Dave Herman is flat out one of the rawest talents currently competing in mixed martial arts’ heavyweight division. The man affectionately known as “Pee Wee” has put together stoppages over game opposition such as Mario Rinaldi, Kerry Schall and Ron Waterman, all without ever stepping foot inside an MMA gym. Herman stopped his first thirteen opponents with strikes all while ‘just lifting weights, staying in shape and conditioning’.
The up and coming heavyweight destroyer recently confirmed in an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com that he has finally began to train at a professional mixed martial arts gym following his very first career loss at the hands of Choi Mu Bae at Sengoku in January. Not just training, but training twice a day, like an animal.
Just from speaking with Herman you have a sense that he is ready to debut an all new version of himself when he faces off with Josh Barnes in his Bellator debut on May 1. ‘My stand-up was terrible’, ‘The only thing I was really decent at was wrestling’, said the towering 240 pounder about his past performances in the cage, hinting that he is extremely confident hat he has grown tremendously since his previous defeat in Japan.
Now that Herman seems to have gotten his act together it’s going to be fascinating to watch as his blossoming career as a heavyweight continues to progress.
Cory Brady for FiveOuncesOfPain.com: While you were growing up, were you the type of kid that got into a fair amount of scraps?
Dave Herman: No, not since I was like four or five. In elementary school and high school I don’t think I got into a single fight.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: I know you wrestled in college, do you feel like it was just a natural choice for you to pursue a career in mixed martial arts once your wrestling days were over?
Dave Herman: Yeah, you know unless you’re going to wrestle in the Olympics, there really isn’t anything else to do. I just really loved wrestling and I’ve always loved competing.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: You didn’t look like your normal self in your last bout at Sengoku. What are your thoughts looking back on your performance?
Dave Herman: Basically I just wasn’t in shape. I wasn’t in the kind of shape that I could have or should have been, but I’m kind of glad that things went the way they did.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: So you think it will be one of those situations where you will take the loss as a learning experience that will help you develop in the future?
Dave Herman: Oh yeah. I’m at a gym now where I’m training actual fighting as opposed to just screwing around and doing my own thing. I feel like I’ve already improved a lot.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Right, I know you’ve traditionally been a very self motivated guy that does a good amount of his training on his own. What gym have you been training at since your loss to Choi Mu Bae at Sengoku?
Dave Herman: I’ve been training at Ed Clay’s Nashville MMA since then.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: How are you feeling physically heading into your fight with Josh Barnes?
Dave Herman: I’m feeling really good. In all of my fights prior to this one I had probably sparred like once while preparing for the bout. I would probably wrestle a couple times, spar once and other than that, just work on my conditioning. Right now I’m definitely feeling a lot more comfortable in different positions.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: So you’ve been noticing some significant improvements since finally training at a real MMA gym?
Dave Herman: Yeah, but I haven’t really had a chance to see where I’m at in a fight yet and it’s something that I’m really looking forward to doing. I mean, I was here for like two weeks and I noticed that I was able to do a lot of different stuff. I’ve been picking things up pretty quickly. I mean before, in Jiu-Jitsu, I don’t think I ever submitted anybody, but nobody ever showed me how though.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: So up until just recently, how have you been preparing for your fights? Was it just lifting weights and wrestling around with your buddies in the living room? What did your training really consist of?
Dave Herman: Well I was still able to go in and wrestle at Northern Illinois University, but yeah, pretty much it was just lifting weights, staying in shape and conditioning.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: What are some of the key areas you have been focusing on in the gym since your last fight?
Dave Herman: Everything, just everything. Honestly, I pretty much needed a lot of work on everything. As far as technique and everything else, I was just winging it. Usually I came out on top, but that only lasts for so long.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: So you feel like even though you already have fourteen fights under your belt that there is still plenty left to learn and room for you to develop?
Dave Herman: Yeah, well my stand-up was terrible. The only thing that I was even really decent at was wrestling, and then I still didn’t even take anybody down.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: It seems like your striking has been getting the job done. You’ve knocked out nearly everyone you’ve come across so far.
Dave Herman: Yeah, but I mean, if you just go in there and swing away you can get the job done, but my chin was always up, bad form and my hands never seemed to stay near my face.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: What do you know about Josh Barnes and how do you feel you guys match up?
Dave Herman: I heard that he wrestled and that he was pretty good at striking. I actually met him once and he seemed pretty nice.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Are you going to be looking to make a statement in this fight with Barnes to show that you are back?
Dave Herman: It would be nice. I really don’t know what to expect because this is my first fight where I have actually trained seriously so hopefully things go well for me.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: So you’re just kind of looking forward to getting back in there and showcase what you’ve been working on after this recent break?
Dave Herman: Yeah, I think especially with doing all of this new training, getting in there and fighting will actually help me in my training after that too. Training is great but there’s nothing like the real thing. It will help me assess where I’m at and figure out what I have to work on from there.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Dave Herman: I’d like to thank Ed Clay for taking me under his wing and helping me become a better fighter.