Joachim Hansen returns to ROAD FC on May 31, 2014 in a rematch against Seo Doo-Won. In the year since their last meeting, his life has changed quite a lot.
MMA in ASIA got a chance to catch up with Hansen on his return to fight in Korea. In this exclusive interview, he opens up about what’s going on him his life since he last fought a year ago. The top featherweight also gave his opinions on the resurgence of MMA in Asia, rematching Seo, and what lies ahead in his career.
MMA-in-ASIA: This fight is almost one year to the day since you fought Seo DooWon the first time. Is it different fighting someone you’ve already fought?
Hansen: I kind of know his style a little bit, but like you said, a year has passed. He’s probably evolved. But so have I.
MMA-in-ASIA: How about mentally?
Hansen: I think I have the edge a little bit.
MMA-in-ASIA: Does it make any difference that you became friendly after the first fight?
Hansen: We both were standing in the corner of Celine Haga when she fought here. He’s a cool guy.
MMA-in-ASIA: So would you still hang out with him after this fight? Have a beer with him?
Hansen: Yeah, sure. Have some yakiniku too!
MMA-in-ASIA: There’s a lot of buzz around you here. Were you surprised when they offered you the rematch?
Hansen: Yeah, I was surprised, because I was supposed to fight on the December card but that didn’t happen. I was waiting, and then suddenly they asked me to fight on this card, the same opponent.
MMA-in-ASIA: No problem?
MMA-in-ASIA: Any feelings about it?
Hansen: I’m excited. I had a great time here in Korea last time so hopefully it will be the same again.
MMA-in-ASIA: He tagged you pretty hard last time. Is that going to make you more cautious now?
MMA-in-ASIA: You also know what you had quick success with.
Hansen: Yeah. Like Nigel says, you’re losing from the bottom until you win, and you’re winning from the top until you lose. I’m going to try to avoid being on the ground this time, on my back.
MMA-in-ASIA: How’s your life been this past year?
Hansen: It’s been pretty good, you know. I didn’t have an apartment so I’ve been living at different friends’ houses. As I got more settled, now I rent a room at my friend’s house. And I got married to his wife’s cousin. Things are good, life is good.
MMA-in-ASIA: Last time we spoke, you said at this point in your life you take one fight at a time. But since you’ve been off for a year, has your thinking changed at all?
Hansen: I just turned 35 five days ago. Still, I’m excited and I want to fight. Also, I need the money now. But I still take one fight at a time. It seems like the average MMA career these days is shorter and shorter.
MMA-in-ASIA: You think so? I would have thought the opposite. It seems like there are a lot of guys your age fighting who are finding success, shooting for championships up until 40.
Hansen: Yeah, I don’t know, like in the very big leagues, you’re lucky if you’re there for two years. Of course you could stay longer if you had a job on the side. But then you couldn’t train really as you should.
MMA-in-ASIA: Why don’t you get a job on the side?
Hansen: Because then I couldn’t train like I should!
MMA-in-ASIA: You’re OK with the sacrifice?
At this point, a siren sounds. It’s the police escort the fighter’s bus is being given. Joachim’s friend yells out “Look, it’s Matt Barlow!” Matt is the lead vocalist for Joachim’s favorite band, Iced Earth.
MMA-in-ASIA: You should have Iced Earth make your walk out song.
Hansen: That would be cool. That would be awesome.
MMA-in-ASIA: Are you still playing guitar?
Hansen: Yeah, I’ve been playing in a basement band with another guy. We did some demos, and they’re on Youtube. The name of the band is called Decerment. I do rhythm guitar, vocals, and bass. The other guy does the drum tech and lead guitar. It’s old school thrash metal. It’s pretty cool. One of our demos is called “Cyber Christ” (YouTube link). ANd the last one is called “When Time Meets the Hammer” (YouTube link).
MMA-in-ASIA: Very cool. I hope people listen. Maybe you’ll get signed, and then you’ll have two gigs.
Hansen: I don’t know if we’re that good!
MMA-in-ASIA: What has your recent training been like?
Hansen: Pretty much the same. Splitting the MMA aspects up. I’ve got really good help this time. I did my training camp in England. Nigel Burgess of Tsunami Gym helped me with my weight cut, did the pads for me and everything.
MMA-in-ASIA: Good weight cut this time?
Hansen: Yeah, the best I’ve ever had.
MMA-in-ASIA: What are you visualizing about the fight?
Hansen: I’m visualizing that I’m going to win.
MMA-in-ASIA: Is it going to be quick?
Hansen: I hope so. But maybe not.
MMA-in-ASIA: Does being the main event give you any pressure?
Hansen: Nah, I’ve been the main event so many times now.
MMA-in-ASIA: Do you think that UFC and WSOF going to Japan will bring it back up? Or does it matter, since the rest of the western world has seen MMA surge?
Hansen: Of course it matters, because Japan MMA was from the start of it. I hope this can reignite it.
MMA-in-ASIA: What do you think about ROAD FC partnering with WSOF for a possible year end show? Would you want to be in that card?
Hansen: Yeah of course. But like I said, I’m an old man now, I like to take one fight at a time.
MMA-in-ASIA: Back to your weight cut, I have to mention something about your diet. You’re an interesting eater.
Hansen: Yeah, my usual diet before was hamburgers and donuts, pizza and milkshakes and hotdogs and everything I shouldn’t eat, but Nigel helped me this time, so I feel good.
MMA-in-ASIA: So what have you been eating?
Hansen: Vegetables, salad, no sugars.
Coach Nigel Burgess explains that he stopped Joachim’s blood sugar fluctuations.
MMA-in-ASIA: So that changed your lifestyle. Do you still have cravings for the junk food?
Hansen: Not really, no. In the beginning, it was like abstinence, but now I’m okay.
MMA-in-ASIA: It seems to be working for you. You seem even more mellow than usual.
Hansen: Yeah, last time it was a horrible weight cut, I barely made it. And I cut one kilo too much.
MMA-in-ASIA: Do you have anyone you’d like to thank?
Hansen: I’d like to thank my family and friends back in Norway and England. I hope people will come out to watch me fight tomorrow in ROAD FC.