Saturday, February 28, 2009

From the X Games to MMA X-Factor: A 411 MMA Exclusive Conversation with Mike Budnik

Originally posted on

On Sunday night March 1st, Mike Budnik will make his third fighting appearance under the WEC banner. Mike recently took time out of his busy training schedule to sit down with 411 Mania’s Todd Bergman to discuss his X-Games career, being a scratch-level golfer, his obsession with Jiu-Jitsu, his previous fights and his upcoming fight at WEC 39, plus much more.

Todd Bergman: So before talking about your current career in MMA, let's go back to your previous career. You're an X-Games veteran along with being an X-Games medalist. What made you jump from the X-Games to MMA?

Mike Budnik: It wasn't something that I did consciously, like man MMA is cool, let me go do that. I actually jumped from the X-Games type stuff and me and my wife settled down and had kids. I've been in the gym business for awhile and I've ran a lot of gyms all over the country. One of my assistant managers was taking Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and I wrestled back in High School and I was like man that looks like fun let me give that a try. I had the itch to do something and I was getting kind of fat and just wanted to do something so I rolled with him one day and he was a skinny little 135lbs guy and I thought that I was just going to be able to throw him around and beat him up, but he just tooled me for about three hours and I was instantly hooked. I did Jiu-Jitsu for about two years before I took any fights or anything like that. I just kind of started there.

TB: Was learning Jiu-Jitsu something that came easily to you or was it a skill that you really acquired over time?

MB: I wouldn't say that it was easy because there's always that learning curve. I took to it pretty quickly. I had a wrestling background so I was comfortable grappling and I was far enough removed from wrestling that I really didn't have any bad habits like most of the guys who are wrestling currently who go straight into Jiu-Jitsu [and] make a lot of the same mistakes. I hadn't wrestled in fifteen years so it wasn't like I was wrestling everyday. And the next day, I tried Jiu-Jitsu. I had a great instructor who was a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and I learned from day one. Once I got hooked on it, I was gung ho about it. I was going to class something like nine times a week. I was going during lunch breaks, I was going after work, plus I was taking like three private lessons a week. So I dove into the deep end right off the bat.

TB:Now while you were competing in the X-Games and rollerblading, did you ever watch MMA?

MB: Oh yeah. I graduated high school ages ago, back in 1992, which was right about when the original one started with Royce Gracie. Being a littler guy back in high school, I wrestled at 119lbs. I'm sitting there watching the show and there's this guy on TV who weights 160 something pounds fighting a guy that weights 260lbs. and it looks like he's in trouble. I didn't really understand what was going on and out of no where he freaking ends up choking the heavier guy out or breaking his arm or something crazy like that. I've be been a huge fan but there was little time in between the first couple of events to where things started gaining a little bit more popularity that I didn't really follow it, but I was a huge Royce Gracie fan back in the day.


TB: What's your ideal finish for your upcoming fight?

MB: My ideal finish would be a quick KO, but I'm pretty sure that he isn't going to want to stand with me. He's another Division 1 wrestler, so he's probably going to take me down. And since I slipped on my armbar in my last fight, I would love more than anything to redeem myself and possibly snap his arm in half.

TB: Anyone that would like to thank?

MB: My Jiu-Jitsu coaches, Piet Wilhelm from Triton MMA and Mickey Swafford from Chattanooga Jiu-Jitsu, along with MMA Agents for all their support.

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Blogger Paloma said...

X Games: The Movie Premiere Contest Happening Now!

Hey did anyone hear about this???
There's a contest happening for the X Games Movie. Apparently you just sign up at the link below, plus everyone who enters gets a free download of The Crystal Method's "Drown in the Now (featuring Matisyahu)" WHAT!!!
The Winner receives:
Round trip coach airfare for two from anywhere within the continental US to Los Angeles.
Three nights hotel accommodation
Roundtrip ground transportation to and from the airport;
Two tickets to the X Games on Thursday, July 30th & Friday July 31st
Two passes to attend the premiere of the X Games 3D: The Movie
Two passes to attend the afterparty for X Games 3D: The Movie
Two passes to attend a meet and greet with The Crystal Method
Here's the Link:

I am definitely gonna enter and thought I'd pass along the info!

4:13 PM  

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