With a “Submission of the Night” victory over opponent Andre Winner at UFC 122, Germany’s Dennis Siver has catapulted himself into the mix for a potential title shot in the UFC’s stacked Lightweight Division. Dennis brings an impressive resume of exciting finishes, unwavering toughness and a relentless pace into his upcoming UFC 127 bout with hometown favorite George Sotiropoulos. Australia may be a long way from home, but Dennis is looking for yet another spectacular finish against what many consider to be his toughest opponent to date.
We caught up with him during his training camp to discuss his upcoming bout at UFC 127, evolving his mixed martial arts game, and promoting MMA in Germany.
Dennis Siver: It felt so great, it was a great fight, with a great finish. Andre was a really fast and powerful opponent, but in the end, I could finish him. The audience was screaming so loud when I choked him out, I really loved to fight in front of my fans and family in Germany!
Ingo Weigold: In my opinion, UFC 127 will be the toughest test of your career, do you feel any added pressure fighting in Australia on the main card of a big show against a local favorite?
Dennis Siver: Of course, there is a lot of pressure. I will definitely show the fans a great fight with action, power and heart. Hopefully I will defeat George and win some fans from down under as well.
Ingo Weigold: George Sotiropoulos is a very well rounded fighter with a slick ground game, have you focused your training in any particular direction to prepare for this fight?
Dennis Siver: Yes, I have focused my training more on the ground game, but as a mixed martial artist, you have to train all disciplines. George is one of the best BJJ guys in the division, he is very dangerous, but I think my ground game is underrated as well.
Ingo Weigold: How has your camp been going overall and who are you working with currently to prepare you?
Ingo Weigold: Over your career you have continued to improve your game and evolve. After your fight with Winner, you mentioned working hard on your Jiu-Jitsu game. Will this upcoming fight show the continuing evolution of Dennis Siver as a well rounded mixed martial artist or do you feel the striking is where you can have the advantage in this fight?
Dennis Siver: I think my ground game is pretty good, but I just haven´t had the chance to prove it yet. Maybe in this fight it will happen! I am confident, but I do love to strike and to kick and I will try to stand on my feet and fight George, and hopefully, I can knock him out.
Ingo Weigold:Can you give us your take on the main event between B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch, how do you think this fight will play out?
Ingo Weigold: MMANUTS.COM fans have endearingly assigned the nickname to you “The Mule” because of your spectacular finishes via spinning back kick. What do you think about that as a name and would you consider adopting this as your official nickname?
Dennis Siver: Laughs– well… I don´t have a nickname, some guys gave me “The Menace” others “The German Conqueror”, but I think I´m just Dennis Siver. Hopefully, my nickname will be “Dennis – The Champion – Siver” one day.
Ingo Weigold: Germany has not welcomed mixed martial arts as quickly as other countries, do you feel like the sport is making progress for becoming more accepted and what sort of changes have you seen over the past year when it comes to MMA in your country?
Dennis Siver: When UFC 99 came to Germany, there was such bad press all over. For UFC 122, there was no press at all! So it gets more and more accepted. Also there are a few gyms opening and tournaments are organized. So the MMA family is growing slowly, but it is definitely growing!
Ingo Weigold: Michael Bisping has done a lot to help MMA grow in the UK, do you see yourself in similar shoes when it comes to Germany and it’s potential for growth in the sport? Is there anything you are actively doing to help promote mixed martial arts in Germany?
Dennis Siver: Yes, we are planning a promotional campaign to support our sport in 2011. There will be a shirt, that every MMA supporter has to wear to show we are one big family! I definitely see my role in supporting the sport actively in Germany!
Ingo Weigold: I was born in Mannheim, Germany but have yet to return to Deutschland since I left as a child. What sort of surprises would I be in for if I returned today after nearly 25 years. Are things that much different in comparison to the United States currently?
Dennis Siver: Well, yes! I think German bread is much better ;-). What also has changed, you are allowed to drive a car by the age of 16/17, when an adult sits next to you! And, almost 40% of the German population knows what MMA stands for, that is great!
Dennis Siver: You can buy it online, on German fight stores. Just Google “Tapout Shirt Germany“. There are many stores who sell this great shirt!
Ingo Weigold: Is there anyone you would like to thank before we go?
Dennis Siver: Thanks to MMANUTS.COM, to show interest in me and the sport! Thanks to my fans, my training partners and all of my sponsors!
Most of all Please Support the sport!