On Wednesday night Dale Hartt will have his chance to redeem himself in the octagon with a win over Corey Hill at the UFC’s “Fight for the Troops” card. After going undefeated while finishing all five of his opponents, Hartt suffered his first defeat in his UFC debut at the hands of the more experienced Shannon Gugerty by rear naked choke. The exciting lightweight knows very well that an 0-2 record in the UFC would mean that he would have to work his way back up the lightweight ladder in a different organization. He has done everything in his power to prevent that from happening.
Hartt told FiveOuncesOfPain.com in an exclusive interview that he started packing his things immediately after his loss to Gugerty and made the move to the MMA training capital of the world, Las Vegas. The Bangor, Maine native left Marcus Davis and Team Irish to ensure to himself that he would not be able to offer up any excuses after he leaves the Octagon on Wednesday night. Alternating between Xtreme Couture, Cobra Kai, Master Toddy’s and Phillipi Sports institute has turned the young fighter into a virtual sponge of MMA technique that he hopes to showcase with an impressive performance in the most pivotal bout up until this point in his career.
Cory Brady: What are your thoughts on Corey Hill?
Dale Hartt: I think Corey poses some very unique challenges just based on his physical dimensions. I’ve been setting up a Corey Hill dummy at the gym and the first time I set it up I was like “Holy [expletive]!”. I was trying to figure out how long his arms were so I set it up to be as tall as he is and have the same reach and it’s crazy. He has some crazy dimensions.
Cory Brady: Is it hard to find guys with the same body type as him to train with?
Dale Hartt: It is. Especially as light as he is. Luckily I live in Las Vegas which is the MMA training capital of the world. I have a really good stand up guy I scrounged up. He’s 6’3″ and I think his stand up is a lot better than Corey’s. I’m banking on it. Then I have another really good guy to roll with that’s like 6’8″. I’ve rolled with VinnyMagalhaes a little bit but he’s not skinny like Corey. He’s been giving me a lot of thoughts and helping with my gameplan for Corey. I think there are a couple of areas that are problem areas with Corey Hill. There are a couple things I have to be really careful about and as long as I stay away from those things I should be successful.
Cory Brady: So I know you have been training at Master Toddy’s, Xtreme Couture and Phillipi Sports institute. How are you breaking up your training between the three places?
Dale Hartt: I don’t eat or sleep. No, I had to cut it down because for a while I was going to three places every day. I was getting up in the morning and I would hit pads at Master Toddy’s or I would be at thePhillipi Sports Institute then I was going to Xtreme Couture at 4:00 pm and I would go to Cobra Kai at night.
Cory Brady: How were you able to keep up that kind of pace with your training?
Dale Hartt: I was like the walking dead. I was doing that for like three weeks and I just died. I wasn’t performing that well so I cut it down to two a day for the most part. I alternate now. I got to Master Toddy’s four times a week in the morning, I go to Phillipi Institute twice in the morning and twice at night and then I’ll go to Xtreme Couture for the rest. I’m going to pick back up at Cobra Kai once I’m done with my fight.
Cory Brady: What are some of the things that you have to capitalize on to win this fight?
Dale Hartt: I think I have to capitalize on controlling the distance. I feel like controlling the distance and the angles are essential to my victory. I think I have to stay away from Corey’s right hand. I need to minimize that. If he hits me a couple of times it’s not the end of the world but I think I have to minimize that and I need to stay off of the cage.
Cory Brady: How do you visualize the fight with Corey ending?
Dale Hartt: I think Corey’s a tough kid and I think he’s tenacious but I don’t think he has been in too many crappy spots in his life. I realize that he worked at Wal-Mart which is pretty crappy and he’s supported his family and he seems like a good guy but I just don’t think he’s been in the trenches of crap like I have. I just think that mentally he will break. I have to be honest, I’ve had my ass kicked like a thousand times and I’ve never broken once so I don’t think he can break me. He’s not going to do anything to me that I haven’t already had done to me.
Cory Brady: Do you think that this is definitely a do or die fight for you as far as the UFC is concerned?
Dale Hartt: Oh absolutely. I have no doubt about it. I don’t know if he’ll be sent home. A lot of people think that this is a do or die fight for the both of us. I know it’s a do or die fight for me but it’s probably 50/50 for him depending on how he looks in defeat.
Cory Brady: Do you feel like you need to not only win but win impressively to make a statement in the UFC?
Dale Hartt: I think the most important thing is to win. I don’t want to be a boring fighter but at this point if it came between having a boring fight and winning, I’d rather win. I have to be honest, being boring isn’t really in my nature. I’m kind of a go for broke kind of guy but just technically speaking I’d rather have a boring fight and win with the UFC then have an exciting fight and get booted. I try not to focus on the results and not the process. I’m focusing on the changes I have needed to make and setting myself up for success. I’ve been working hard and doing really good in training so we’ll see.
Cory Brady: What were some of the factors that came into play with the loss in your UFC debut against Shannon Gugerty?
Dale Hartt: I won’t lie to you. The Gugerty fight was the worst performance of my life. I didn’t think I would get the UFC jitters but now that I look back at it I was definitely getting some UFC jitters. The thoughts I was having during that fight were not thoughts that I normally have and they were not good thoughts. I wasn’t letting things happen. I was trying to force them. When I was in my guard I was being reactive instead of proactive. I think in any position in MMA you have to be proactive. You can’t wait for the other guy to do things, you have to make them happen and I wasn’t doing that. I don’t blame anyone for that loss but myself. The biggest thing for me was when Shannon had me on my back, I was all set there. I was totally calm. He didn’t hurt me once but in my head I was thinking that I was having a boring fight. I kept thinking in my head “You’re having a boring fight. You’re having a boring fight” and I was so petrified that the UFC was going to be unhappy with me. I just said screw it and just tried to roll over and when I did he took my back. I tried to roll over and “Chuck Liddell” it. Like just get to my knees and stand up but I didn’t have the Chuck Liddell skills.
Cory Brady: So you think because you were so worried about putting on an exciting performance it may have cost you that first win in the UFC?
Dale Hartt: Yeah. I realize that the UFC runs an entertainment business and I realize that everyone wants to have an exciting fight but for his one, lets just get a win out of the way. I’m sweating bullets because there’s so much riding on this. I really like fighting in the UFC and I don’t want to go anywhere so lets just get this win and then we’ll focus on being exciting from there. I just want this win and then I’ll start rocking and rolling. I have no worries about my skill and desire I just want to allow myself to be able to showcase those things.
Cory Brady: Did the loss have anything to do with you leaving Team Irish and making the move to Las Vegas to train?
Dale Hartt: I was getting ready to move anyways but the day I lost to Shannon I was already packing my stuff. I moved as fast as humanly possible. Bangor, Maine is great and Marcus Davis is awesome. He is such a smart MMA guy. He has a really analytical mind and he’s really focused on the details. Especially with his boxing. He’s so good with the details of punching, it’s phenomenal. He has helped me so much and he’s still helping me here because there are still things that I need to fix and I know in my head what I need to do. Marcus is just an unbelievable coach in that way. Where my problem lies is that most of the guys are bigger than me and when Marcus is gone there’s nobody near my size to train with. When Marcus would leave I would be left with nothing but 205′ers to train with. I’ll never say a bad word about Marcus or Team Irish. It’s an amazing place to train and it got me to the UFC. Lord willing I’m going to give Marcus his first student UFC victory. This is what I wanted to do with my life and I didn’t want to make excuses up, I wanted to make a solution and that’s why I came to Las Vegas.
Cory Brady: What are some of the benefits you have already noticed since moving to Las Vegas?
Dale Hartt: You have so many looks out here and just so much talent. When I go to Xtreme Couture’s the only day I can’t find someone to kick my butt there is Christmas. I have grown so much since coming here but it’s not only that, I’ve really seen my growth potential. Las Vegas can take you as far as you can go. I call Cobra Kai the “snake pit.” I get such good rolls every time I go there. It’s like all out war most of the time with those guys. That kind of attitude is developing some really talented grapplers down there. Master Toddy’s has some really beautiful muay thai. Everything is really good out here.
Cory Brady: Is there anyone you want to thank?
Dale Hartt: I really want to thank CombatFitness.us, MMA Fan Shop, Ranger Up, Complete Fighter and Respek Fightwear.com.