Ivan Menjivar will look for his fourth straight win in the UFC on Saturday when he takes on Mike Easton at UFC 148.
Ahead of the matchup, Menjivar joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to reflect on his career, fighting Georges St. Pierre and more.
On being told he may be Dominick Cruz’s replacement against Urijah Faber: “They contacted my manager and they told us I was one of the three guys that maybe could go fight against Faber. I said, ‘Yes, take my name. If you choose me, I’m going to be ready. I’ll go to prepare.’ But they took ‘Barao.’ I said, ‘OK, no problem,’ but they told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’re still on the card. We’re going to find you a new opponent.’ Perfect. So no bad thing. That’s part of the game. Everybody got lucky because the injury happened many weeks before the show. I think the UFC was very professional to try to find someone and everybody has a fight, so that’s a good thing.”
On whether he knew Georges St. Pierre would be great when they fought in 2002: “Yes and no. He was good. At the same time, he was more -- he learned a lot with us after about how to think before the fight, to get more calm. We trained together after the fight. … People after the fight, now they know me and they look at my name. ‘Oh man, you fought Georges St. Pierre?’ I say yes. And then they ask me what was the weight. ‘170.’ ‘What? You was that big?’ I say yes. I was like that before because we didn’t have so many weight categories like today.”
On whether he trained during his time away from MMA: “I kept training. I continued training. I never stopped training. … Even with my knee, a bad injury, I’d go to the gym and do a little jiu-jitsu slowly. I didn’t get fat. That’s important. I didn’t get big.”
On working as a customs agent while not competing: “There were funny moments. I was working the line and people wanted to take pictures with me, autographs. ‘Would you sign your autograph?’ And then my boss looked at me: ‘Why people want to sign autograph with you? Why people want to take picture with you?’ ‘Oh because they know me. I’m a professional fighter.’ That was fun, to explain to managers who you are really.”
On whether he’s recognized in the United States: “Not really. I don’t know. Some fans recognize me. The real fans recognize me. ‘Can I take a picture with you?’ I say yes. But I’m not that popular like Georges. It’s good, but I want to be more popular. I’ve got to try to find more sponsors, and that can help me a little more with my career. One day.”
On whether he’s recognized in Canada: “The young Canadian fans, they know me. Not all the ones. Only the generation of people watching the sport. I’d say if one day the little grandma walking the street, if she recognizes me, that’s when I’m going to be on a new level of popularity. Because she’s going to know: ‘Oh, this is the guy fighting on TV.’ That’s going to be another level of popularity.”
On his UFC 148 bout against Easton: “I want to give everything to make a beautiful fight. That’s my first goal. One round, two rounds, three rounds of having fun. I just want to express myself, let my body go and make a beautiful fight. After the bell rings, I just want people to enjoy the moment. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. I just want to come out of the ring and be happy. I want to see people jumping and saying, ‘I loved your fight. You were the best fight of the night.’”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 55:45).