleep before a fight. That makes me relaxed and focused, so I'm not seeing a lot before the fights are on.
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