Brian Foster: Living In The Fire

Foster trains at the HIT Squad

“My brother was the entire reason I got into fighting. Before he died it was all about me becoming a boxer. It was always something that I wanted to do, but never had the confidence. I like to throw hands man, always have. And growing up I idolized movie stars like Rocky or Jean Claude Van Damme, but at the same time real athletes like Muhammed Ali and other great boxers who were great with their hands.”

“The issue came in the form of money because growing up my family wasn’t on the fortunate side of it so I was never able to get into classes where I could learn the technical aspects of boxing or even karate. Before my brother died I had this strange stage fright where I was really worried about what people thought of me or if I was even good enough, so it really held me back. My brother always knew I could do it. He was always my biggest fan, pushing me towards getting out there because he saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself.”

“Then we were on a hiking trip back in 2006. He was sitting down and the rocks gave way. He went with them and that changed my life completely. After he died, I knew what he wanted me to do before hand and it just didn’t matter to me anymore. I realized that you are the one living this life and it’s on you to make it happen. After he died I had my first and second professional fights on the same night one month and fourteen days later.”

Foster looks into the distance as he continues.

“I don’t think there is anybody alive, GSP included, that would want to mess with me on that date. I’m a pretty smart guy in my own right when it comes to where I belong in this division, but on that date in particular, there isn’t a man on his best day that can beat me. This is one of those things where I feel like God sets you forward on a path and he’s going to give you signs that you are going in the right direction and this is one of those things for me. With this fight being on that date it tells me that I am where I’m destined to be and that I’m on the right track.”

A third consecutive victory would put Foster in line to face top UFC competition. It’s rarefied air for UFC welterweights, and it’s tough for new contenders to crack the glass ceiling of contenders. But Foster is one of several new welterweights – including Jake Shields – that plan on turning the division upside down.

“Out with the old and in with the new is the way I see it. In one of my past interviews they kind of exploited something I said where I said that I was coming up like an Oklahoma tornado. It was an analogy I used to describe the situation. The way it was edited and used made me sound a bit more country than I am, but while I wasn’t happy with how it came off, the analogy rings true. A tornado destroys what it touches and that’s what I intend on doing. I’m coming through this division to shake it up like an earthquake and I’m going to rattle everybody’s brains while I’m doing it. I’m going to put on a show that when another welterweight sees it they have to realize that I’m in their division and they are going to shake a little bit at the thought that they might have to fight me.”

“I want them to have it sitting in their heads that I’m coming through to tear them up. I’m from Oklahoma and if there is one thing that comes through and rips it apart, it’s a tornado. It tore me up a bit when they used that saying out of context. When I said it, it had meaning behind it. But when they put it out there it made me sound like a country bumpkin. I’m proud of where I come from, but it just wasn’t used the way it was said.”

Foster and I begin discussion the evolution of well-rounded fighters. There are few easy outs in the UFC, but Foster believes there are still one dimensional fighters that are doing their best to blend into the divisional pictures and said it will only be a matter of time before they are exposed.

“I definitely believe that you will be able to see who is keeping up with the modern techniques and staying current on what’s going on out there. There are still one dimensional fighters in the UFC but they are going to get exploited to where they are going to be forced to play their opponents game. Guys like myself and GSP who will bring your weakness front and center, exploit your game and then beat you with it.”

“This sport has evolved a lot even over the past few years and the way Coach [Fiore] explains it goes back to Matt Hughes and his reign of dominance over the UFC. When Hughes was tearing it up things were still very much one dimensional and his wrestling allowed him to dominate fighters so the fight game was like checkers…you move, I move. Then fighters started to adapt and realize they had to be able to stuff takedowns and make wrestlers stand and exchange if they were going to have a chance in the fight.”

“This is where the game evolved from checker to chess and fighting became a thinking man’s game. I tend to believe the evolution has brought it back around to checkers because every fighters is coming into that cage so well rounded that it’s back to you move, I move. Your opponent makes a move on the ground, you have a counter move for that and if he tries something standing up then you have to counter his move there as well. No one wants to watch two guys get in there, down on the ground hugging but at the same time it’s a fighter’s job to learn how to deal with that position.”

“I’m learning how to take a game plan where a guy wants to come in and try to take me down and hold me there. I’m going to make him pay for it and put him in the type of positions where he doesn’t want to put me there. That will force him to stand and bang with me. If you are a one dimensional fighter you are going to get exploited. Someone is coming in to exploit you if you have a weakness. Those one dimensional fighters are called wannabes and while they want to be real fighters you can’t be trained to do what I do. I’m born to do what I’m doing.”

“You can be taught the technical aspects of fighting but you can’t be taught to stand in there, touch the barrel of the gun and stand in that pocket and bang. I ain’t worried about getting hit or knocked out because I hear it’s pretty peaceful.”