Alex Caceres Talks Expectations For The Chinese Crowd At UFC on FUEL TV 6, Growing Crops, Vegan Diet And More

(Photo by Jeff Chiu via AP)

At UFC on FUEL TV 6: Franklin vs Le, former cast member of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality show Alex Caceres fights on a UFC main card for the first time in his five-fight stint with the organization.

The event takes place in Macau, China, and with a nickname like ‘Bruce Leeroy’, there is no doubt the fan reception for the 24-year-old Caceres is going to be interesting to watch.

With the Nov. 10 event drawing closer, Caceres spoke with Mike Bohn of FightCove.com to discuss his expectations for the Chinese audience, his preparation for the fight, his future plans to grow all his own food, his improvements since training with UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at The MMA Lab and much more.

Mike Bohn: How do you expect the travel to China to go? Have you ever made that type of trip overseas?

Alex Caceres – Never done that before, the jetlag’s probably going to mess with me a little bit but you know, I gotta take it the way it comes. I asked for it so here we go.

Mike Bohn: How excited are you to fight in China? Do you have anything special planned for while you’re over there besides prepare for the fight?

Alex Caceres – I’m definitely going to be – I really want to look around, take a little time but it’s going to be hard considering the fact I’m going to you know, prepare for the fight and whatnot.

Mike Bohn: You’re nickname is ‘Bruce Leeroy’ and you’re traveling to China where Bruce Le is obviously very famous. What do you expect in terms of fan reception and things like that? Do you have any idea what to expect?

Alex Caceres – Well hopefully they really like me, you know? Hopefully they’re going to like the fact that I embody the Bruce Le spirit. But other than that it could go the complete opposite direction; they could dislike the fact that I’m a foreigner and they might think of me as a mockery instead of actually loving the martial arts, you know what I’m talking about? So I hope it goes well.

Mike Bohn: You’re coming off a good win over Damacio Page in your last fight, how important was the win in that because before that you had a controversial split decision loss. How important was that win over Page?

Alex Caceres – It was definitely important I definitely didn’t want anybody to get the wrong idea that like, ‘Oh, maybe that fight was a fluke that he had with Cole Escovedo and whatnot, or something like that, you know? Even though the probably saw that that fight was close and controversial, I still had it in my mind where I just can’t let the – I can’t give him any excuses or say that I’m any type of fluke. I want, I really want to show them that I am advancing my skill level, that I am becoming the great fighter that I am today.

Mike Bohn: You got a nice ‘Submission of the Night’ bonus for that win over Page, what did you do with the bonus money?

Alex Caceres – Most of it I still have, you know. Really I helped out my mom wherever she needed it and just put a lot of it away. I was going to go look for a house to buy but the fight got announced pretty early so I put that off too. I just figured that I’ll save my money and make a little bit more then actually buy a pretty nice house. I’m looking for some good land I actually don’t want a big house – I want some land to crop.

Mike Bohn: What kind of crops are you interested in growing?

Alex Caceres – Stuff like, how would you say, all types of vegetables and fruits. In Miami we have such great soil and such great climate and weather that we can pretty much grow whatever we want in a sense so I want to definitely start growing everything I put into my body. I’m thinking I want to grow my own food that I’m eating.

Mike Bohn: Is that something you always had a passion for in your life? Growing plants and that kind of stuff?

Alex Caceres – I always love tending to the garden, you know? And it’s one of the things that I like, but it’s also just I’ve been switching to a completely holistic foods vegan diet and I figured the closer I can get to the earth the better, you know instead of going to the store and picking stuff up I’d rather work for it.

Mike Bohn: How long have you been on the vegan diet?

Alex Caceres – About a year-and-a-half now. Around like a few months before the Cole Escovedo fight I went on it I would have to say.

Mike Bohn: What kind of changes do you notice in your body since you made that change to your diet?

Alex Caceres – I notice my bodies functioning a lot clearer, I have a lot of energy, I don’t get tired as much and it makes me want to work out too and the most profound change that I’ve found from eating all this was clarity of thought. Just the quickness that I’m picking up all this, all this techniques and different – just the learning curve that I have now is incredible, I mean everybody is seeing especially at The MMA Lab where I’m training at now, I came in there and in a matter of weeks I’m running neck-and-neck with the top dogs over there, you know?

Mike Bohn: How long have you been at The MMA Lab?

Alex Caceres – Well I’ll be there, I’ve been there for about six weeks already and I’ll be there until Sunday, up until the fight we’re going all the way through with it.

Mike Bohn: How do you like that gym? It sounds like you are pretty excited about it.

Alex Caceres – Oh man I love it over there man, we’ve got a good family orientation out there, everybody is helping out everybody and there’s no alpha-male syndrome. We’re all getting work done and it’s good out there man, we train really hard and I like the skills they’re teach me, they’re not necessarily trying to change my fighting style or anything like that, instead they’re giving me things that I can just take and add to what I’m doing, you know? They’re just adding to what I have instead of trying to make me something that I’m not.

Mike Bohn: Switching to the fight a little bit now – What do you think about Kyung Ho Kang as an opponent? What do you know about him?

(NOTE: Since this interview was conducted, Kang has been forced out of the bout with a foot injury. He will be replaced by Japan’s Motonobu Tezuka.)

Alex Caceres – I really don’t know too much, I have to admit I really don’t know. But he’s a tough guy, I’ve seen a couple of his fights and he’s a tough kid man, like he really gets out there and puts it down, so I’m not expecting anything less from him. I’m expecting a good fight and hopefully he’s prepared as much as I’m prepared for him.

Mike Bohn: If you judge by both your record, I know that doesn’t always tell the whole story, but pretty much all of his wins are by submission while pretty much all of your losses are by submission, so is it safe to say you’ve been working on your submission defense an expect him to try and take the fight there?

Alex Caceres – I’ve been working a lot on submission defense and it wasn’t necessarily submission defense that I was needing, it was just the fact that I would sometimes, when I did lose by submission it was either a mistake that I was rushing into or that cardio-fatigue was pushing me into. I feel like I have good submission defense, I mean in the beginning of the rounds in one of the ones where I lost to Jim Hettes, he’s won basically all of his fights by submission, we were rolling back-and-forth and it was very hard for him to catch me. But once I got tired the dude choked me out, you know? So it was just a matter of getting my athleticism where it needed to be as well as just learning some techniques or learning a way to apply what I already knew to the fight.

Mike Bohn: We kind of touched on it earlier – travelling to China. But this is your first fight outside of the United States, how does that effect your preparation knowing you won’t be on your home turf so to speak?

Alex Caceres – To me, it all doesn’t matter, you know? Whereever I go I’m stuck in a hotel room anyway, it’s all the same just the people are different. Maybe the timechange might be different, maybe I have to get used to that but we’ll deal with it once we get there.

Mike Bohn: How excited are you to be on a main card in the UFC for the first time?

Alex Caceres – Oh man, that’s a big, that’s exciting. I’m actually very excited, I’ve spoken to my girlfriend a bunch of times and we’re saying that like, it’s basically everybody around the world is going to be seeing me it’s not just like local television and what all these people might see, it’s going to be incredible, now I can actually show what I’m capable of to a wider audience base.

Mike Bohn: Finally, do you have a prediction for the fight?

Alex Caceres – Nope, no I don’t have any predictions but it’s going to be a good fight. If I’m going to give a prediction it’s going to be I’m going to win, don’t know how but I’ll definitely make it exciting.

Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com, wrote this article. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBohnMMA. Also, follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.