As the Ultimate Fighter Six show progressed, a few fighters were emerging from the pack, showing their skill sets and becoming favorites. One of those fighters was George Sotiropoulos from Australia. With a record of 6-2 coming into the show, including a fight with Shinya Aoki, Sotiropoulos appeared to have the experience to put him in the finals of the Ultimate Fighter Finale. However, Tommy Speer of Team Hughes derailed Sotiropoulos and stopped him in the semi-finals of the show. Since then, Sotiropoulos has regrouped and relocated to New York to continue training with his coach on the show, Matt Serra. Here is what Sotiropoulos told ADCC News in this Q&A.
ADCC: What was it like on the Ultimate Fighter show and was the episode with you waking up early and not waking the teammates blown out of proportion? GEORGE: I loved the entire experience. Everything was taken care of, the living expenses, transport to and from training, the coaches, and training facilities. But mostly, the fights I got to have in the short period of time. The episode with me not waking my team mates was portrayed exactly the way it happened. Editing only altered the time when it really occurred. I guess the Spike producers felt that they would include it in episode seven since it revolved around me. I went on the Ultimate Fighter to achieve a goal, so waking up early was my prerogative and this how I chose to live my life. It was not my responsibility to get the guys out of bed. Firstly, they stayed up late which is why they couldn’t get up. Secondly, they would complain about fatigue and pain from training. Therefore, I figured the guys were tired and wanted as much rest as possible. I tried subtlety to wake them by switching the lights on, opening doors and making noise. The guys reacted by pulling the bed sheets over their heads or turned away, so I figured they didn’t want to get up and I let them rest.
ADCC: What was the most rewarding part about being on the show and what about the show could you do without? GEORGE: The most rewarding part about the show is getting into the UFC and achieving a goal I set 10 years ago. I honestly can’t say that there is anything I could do without because you must take the good with the bad. The good wouldn’t be good if it wasn’t for the bad. The most annoying part of the show was living in the house people that didn’t clean up after themselves and trashed the house. But I’ve stayed in hotels with strangers and lived in worse conditions. The Ultimate Fighter was a piece of cake because I got to do what I love doing; training and fighting.
ADCC: It seems like you built a good relationship with Matt Serra and are currently training with him. Have you relocated to New York now and how is training with Serra fulltime? GEORGE: I wanted to continue training with Matt Serra, Ray Longo and Pete Sell when filming completed because of the relationship built on the Ultimate Fighter Six. So I flew to New York and have been here since. Team Serra Longo has been very helpful and supportive since I moved here. Thanks guys. Training with Team Serra Longo is awesome. There are lots of high caliber fighters in the team which means you will always get quality training
ADCC: If you could fight anyone from the show, who would it be and why? GEORGE: I want a rematch with Tommy Speer because the thumb in the eye affected the outcome of the fight. I believe the outcome of this fight would have been different had he not poked me in the eye. I would also like to fight Mac Danzig because that is the match that would have happened if I won the Speer fight. We were both the favorites on the show so a lot of still people want to see this fight happen.
ADCC: Near the end of the show it became more apparent that you and Mac Danzig seemed to be the favorites on the show. Did you take Tommy Speer lightly and talk more about the effect of the eye poke? GEORGE: Mac and I were the best fighters in the house. This was apparent as the episodes unfolded and our experience was shown. I take no one lightly when I fight. It is strictly business. In the fight with Tommy I felt completely comfortable until I was poked in the eye. I wanted to continue fighting because I was getting into my rhythm and groove. When fighting resumed I had double vision and the pain caused me to close my eye. Consequently, I couldn’t see the punches coming on my left side.
ADCC: At the finale, you fought Billy Miles. Did you interact with him much on the show and did you remember anything he did on the show that helped you prepare for a fight with him? GEORGE: I barely interacted with Billy on the show because we mainly kept to ourselves. He was on the other team and our hours in the gym and house varied. I grappled with Billy at the evaluations prior to team picks and it was evident that he lacked grappling experience. This was also shown in his fight against John Kolosci as he didn’t defend the guillotine choke. So I knew that I had a good chance at submitting him.
ADCC: Talk about your fight with Miles. Were you surprised that he was that aggressive? GEORGE: Billy was aggressive but it was consistent with his skill set. He branded himself a wrestler and wrestling is what he did. Once I escaped the single leg I moved straight behind and looked to take his back. I took his back, sunk a hook and continued with punches, finally getting the choke.
ADCC: What’s next for you? Mac Danzig already stated that he wants to go down to 155 pounds. Is a change in weight possible for you? GEORGE: I’ll fight anyone the UFC asks me to and take it a fight at a time. I’m always ready to go. I have never fought at 155, but anything is possible.
ADCC: Thanks for your time George and we wish you luck in the future. Do you have anything to say to your fans or sponsors? GEORGE: I would like to thank Team Serra Longo, my training partners and all the coaches I’ve had for all their faith, help and support.