THE 2017 season of Super Fight League (SFL) is in the books. With the new format, SFL had made headlines and it drew praise and criticism at the same time. One name that played a huge role in the success of SFL this year was former UFC star Dennis Hallman.
Hallman, who had an iconic career with a record of 53-20-2, was assigned as a coach for the SFL this year and he had the chance to groom the talent that was on showcase throughout the season. Imparting knowledge and helping the upcoming fighters is indeed a great experience as far as a mixed martial artist is concerned, and Hallman was no different during his time in India.
The Fan Garage managed to catch up with Hallman for an exclusive interview during which he talked about his career, working with the Indian MMA fighters and much more. You can read the full interview below.
TFG: It's been over a year since you last fought in MMA. What's the current status of your fighting career? You officially retired or we may see you back in the cage, maybe the O'Zone?
DH: I would take a fight if I found something that interested me. I do believe that a fight in the Ozone just might be something that I am interested in.
TFG: Of all the matches in your career, what are some of the most cherished memories that stand out in your mind?
DH: I would have to say the bond that is built between two fighters that strive against each other. Especially a long hard fought bout. Drew Fickett, Karo Parisyan and Ben Saunders are three guys that earned a respect and friendship that has transcended the cage.
TFG: During your time as a fighter, you were known for your excellent grappling abilities. In India, outside of the amateur wrestling scene, there is very limited exposure to grappling. How do you view the opportunities in that area specifically?
DH: I think that in order for India to have consistent positive showings on the international stage, there needs to be a major paradigm shift amongst the core athletes. They need to accept the reality that grappling techniques are the core fighting techniques of reality based Combat sports. I expect as India is exposed to more grappling the opportunities to ingest those techniques will follow.
TFG: Can you briefly explain how your journey with SFL started?
DH: I came to India in 2012 when the SFL first broke into the sport of MMA. I had the opportunity to see the sport in India from its inception. During my time in 2012 I was blessed to build some good relationships with many dedicated people involved in Indian MMA.
In 2016 I learned that the SFL was under new ownership as i was approached with the opportunity to once again help further the sport in India by coaching young fighters. I was excited to watch the new ownership bring their vision of MMA to the world and decided to take the opportunity to once again become a part of MMA history in India. The new ownership has been able to show MMA in a manner that it deserves to be shown. The opportunities for the SFL'S young fighters to become stars not only in India but throughout the world is right at their fingertips.
TFG: You have been working closely with some Indian MMA fighters. What are those certain factors that struck you most about them?
DH: The fighters that I have had the pleasure to work with are nothing short of amazing. Their hard work and dedication cannot go unnoticed. They will only get better as they continue to dedicate themselves to the sport.
TFG: As someone who knows what it takes to make it in the UFC, How far do you think are the Indian fighters here from such a goal?
DH: There isn’t a gauge that can measure a fighters will and desire. A fire could ignite inside one of the fighters setting him/her on a course towards the UFC thus making a trip to the UFC just around the corner.
DH: The SFL points system is something new when compared to the other promotions. What are your thoughts on the format?
TFG: The new point system is something that I find intriguing. It allows me to cheer for my favourite team and even taste Victory even if my favourite fighter is having an off night.
TFG: What are the major differences that you found in the MMA culture back in US and the MMA culture here?
DH: Fighting is fighting and once the Indian fans receive the same exposure to the sport that other countries have had, the MMA culture here will become one with the rest of the world.
TFG: You've worked with almost all the fighters that fought in the SFL this year. Which are some of those fighters that exceeded your expectations?
DH: Farrad has more heart than any fighter i have ever seen, the sky is the limit for him. With his attitude Issac Maheo has the best approach. Shavi Shila and Aasha are both showing that female fighters must be reckoned with. Krishan, Ravinder, Hement, Dhruv, Kantha, Nikhil, Puja, Aakash, Bhabajeet and a couple others have made their presence known.
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