Hey everyone we are right back where we left off with another amazing interview, today we are sitting down with Brandon “The Mechanic” Cuttino from the USKA! He is currently sitting at 8-3 and is the USKA Middleweight Champion for both Leg Kick and Muy Thai. He will be defending his Leg Kick Title in Hamburg, PA on April 20th so you readers in the great state of PA GET OUT THERE AND SUPPORT! Also make sure to follow him on Twitter as he is amazing with his fans @BCuttinoTSMMA.
So Brandon thanks a ton for taking time out of camp to sit down with us here at ArtofMMA.com. How has everything been going? Can you take a minute and talk to our readers about yourself like what got you into the world of MMA and what drew you to strive to be a dual champion in the USKA? Also you fight out of Tiger Schulmann’s MMA can you tell us what makes that place so special?
Cuttino: Thanks for having me. Everything is going well. No complaints here. Well, I’ve always been a fan of martial arts. As a kid, I watched Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies.
The reason I have two belts is because: I want to be the best striker out there. It doesn’t matter, what the rules are, I will show that I’m better than you. That’s why I have the Muay Thai and Leg Kick titles. If they had a K-1 belt, I’d go for that too.
What makes Tiger Schulmann’s special is that we’re a school not a gym. We’re a fine institute like a Princeton or Harvard. Most martial art schools or gyms just focus on one discipline of the martial arts. At TSMMA, we teach everything. Kickboxing, submission grappling, boxing. When you think of Team Quest, you think of wrestlers. When you think of Team Renzo Gracie, you think jui-jitsu. But TSMMA, you think of everything.
What makes The Mechanic unique? What do you bring to the table that others don’t or you are just better at? You also use a very interesting hashtag and the end of most tweet “#whatdoyoufightfor” can you talk to us about that and what it means to you?
Cuttino: I’ll let the judges and the fans say what I bring to the table. All I know is that I will always try to be exciting for the fans and get that W for my team.
#whatdoyoufightfor is something a friend of mine came up with. It’s a question for everyone. It lets us know that everyone has a fight or a struggle. The question What Do You Fight For, it simply speaks to you and only you can answer it. I remember, once I was at the airport wearing my #whatdoyoufight for shirt and the security guard came up and told me that he fights for love. That is just what it’s all about. To get people thinking about what causes they want to support.
Who were some of your idols growing up in and out of the world of MMA and why? You also take the role of idol for some young people as you are an instructor at your gym, what does that mean to you and what is your favorite part of teaching?
Cuttino: Bruce Lee is my idol in martial arts. Just the way he moved when doing martial arts, his philosophy on life and things. Also, the movies he did always had a bigger story to them.
I love teaching. It’s a blast for me. My students are one of the reasons why I compete in the first place. It allows me to show them that what we teach them actually works even if the other person is a trained martial artist. Now, imagine what they could do to a random attacker on the streets. My favorite part of teaching is watching the student evolve. Nothing like watching them get better at their craft but also seeing them become better people as well.
In the world of MMA we see a lot kickboxers that are strictly strikers and stay far away from any type of clinch game, that isn’t the case with you. You have a filthy Muay Thai game. Where and who did you learn from and how important do you feel it is to be well rounded in not only kickboxing but in MMA as a whole?
Cuttino: I appreciate that you think I have a filthy Muay Thai game. Daniel Schulmann and his brother Ron Schulmann are who I have to thank for that. I try not to clinch since I’m so tall but I like to know that I can do damage if I need to clinch.
Being well rounded is very important. You want to be confident wherever the fight goes. It’s goes back to what I said about wanting to be the best striker. It doesn’t matter what the rules are I want to beat you. In MMA, you need to be well-rounded. Look no further than Carlos Condit vs Johnny Hendricks. Carlos had good striking and good submission skills but couldn’t stop the take down and that’s what lost him that fight.
Speaking of Kickboxers who are on the mainstage, the moment a veteran fan hears the words kickboxing they go to Alistar Overeem and the K-1. Speak to us a little about what you think makes kickboxers such as Overeem, Stefan Struve and Dennis Siver so successful in MMA?
Cuttino: I think they are fearless, especially with Overeem and Struve. They think they are going to KO everyone. All fights start standing up, so if you’re pounding on a guy, he’s going to be real shy on shooting for a takedown. That’s why some strikers lose is because they fear the takedown. It gets them off their game. Go back to that Condit fight vs Hendricks. Now, Condit didn’t fear the takedown cause he knew he could do damage standing and he got slick submissions off his back. That’s why he was throwing that jump knee at will.
If you could name one thing that not many people know about the world of Kick Boxing what would it be and why?
Cuttino: Kickboxers are tough dudes. If a MMA fighter fought two weeks in a row that would be crazy. Thai fighters fight like every week. That’s why they have crazy records. I admire that.
Are there any future plans to jump into the realm of MMA or is kickboxing and Muay Thai where The Mechanic prefers to call home?
Cuttino: I want to do MMA right now. I want to be in the cage. I was suppose to do MMA a while ago but things happen. Couldn’t get matched up, wanted me to take fights on short notice and other things. Not complaining though. Everything happens for a reason. Hopefully by the end of this year, I’ll be in the cage.
Ok we will go a little Fight Club here, if there was anyone throughout history, fighter or not that you could stand across the cage or ring from who would it be and why?
Cuttino: I have to go with Carlos Condit or Donald Cerrone. They are two guys that are in my top five of favorite MMA fighters. I just think both would be a fun fight for me and the fans.
So you won your title in a fight vs Kenny Richmond on April 21st of last year, can you walk us though that fight (you can see him win the title here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEGEi1QZcTg) and what type of emotions took over when you saw Richmond fall vs the ropes to start the 2nd and you knew you had the win.
Cuttino: That was a crazy fight. Leading up to the title shot was crazy. I was actually coming off of two losses when I got the title shot. The last fight, I clearly won but the judges gave it to my opponent. So I was just really down on myself. Two days after the fight, my coach says you got a title shot. I thought he was just messing with me but he was telling the truth. That whole camp, all I was thinking about was REDEMPTION!!! Had to show my fans that I am the fighter that they thought they were. Wanted to show that I did deserve a title shot and plus I had to prove to myself that I am as good as I think I am.
When he didn’t answer the bell, I was a little shocked but happy I won. Everything that happened leading up to that fight and to get TKO victory for a title was the right remedy.
In the YouTube recordings we hear your fans throughout and they have your back no matter the situation, can you talk to us about your fan base and what makes them so special?
Cuttino: I love my fans. They give me the energy to do what I do. When people are chanting your name and rooting you on, you just get a jolt of energy. I love my fans and am very appreciative of them. One thing that makes to special to me is that they travel and they travel well. You always to want to feel like you’re the hometown favorite and at my fights, I always do. Doesn’t matter if it’s in PA, NJ or NY, I know my fans have my back and will be there win or lose.
You had a great Tweet (@BCuttinoTSMMA) recently “They say ur not a true champion till u defend ur belt” and now almost one year later to the day you defend your title. Tell us about your training, your opponent and your plans for this fight and how it will end.
Cuttino: Training is going well. Switched things up for this camp. The only thing I know about my opponent is his name (Konal Sayal), his gym (Jacks Gym) and he has a serious record (16-4). My plan for every fight is the same. I want to be exciting for the fans and I want to get that W for them. I want the KO for the finish but I don’t mind going all rounds.
Well we really look forward to seeing your next fight, is there any way for our readers to watch it live?
Cuttino: Only way to watch it live is to be there April 20th, 500 Pine Street, Hamburg, PA. Doors open at 5, first fight is at 6:30.
Well thank you for your time I know you are taking time out of camp for your title defense. Are there any sponsors or people you would like to mention?
Cuttino: Have to thank my team Tiger Schulmann’s MMA, the fans and my family for always supporting me. Just want to say thank you for having me on here once again. I really appreciate it. Thanks to Jen for setting this whole thing up. I had fun and hopefully we can do it again in the future.
So there you have it! Keep your eyes on “The Mechanic” because we will soon be going to work in a cage near you! In the meantime make sure to follow him on Twitter @BCuttinoTSMMA and we will make sure to update you on how his title defense went on April 20th on artofmma.com! Until next time good fight, good night!