Frank Trigg: The State of MMA

Veteran fighter and broadcaster Frank Trigg is known for being outspoken, whether it be in interviews or behind the broadcast table, and when CouchFighter caught up with the MMA icon, they found this to be just the case as the former fighter gave his thoughts on the current state of MMA.

The first topic which came up was actually Trigg’s nickname, “Twinkle Toes,” which has been subject to several different and outrageous meanings. When pushed for an answer as regards the origins of the name, it seems Trigg himself is alien to the starting point for what would later become his trademark nickname, simply stating, “I have no idea.”

The conversation soon moved to the most recent Strikeforce card that featured Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. Couchfighter asked Trigg whether or not, he believed that the referee was at fault for waiting for a tap rather than stopping the fight?

“No, Miesha Tate is super flexible especially in her elbow joint, so it looked like a good stoppage,” said Trigg.

“Miesha wasn’t screaming, she wasn’t yelling, she wasn’t panicking … everyone knows she is super flexible, so it really wasn’t a bad (decision) at all. It was actually a good stoppage, at the right time.”

Next, Frank tackled one of the biggest topics in recent memory, the Frankie Edgar versus Benson Henderson fight for the UFC lightweight championship. With fans split right down the middle on who should have walked away as the champion, Trigg voiced his opinion on who he thought won, and if Edgar deserved the immediate rematch:

“I had Henderson winning the fight. Henderson won the fifth round I believe.”

He added, “I believe Frankie won the first, but I think the entire fight changed in the second when he got up-kicked in the face […] that was the changing [point] of the fight.

“The second round was questionable but I think Benson won that round because he knocked Frankie down with that up kick.”

Speaking on the rematch, Trigg ruled it out stating that Edgar should have to climb the ranks again.

No I’m not a big guy on rematches. I think guys, once you lose to them, should have to go back [and] immediately battle again and fight your way into the number one contendership.

However, one rematch Trigg is keen to see again is Chael Sonnen battling Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.

“Chael will definitely win the trash talking,” said Trigg, but he believes that ultimately Anderson Silva will get a win in his native Brazil due to two reasons; first, Chael can’t defend well against submissions as seen in the first fight, and secondly, we’re talking about Anderson Silva, a man who Trigg believes without a doubt is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

Trigg then turned his attentions to the newest division in the UFC, the flyweight division. When asked whether he thought if it was a good addition to the UFC and how much of an impact it would make, the MMA legend welcomed the exciting division.

“I was kind of wondering why anybody hadn’t added them before. For a long time it was kind of like there just wasn’t enough fighters to really have these battles, and then all of a sudden I realized that there was more than enough people to have these battles, more than enough people to [fight] at these different weight classes. I’m just surprised the UFC took so long to actually bring it in.”

Controversy aside, Trigg went on to talk of the recent reports that Fedor Emelianenko was seeking employment under the UFC banner, a turnaround for the fighter who shunned the organization for several years.

Trigg has commentated several Fedor fights and held him in the highest regards as a fighter while Emelianenko was on his unbeaten streak. However, with the face of MMA changing before our eyes, Trigg has a new realistic perspective for Fedor and his M-1 Global team.

“Of course it’s possible now because M-1 has lost all of their negotiating powers. They don’t have all the top heavyweights in the world. They don’t have the most undefeated heavyweight in the world anymore. Before, it was like, you have to pay Fedor ten million dollars, co-promote with M-1 [Global], and you have to use other fighters from the Red Devil team in your organization. The UFC’s not going to do that,” said Trigg.

They’re looking for one fighter to come over. Now they have no choice. He can probably get $500,000 to come fight with the heavyweights and really Fedor has always been an undersized heavyweight. Alistair Overeem beats him up, Cain Velasquez beats him up, Frank Mir beats him up, JDS [Junior dos Santos] beats him up, so at this point who really cares?

On describing the difference between the atmospheres of both the UFC and Pride, Trigg stated that he always respected the UFC “for being so successful with the same format” and that Pride almost turned MMA “into a spectacle similar to professional wrestling which put an emphasis on theatrics.”

When asked what his toughest fight was, Trigg stated that the most significant fight of his career had to be his second bout against Matt Hughes which became one of the most famous bouts in UFC history.

The preparation and desire to win that fight was at the highest levels that they could have been at, according to the man himself, but it was not enough as he went down to Hughes in the first round at UFC 52 to a rear naked choke.

After a short discussion on the importance of not being a one-dimensional fighter, Trigg explained that he had taken up fighting at the age of 26 and hadn’t fully given up on wrestling until the age of 30, as compared to the new surge of talent of fighters who come in with a full arsenal of MMA skills, opposed to being superior in one set of skills and at the base level of others.

Wrestling, however, is still Frank Trigg’s specialty and he told CouchFighter without bias, that wrestling was the best base for an MMA fighter because of the versatility you can employ while using your wrestling skills on the ground.

Finally, Trigg gave his thoughts on the upcoming number one contender match for the UFC heavyweight title between Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir.

Trigg broke down the fight giving “the edge on the ground to Cain Velasquez who is extremely active on the ground with an unrelenting pace.”

When it comes to Mir, Trigg said he “becomes complacent even when he’s taking punches to the face” as seen in the Brock Lesnar fight. Instead of clicking the panic button, he stayed in the position that proved to be an extreme disadvantage.

Following up on Mir, Trigg said that his last performance did not raise any suspicion about his chin, stating that “being a heavyweight is a dangerous game as even those with solid chins are getting hit by gigantic men, thus, making it harder to withstand as many shots as even those a weight class under them.”


Frank Trigg is MMA through and through. He’s fought some of the best in the business and will always be regarded as a iconic staple in the early days of the sport. Not only did he help shape a division in the UFC and define a style, his commentary and expert opinion will help continue to grow the sport of mixed martial arts for many years to come.

Follow Frank Trigg on Twitter: @FRANKTRIGG

Editor’s Note

The CouchFighter staff would like to offer its gratitude to Frank Trigg for taking time out of his schedule to speak with our columnist, Adam Conklin. Even with the sun wrecking havoc on phone connections and the nervousness of a young and enthusiastic writer scoring his first interview, Frank was patient, professional and truly a great ambassador for MMA. Thank you, Frank.

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