Widely regarded as one of the world's most complete MMA/UFC fighters, as well as one of its most feared, is UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski. The Bobruisk, Belarus native, who goes by the moniker "The Pit-bull" due to his formidable fighting prowess, began fighting under the Sambo style at 16 as part of his training at the Minsk police academy.
Such was Andrei's proficiency in this style he made the Belarus national team, winning bronze at his first World Championships, a competition he would win the following year. In 2000, after graduating as a police officer, Andrei began kickboxing with previous former Soviet Union champion Dmitry Stepanov.
With an improved fighting arsenal, Andrei made his move to MMA. He now trains out of Chicago Illinois.
With an awesome overall fighting record of 18 wins, three losses, Andrei has had his share of career highlights. The biggest of these came when he was crowned the UFC Heavyweight Champion on August 13 2005. Andrei has since defended this title and shows no signs of slowing down.
"Being champion means I need to wake up every day and work twice as hard."
The hard work Andrei puts in combined with his sheer talent and strong mental preparedness will give his opponents plenty to worry about in the years to come. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of martial arts hottest talents.
[ Q ] Hi Andrei. Are you preparing for a fight? If so, who are you fighting and what strategy are you using to ensure you win?
I am always training. I don't have the date for my next fight or who my next opponent is. I am going to train hard and hope that this training helps me to win.
[ Q ] What got you started in UFC and MMA fighting?
- Nickname: The Pit-bull
- Height: 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
- Weight: 240 lb (109 kg)
- Born: February 4, 1979
- Fighting out of: Chicago, Illinois
- Town of birth: Minsk, Belarus
- Fighting style: Sambo and kickboxing
While I was fighting Sambo I was approached to try MMA. I became champion in Europe and I was then approached to fight in the UFC.
| Author's Note:
At 16, Andrei graduated from college and enrolled in the Minsk police academy. It was during his law enforcement training, where he was ordered to join the Sambo team that Andrei was to become the martial artist he is today.
At 19, Andrei made the Belarus National Sambo team, finishing third in the under 21 category at the World Championships.
[ Q ] Tell me more about the Sambo style you competed in for many years.
Sambo originated in Russia in the 20th century after the revolution. It's a combination of different disciplines like Judo.
| Authors note:
The founders of Sambo sifted deliberately through all of the world's martial arts to augment their military's hand-to-hand combat system. The word Sambo is a Russian abbreviation meaning "self-defense without a weapon."
[ Q ] You are the current UFC heavyweight champion. Was it always your goal to be a great fighter? What does being the UFC champ mean to you?
My goal has always been to do the best of my ability and be the best I can be. Being champion means I need to wake up everyday and work twice as hard.
[ Q ] Where were you born? Were you athletic as a child?
I was born in Bobruisk, Belarus. Since childhood I have always been around sports and enjoyed them.
[ Q ] Were there any fighters that inspired you to become a champion?
There are a number of fighters out there that I like but I personally always try to achieve the most I can.
[ Q ] Who are your favorite fighters today, and why?
In MMA I really like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. In boxing I admire Tapia, and Oscar De La Hoya.
| Did You Know?
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[ Q ] What qualities do you have that make you a good fighter?
Character and hard work makes a great fighter.
[ Q ] Where did the nickname "The Pit-bull" come from?
One of my trainers was breeding Pit bulls and had two of his own. They are the best fight dogs!
[ Q ] How do you prepare for a fight?
I train all day with a combination of many different activities. I take Gamma O twice a day and now I can train harder with less resting.
[ Q ] What kind of training program do you have? Describe an average session.
A typical day may include physical strength training, boxing and grappling.
[ Q ] What kind of diet are you on? Describe how you eat to prepare for a big fight.
I take Gamma O 2x a day and I try to only eat chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables.
[ Q ] Do you take any supplements? If so, which ones and what kind of results have you seen?
Before learning about Gamma-O I just took a combination of vitamins. Now I take Gamma-O for Athletes. It gives me more power to train harder then ever. I feel strong and even gained more muscle.
[ Q ] What do you like most about professional fighting?
The excitement the fight creates as well as the excitement from the fans and people watching.
[ Q ] You have had many successes as a fighter. What has been your greatest moment, and why?
My greatest moment was when I became the champion of the world. They raised my hands and put the belt on my waist.
| Author's Note:
Andrei submitted Tim Sylvia at UFC 51 to become the interim heavyweight champion. Andrie then secured a TKO victory over Justin Eliers at UFC 53 to defend this title. Finally, Andrei is declared the official UFC Heavyweight Champion due to Frank Mir's inability to defend this title. Since then, Andrei has successfully defended his title by knocking out Paul Buentello at UFC 55.
[ Q ] Who has been your toughest opponent, and why?
All of my opponents were tough. There were no easy opponents and the UFC brings in the best fighters to compete. The opponent that stands out the most is Pedro Rizzo.
| Author's Note:
Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo (born May 3, 1974) is a Brazilian mixed martial arts fighter and professional kickboxer. He has a professional MMA record of 14-6-0 as of June 26, 2005. Rizzo is considered to be one of the better strikers within MMA.
[ Q ] You are training and fighting out of Chicago. What is it like to train there? How does it compare to training in Belarus?
I love Chicago! I love to train and live here; the people of Chicago are great. My training conditions are excellent and I have a great organization behind me.
[ Q ] What other interests do you have Andrei? What do you enjoy other than fighting?
I like reading books, listening to music and spend time with my friends. I also like skydiving and fast cars.
[ Q ] You would be considered young for a great fighter. What do you want to achieve before you retire?
- Wins 11
- Losses 3
- Draws 0
- Wins 7
- Losses 2
I am not thinking about retirement yet. But my goal is always to be the best I can be. Always improve, always be better.
Andrei's MMA Record:
Andrei's UFC Record:
[ Q ] Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you in your fight career? Do you have any sponsors you would like to mention?
I would thank my team of trainers. Dino Costeas has been with me through my ups and downs over the years. I would like to thank Mike Garcia, my boxing trainer and Oleg Danilov who is my strength trainer.
I would also thank my managers, friends and fans for their support and believing in me. I would like to thank my sponsors, Gamma-O, Full Contact Fighter, Prestige Leasing, Eggshell cafe and its owner Johnny.
[ Q ] Thank you for this interview Andrei.