08 Nov - 
Grappling robots, plastic carotid piping, shearing alpacas: This John Gunther interview has it all

DENVER – In case you were wondering, John Gunther is still out there shaving alpacas and not sleeping in beds.

Another thing that hasn’t changed now that “The Ultimate Fighter 27” alum is officially a UFC fighter? Gunther’s ability to take your run-of-the-mill interview to a different level with his unique insights.

You can check it out for yourself in the video above (which we’d highly recommend). But, for your convenience, here are some of the most entertaining bits of Gunther’s (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) chat with MMAjunkie ahead of his UFC Fight Night 139 lightweight meeting with Davi Ramos (8-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

Gunther, as we know, isn’t a UFC debutant; he’s competed in the octagon before, more specifically in July, when he beat fellow “TUF 27” alum Allan Zuniga via majority decision. Saturday’s bout will, however, mark his first fight as an official UFC fighter.

Asked if that meant any changes in his preparation, Gunther spoke of his work with Boston Dynamics – yes, the company that makes the very advanced robots – and how they helped him with a robotic grappling dummy.

“I’ve just been training with that, and you can program different fighter styles into it, and it simulates it,” Gunther told MMAjunkie ahead of the preliminary card bout, which streams live on UFC Fight Pass from Pepsi Center. “It constantly gets better as you get better. It kicks my butt every day, but it’s just a little bit better than me. So it just picks me up and slams me, it’s horrible.

“I know, it’s incredible. Working with this has really stepped my game up.”

Gunther is, after all, “The Machine.” So it only makes sense that they’d make another machine to work with him, right?

Oh, but that is not the only cutting-edge technology that Gunther has grappled – no pun intended – with. Faced with a high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Ramos, Gunther revealed his trick: Adding plastic piping over his carotid artery, so that his opponent’s submission attempts will be futile.

“He’s going to try to choke me, and it’s not going to work, because those carotid arteries are covered up,” Gunther said. “And then he’s going to be like, ‘I can’t believe this guy’s not choking out. He’s not passing out. I saw him pass out in 13 seconds on The Ultimate Fighter.’ And then, boom, once his arms are smoked, it’s over. It’s all my fight.”

We’re not quite sure how that one’s going to go over with the Athletic Commission, but it does seem like a winning strategy. A little dirty, perhaps, but Gunther does make another valid point.

“If you don’t have the skills, if you don’t have the talent, if you don’t have the personality, you’ve got to cheat the system,” Gunther said. “Whatever it takes to win.”

There’s certainly something to be said for Gunther’s creativity, which makes a lot of sense when he talks about his intense curiosity and book-reading habits. And it’s worth noting that, amid the playfulness, there’s also room for some honest insight.

From his previous outing to now, one thing has changed: Gunther has already earned his UFC fighter status. He’s earned it, in the octagon, after losing his two bouts in the “TUF” house. Does it change anything, going into this not having to prove himself?

“No, I’m still trying to prove myself,” Gunther said. “The bottom line is, when you go out there and fight you have to – worrying about stuff isn’t going to improve your performance. So you just have to go out there and try to flow and don’t worry about what’s going to happen, because there’s nothing you can do and worrying about it is just going to adversely affect your performance.”

The good news is, if all else fails, Gunther still has multiple other interests – including his alpaca-shearing gig.

“This guy I’m fighting, he’s a world champion in jiu-jitsu,” Gunther said. “I’m a world champion alpaca shaver. Putting on a superfight, main event, it’s going to be crazy.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 139, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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