John Polakowski may go down as one of the most likable cast members in the history of The Ultimate Fighter and it’s not hard to see why. The San Luis Obsipo native made a name for himself on this season of The Ultimate Fighter as the scrappy lightweight that just didn’t seem to fit the mold of your “typical fighter”. Polakowski is a huge fan of the hug from way back and made the house a little more of a happy place because of it.
When Fiveouncesofpain.com spoke to Polakowski in an exclusive interview he was just as friendly as you would imagine. Even in the day following the show that aired his loss to George Roop he kept a positive attitude and was looking forward to showing the world what he can do in the UFC once again in the near future.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: So what are your thoughts now that you’ve had a chance to watch your fight with George Roop?
John Polakwski: Well one thing I definitely need to work on is with the taller fighters you have to get inside in your range and that’s really hard because as soon as you come forward you’re setting yourself up for a takedown so I need to work on not overstepping myself and kind of working my way in a little better instead of just lunging in. I think that could help me avoid the takedown a lot better. Also, I know in the second round at least, I got comfortable exchanging and I kind of forgot about the takedown and that’s why I got taken down. As far as the fight went, I definitely gave George the first round. I definitely feel like I did more damage in the second round. I agree with what Dana said that I did more damage and it should have gone to a third. At the same time, George was in control a lot of times during the round. He didn’t really hurt me but he controlled me a lot of the round and that’s part of what factors into the judging of the fight is who controlled the fight. It is what it is.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: You’re such a friendly guy that I think it caught a lot of people off guard when you got upset about the Lucky Charms incident. Were you really as bothered as the guys made it out to be or do you think it they just didn’t expect it from you?
John Polakwski: Well you know what? That wasn’t the first time that it happened to me. That’s why I got irritated. The first time it happened to me I just laughed it off, no big deal. Then they did it again and that’s when I felt like it wasn’t a prank anymore. I felt like the were just messing with me and I didn’t really know why so that’s why I got upset with them.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: How did you get on the show? Did you audition, go to the tryouts or were you referred?
John Polakwski: I auditioned, I sent in a video. It’s kind of funny, for my interview I took a quadruple espresso right before. I already have a lot of energy so I was bouncing off the walls. I was like dancing the whole interview.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Where did the love of hugging come from? Did you hug a lot of people back in grade school and high school?
John Polakwski: I guess I kind of grew into it. I started being more of a huggy person in College. I just became really comfortable hugging all of my friends. I felt it was a nice gesture and I enjoy it and I think everybody else probably enjoys it too.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Do people tell you that you are a good hugger?
John Polakwski: You know a lot of people have told me that I give the best hugs that they’ve ever had. I’ve received many compliments.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Who was the best hugger that you hugged on the show?
John Polakwski: There were a lot of good huggers there. Kyle always gave me a good hug. Phillipe, Efrain, Nogueira and I guess even Rolando gave me some pretty good hugs too.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Which lightweight impressed you the most from this season of The Ultimate Fighter?
John Polakwski: Probably Phillipe. There’s a reason why people think he’s the next Anderson Silva. He’s equally as comfortable at standing up as he is on the ground. The talent and the fire is there so he will have a really successful career.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Who would you say you bonded with the most closely from the house?
John Polakwski: Phillipe maybe? Phillipe, Kyle and Efrain. We all got along really well together. I got along with everyone really but those were probably the closest guys.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Who did you end up learning the most from on the show?
John Polakwski: Nogueira. He really helped me with my jiu-jitsu a lot . That’s evidenced in my fight that my ground skills aren’t the best but I’ve seen a huge night and day difference in my ground game since training with Nogueira. What a treat to be able to learn from Nogueira and learn from the master.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Would you say your overall experience at the house was a good one?
John Polakwski: Oh definitely. The best experience of my life. It really was. A lot of people that I’ve seen from other seasons come on the house, they go crazy, they’re complaining and they can’t wait to go home but honestly I enjoyed every minute of it. You know, just hanging out with friends not a worry in the world and all of your food is brought to you. All you have to worry about is training and hanging out and I really enjoyed that.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Where have you been training since the show?
John Polakwski: I’ve been training at The Pit with John Hackleman and I’ve been doing my jiu- jitsu training at a gym called Paragon in Santa Barbara. The head instructor over there is Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller and he’s an awesome guy and he’s really helped my jiu-jitsu come along.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: What does the future hold for John Polakowski?
John Polakwski: I have a feeling that you’ll be seeing more of me in the UFC. All of the fights that I’ve had are always exciting to watch. I like to stand and bang it out and one thing I’m really known for is never giving up. Always having a lot of heart and never giving up and you’ll see that in the other fights I have in the UFC.
Fiveouncesofpain.com: Alright John thanks so much for your time. Are there any sponsors that you would like thank, or anyone at all?
John Polakwski: All of my training partners at The Pit. John Hackleman, Scott Lighty. Luke Riddering, Antonio Banuellos and of course Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller from Paragon.