Ludwig: Neer Shouldn’t Stand & Strike, But Probably Will

By Sherdog.com Staff Jan 19, 2012
Duane Ludwig won’t tell Josh Neer what to do, but he thinks Neer should probably try to get him to the ground when they meet Jan. 20 at UFC on FX “Guillard vs. Miller.”

“It’s not like I’m the best guy in the world, but it’d be better for him to take me down,” Ludwig told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I feel I’m technically superior. I’m faster. I have more power, but anything can happen.”

Ludwig has long been recognized as one of the best strikers in MMA. He was a kickboxer before he was a mixed martial artist and he’s one of the few MMA fighters to also have success in K-1. At the same time, Neer is as tough as they come. Ludwig’s not trying to downplay that fact.

“He’s definitely tough,” Ludwig said. “He’s well rounded. He’s good off his back. He’s got decent wrestling. His striking is pretty good. … I think it would be better for him not to stand up, but I’m not going to tell him that.”

Neer is fully capable of winning fights by submission or ground-and-pound. That doesn’t mean he’ll try to take Ludwig down, though, even if he’s outmatched on the feet.

“All the fights I’ve seen of him, he’s always wanted to fight,” Ludwig said. “He’s always wanted to stand there and scrap. I don’t see why that would change now. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a good time for sure. I enjoy these bouts, these styles of matchups.”

Even if Neer does try to ground the fight, Ludwig believes he’ll be ready. He said the move back up to 170 pounds from 155 has helped his takedown defense and his jiu-jitsu game immensely.

“I should have moved up to 170 a while ago,” said Ludwig, adding that he’d been walking around as high as 195 pounds the last couple of years. “Making 155 has always been very tough for me. That’s why I brought out Mike Dolce as my nutritionist. Even with him, he said I should probably move up to 170 because 155 is too hard. Every time I’d go train, my focus would be to burn calories and sweat and lose weight rather than getting better as a mixed martial artist. I think my jiu-jitsu level, my wrestling level should be higher than it is now.”

Now that Ludwig doesn’t have to focus so much on cutting weight, though, he’s seeing steady improvement in his grappling.

“Now when I step on the mat, it’s to get better as an athlete,” he said. “That’s what’s separating me now from the past. I definitely feel that I’m a lot better in all areas. I should have [moved back to 170] before.”

That’s not to say his striking has suffered. In fact, his standup game may actually benefit now that he doesn’t worry so much about being taken down.

“I’ve always been pretty sharp in mixing it up, hitting the body and angles and stuff,” Ludwig said. “But just the wrestling and jiu-jitsu aspect, I’m definitely getting better in those two areas, which is definitely nice. That’s always been a thing in the back of my mind: I used to fight [thinking], ‘Don’t get taken down, don’t get taken down, don’t get taken down.’ But now it’s not even on my mind.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 51:55).

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