Daniel Puder delivers a leg kick to Michael Alden at the BodogFight: Paradise Lost tapings. Photo courtesy of BodogFight
When Brock Lesnar makes his UFC debut against former heavyweight champion Frank Mir next Saturday, the correlation and transition of pro wrestlers competing in the sport of mixed martial arts and vice versa will be more evident than ever.
Ken Shamrock, Don Frye, and Josh Barnett have all seen success on both sides of the spectrum. Kurt Angle has wanted to throw his hat into the ring for over a year now.
However what happens when a former professional wrestler becomes one of MMA’s top prospects? That’s the exact position that Daniel Puder finds himself in these days.
The former winner of WWE’s Tough Enough reality show has already won six straight fights and remains undefeated all while fighting in some of MMA’s top promotions.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Puder and discuss a variety of things in a brief interview session, including his next fight, his newest business venture, and his beef with Angle among other things.
MMA on Tap: So what’s next for Daniel Puder?
Puder: Haha, well in terms of MMA I’ll be fighting again on March 29th when Strikeforce holds a show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Frank Shamrock and Cung Le will be headlining that card as I’m sure the whole world knows by now. I haven’t been given an opponent as of yet though.
MMA on Tap: Have you given any thought as to who might come out the victor between Shamrock and Le?
Puder: I haven’t really thought about it that much yet but I can tell you that I’m definitely looking forward to watching those two go at it. It’s such a great fight. Some people might think it’ll be a contrast of styles but really both guys are very talented in every aspect of the game. I haven’t thought about a winner yet but I’m sure it’s going to be close, no doubt.
MMA on Tap: I’m assuming that you’re still with the American Kickboxing Academy…
Puder: Of course. I’ve been training there since I was 17-years-old and I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon.
MMA on Tap: Last time you were in the news you were rumored to be fighting at Strikeforce’s event in November. Did that fall apart or something?
Puder: Yeah, I was supposed to be fighting at that event and then things fell apart at the last minute. It was unfortunate but it gave me more time to train and work on techniques so I can’t say it was really all that bad. I’m chomping at the bit to get back in there and fight though. March can’t come soon enough.
MMA on Tap: So I hear that you’re about to give Hugh Hefner a run for his money…
Puder: Haha, and isn’t it ironic that my last fight was at the Playboy Mansion. No, Hugh is the man. But yeah, we launched Puder’s Knockouts on January 1st. People can access it through my official website right now but we’re going to have its own site up pretty soon. Basically it’s a bunch of girls we rounded up who are big fans of MMA. They’ll be at my fights; we’re going to have a calendar coming out next month, a lot of cool stuff.
People can log on and vote for whom they like and the winner will win some cash and get to go to some kind of special event. The response so far has been great, we already have 200 girls, and it’s been awesome so far.
MMA on Tap: Let’s dig into pro wrestling for a little bit. I know that you’ve been appearing at Ring of Honor shows for a few weeks now. How is that going?
Puder: Well I actually signed a deal with them recently so everyone will be seeing a lot more of me there. It’ll be something to keep me busy in between training and other things. It’s been going great so far though. I’m smashing it and enjoying it a lot.
MMA on Tap: Any new news on the Kurt Angle front? Just for the record, how exactly did this beef between you two start?
Puder: Well I heard that his thing with the IFL fell apart because they wanted to throw him right in there or something like that. This whole thing goes all the way back to when we were both in the WWE. He was in the ring challenging us Tough Enough guys to get in the ring with him during this segment. So one of the other contestants, Chris Nawrocki, he gets in there with Kurt and Kurt ends up breaking three of his ribs right away.
So then he asks anyone else if they want to step in the ring and I raise my hand. We get in there and almost a minute later I have him in a keylock, embarrassing him in front of the entire world. He was pretty pissed about it afterwards, you could tell right after it happened, and is still pissed to this day. I know that he wants to fight me and I’d love to do it so he knows where to find me.
He’s crazy. He’s tough as hell but he’s crazy. He claims that he could beat guys like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz in seconds. I had him in a keylock in under a minute and I wasn’t even trying. Part of me thinks that he’s nothing but talk. He’s always talks about wanting to get into MMA but he’s yet to do it. If he does finally man up, we can fight. I’ll even bet my entire purse that I can beat him. If he beats me, I’ll give him every cent.
MMA on Tap would like to thank Daniel for taking his time to do this interview and would also like to wish him luck in his next fight.