Though he’s won a Bronze Medal at the Pan Am games, worked as a Bouncer in NY, and fought in one of the most memorable matches in UFC Fight Night history, Pete “Drago” Sell (7-2) has just begun to get serious. As he continues to work with guys like Matt “The Terror” Serra, Luke Cummo, and Ray Longo, the Long Island, New York native says his standup game is now on par with his Jiu-Jitsu skills.
Set to step in the octagon with Thales Leites (9-1) at The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday, Sell is promising to deliver another hard-nosed performance.
Q. Everyone remembers the great match with Scott Smith at the end of season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter. Can you describe how it looked to you?
A. I thought the fight was great too! It was very exciting, but I can think of a couple of things I would have done differently. I was really getting my rhythm in the second round and if you watch it again, he only hit me one time in that round. As you know, I was going in for the kill when I got nailed. It was the only time I dropped my hands. But, it’s the nature of the game. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Q. You and Scott seemed to become good friends on the show. Do you still stay in touch or train together?
A. We live on different coasts so we don’t really hang out or train together, but we are definitely friends. We still talk here and there. In MMA, most of the time you end up being friends with the guys you fight.
Q. We’re expecting an all-out war on Saturday. How do you think it will unfold?
A. Well, I have been training real hard and my standup has improved tremendously. My takedown defense has always been good. You didn’t get to see my abilities at all in the fight with Scott. We were just landing big bombs and beating the crap out of each other. You know, I have tapped a lot of people, so anything can happen. I may take him down and see how he does in my world.
Q. Did you modify your workout specifically for this fight or will you stay with your basic game plan?
A. Well, if anything, I have worked the kinks out of my standup game and I can hit hard with either hand. My coach has always been Ray Longo and he has helped me get my striking to be equal with my Jiu-Jjitsu. Plan A is to knock him out in the first or second round. If that doesn’t work, I have a plan B. All I know is that when it all comes together, I will be a force to be reckoned with.
Q. Tell us about your martial arts background. Who did you train with before Matt Serra?
A. I didn’t really train seriously before I started with Matt. I mean I did Taekwondo when I was a kid, and I wrestled a little in high school, but that was it. I have also worked as a Bouncer for 5 years.
Q. Tell me about your experiences on the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
A. I had a good time being on Team Mojo. It made me look at life differently and taught me how to focus on my career. I learned a lot of things that improved my game and taught me to buckle down and work harder.
Q. If you could change any rule of the UFC, what would it be?
A. I have a light bulb shaped head that is hard as a bowling ball, so I would have to say that I would like to see Headbutts made legal again! I could really hurt someone. (laughs)
Q. After this Saturday’s fight, who would you like to face?
A. Honestly, I am not looking past this fight. Everyone at this weight is the same and very tough. I will fight anyone the UFC puts in front of me. It doesn’t matter to me.
Q. Any message for Thales?
A. Watch out cause I’m comin’ to fight! I’m bringin’ Hell so you better be ready. Whatever happens, it ain’t gonna be easy for you.
Q. How about a shout-out to the fans?
A. I love them all and I feel I fight with the crowd right along side me. Please come and check me out at: www.milanhouston.com