Isaac Savage interviews Carlos Ulberg
I: You’ve been fighting quite a bit in China, why do you keep going back and what are the quality of fighters over there?
C: I’m currently signed by EM legends, they get me to go over and fight every 6 weeks. There are top quality world-class fighters in China, a lot of them come from all over the world to fight, so most of the guys I go up against are the Europeans, cause they’re all my weight and height. It’s a tough competition.
I: Do you find the fight style in China any different from here in NZ?
C: It’s a bit of a mixture. They have no fear, with us kiwis, we’ve got a lot of talent here and a lot of the guys here that travel the world to fight - our kickboxing game here is really strong. As for guys from all over the world, there are some power houses and they have their own style which works for them as well.
I: Rugby is massive here in NZ, do you think MMA will ever be as big as rugby here in NZ, or one of the mainstream sports?
C: Yes. Rugby is big here in NZ because we do so well, the All Blacks have won consecutively over the years. In the fight world we have Mark Hunt leading, along with Dan Hooker and Israel Adesanya in UFC too. The following is building up right now, these guys are gonna become real big stars, and that’s when everyone else will start to follow the UFC/MMA trend. We have that pace going and the blue print is ready to set.
I: If you could fight anyone – from any era who would it be and why?
C: If I had a choice I’d want a rematch for my first loss against the current European grand prix world champion Kickboxer Sergej Masoblojev from Lithuania for obvious reasons.
I: Moving on… Who’s been your favourite coach and why?
C: At the moment I’ve got a really good coaching team. Both Doug Viney and Eugene Bareman are really good in their own ways. Eugene is very philosophical and technical in his ways and Doug is hard out and is a pretty brute-force. I’ve also had Master Lolo, as in Lolo as a coach as well. I’ve had my share of really good coaches, world-class coaches which has been awesome.
I: We’re at City Kickboxing Gym where you currently train with Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker, Kai Kara France, Shane Young and Brad Riddell, this is the who’s who of the NZ fight scene, how is it training with top notch fighters?
C: It’s amazing. These guys are leading the way, and that helps us. Training with these guys means we know how to take on the rest of the world because they’re fighting guys from the rest of the world. We are all setting the pace, keeping each other sharp and its working.
I: You’re becoming a familiar face on Māori TV, was the competition harder for Game of Bros in season 2 or 3?
C: Season 3 was harder, because we had to think more. The races/tasks we had to take part in involved more strategy than season 2. It was such a fun competition to take part in, it was great that the women joined us for this final season.
I: You chose women’s refuge as the foundation you’d donate your winnings to if you take out Game of Bros 3. Why did you choose them?
C: I grew up in foster care, I had a good mate whose mother was in women’s refuge and he had to go back and forth with them. I would go with him to see his mum and it was quite sad seeing the way they had to live – it was tough seeing her like that. I thought, you know what, if these people had a bit more money, it could go towards making their stay there more comfortable.
I: We all have our days when we are lethargic and can’t be bothered training – how do you take on those kind of days?
C: I just try and push through. My routine at the moment is getting up at 5am, have my coffee, do my yoga and stretch, then I’ll meditate for about 45 minutes. By the time the day has arrived, I’m not worn out, I’m energized, I have a positive mind-set and I’m smiling.
I: You started off in league, now you’re in MMA and regularly travelling to China, how far do you want to take this? Where do you want to be in a few years in the fight scene?
C: I definitely want to be in the UFC within the next year or two. After my contract with China is through, I want to do a bit more MMA, focus on getting into UFC and go to the top from there. Carlos fought in China last weekend and defeated Oleg Prymachov (UKR) by decision – 95 kg at the Emeri Station for EM Legend 30.
Game of Bros premieres Thursday 03 May from 8-830pm