TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

Legacy Fights Interview Series – Running off Polar Bears with Levi “The Barbarian” Forrest

It has been said that the best way to deal with a pitbull in an enclosed space is to stand your ground so it can’t bite you in the ass and take you down for the kill.

Our next interviewee, undefeated former welterweight champion Levi Forrest, plans on doing just that, punching an attacking pit in the nose, as he steps into the dog-fight that will be his next bout against fellow champion Daniel Pineda at the Legacy Fighting Championship on January 29th.

Spending fourteen days a month working in the rough-and-tumble environment of the Northern Alaskan oil fields, Levi describes his time in the frigid north as filled with only two activities: working and training. What else could he do out there, chase polar bears? Located 400 miles north of Fairbanks and 650 miles north of Anchorage, Prudhoe Bay is actually closer to the Arctice Circle than the nearest metropolitan city. That doesn’t really leave many distractions now, does it?

Self-described as an obsessive with a singular focus on the task at hand, Levi strikes me as a no-nonsense type of individual, the reflective type that does his own thing despite what other people may think. Regarding his upcoming fight, Levi knows he has quite a tough task-at-hand with a red-hot Daniel Pineda. He also feels he has every advantage at his disposal to dictate the fight’s outcome and is going into the bout feeling confident of its outcome. With his undefeated record on the line, Forrest does feel like he has more to lose than his opponent but is undeterred in aiming to use this bout as a stepping stool to the national ranks.

All in all, the Houston (and national) MMA World will find out in little under two weeks how Levi Forrest’s strength and capability translates in his transition to lightweight. He was already an overpowering specimen at welterweight so we could be looking at big things ahead for the Alaskan Barbarian if he can get past his next opponent.

Read on for more on Levi Forrest after watching this highlight of his last bout in Houston.

Thanks for taking the interview all the way from Alaska, Levi. It dipped down to around freezing temperatures here in Houston last week and a lot of people here were screaming for summer. You deal with that type of weather year-round? What’s life like for you out in small-town Alaska?

Well, town is a stretch. I fly to a remote oilfield on the north coast of Alaska and live in a dorm-style camp. No roads or stores or activities, just work and a pretty nice gym. I spend 14 days here every month.

What’s your connection to Houston and why come back here to fight?

I live on Lake Conroe. My family (wife & kids) moved here in the fall 0f 2008. I have some in-laws that live near Galveston in Santa Fe but we really like the area we are in. We left Alaska for a warmer weather. We keep a motor home up here (Alaska) to spend summers in. I am not opposed to fighting anywhere but Mick puts on the best show around.

As far as who you are outside of competition – I know you are a family man. What else can you share about yourself to fans? What would your wife say if we asked her to describe you?

Ha ha. My wife would call me obsessive. Maybe she’s right? I like to commit fully to any and every thing I do. Fly fishing this summer in Alaska for instance, almost every day. Building the motor on my truck, 650 horsepower. lol To the max. Work too, I love my job and get all caught up in work while I’m here. I also have a softer side that takes care of kids. It’s nice when I’m home because I have time to do many things. I like to make breakfast for the girls and take them to school, then hang with Duece ( Levi Jr.) before his morning nap. Focusing on family time is top priority to me. Living away from home more than half the time means I need to have 2X the quality time when I am at home!

I read in a previous interview that you used to train in Anchorage under Ted Stickel, who’s now down here in Houston. What’s your training situation like now other than being a Barbarian and wrestling polar bears and such?

I still visit Ted on occasion but my home is with Gracie Barra. I love training with Chad, Todd, Alex, Adam, and the rest of the GB MMA team. We are on the top looking down and everyone else wants our spot —-Top Gym. At work I have a training partner named Brian Ryan. He is the Alaska Fighting Championship heavyweight title holder and a great boxing coach. As far as the polar bears….. I ran them off.

The last time Houston fans saw you was when you won the Legacy welterweight title by defeating Mike Bronzoulis.  What’s changed for you between then and now?

Besides the diet plan not much. My strength coach, Jason Oman, Is always finding flaws in my athletic abilities and movement. To remain competitive with “full-time” fighters I need to be dominant in categories other than technique simply because I get less technical training sessions, about half actually. So I need to be stronger, faster, more explosive.

Can you describe that fight with Bronzoulis? What was it like going all five and was that your toughest bout thus far?

Well, coming back to KO Brent Mason was the toughest fight. I did not prepare correctly and suffered the consequences. The Mike B. fight was harder to prepare for mentally. I had him on a pedestal, like I was out-matched. After the first round I felt my confidence tripled. I still feel I gave him too much respect in the cage but I’m glad it went all five. It looks good on a resume and being that it was unanimous left no doubts.

Your next bout, with Daniel Pineda. What do you know about him?

Daniel is on a roll. Very impressive win streak last year. He’s an aggressive wrestler who will also bang. He poses totally different threats than Mike B. I feel confident in my preparation and game plan. This fight will be good. We aren’t quite as good at self promotion as others, but I feel we are the top fight on the card. I personally believe this fight could move us both to the next level of competition. It will prove I can make and perform at 155 and if Daniel puts on a good fight it should up his 145 status even more. I feel I have a lot more to lose but I also feel I have every advantage.

What’s your motivation for going down a class when you held the 170 title? How will the cut be for you?

As far as the cut—I got where I needed to be back in November. The reason was to get comfortable in my new body. I started my cut from a solid 195, and now I’m waking at a lean mean 168. Motivation…..two words: KAMAL SHALORUS.

How do you think this fight is going to go? Any thoughts without giving away your strategy? Any predictions?

Come on, you never know. I will feel confident in any situation Daniel attempts to put me in.

On TheCageDoor.net‘s rankings, you were in the top-five for three quarters of 2010 and then omitted in the Q4 pound-for-pound rankings.  What do you hope a win in this bout will do for those rankings moving forward? Where do you see your career as a fighter going in the near future?

I doubt I’ll be eligible for the 1st quarter rankings due to moving on to the national scene. I think “the panel of experts” is only discrediting itself by removing me. Everyone has to think something is strange when you compare records, fights, and rankings. It doesn’t compute.

Levi, do you have any last words for your fans in Houston and all over? Any other comments prior to your upcoming bout at Legacy?

I gotta thank my wife for putting up with my skinny ass. My whole family sacrifices a lot when I’m preparing for a bout. Also Jason Oman and Brian Ryan for all the behind the scenes help. Brian Hamper for arranging sponsors. Chad, Todd, Alex, Adam, and the rest of the GB family that help me prepare. Mick for the opportunity. Daniel for taking the fight. It’s an honor to fight you Daniel. I pray we go into and come from this fight healthy.

Legacy Fights Interview Series
Authored by: Mike Calimbas

  • Jeff Rexroad, Paradigm – here
  • Joe Christopher, Joe-Jujitsu – here
  • Ricardo Talavera, Elite MMA – here
  • Justin Murray, Bushi Ban – here
  • Mike Bronzoulis, Paradigm – here
  • Jennifer Scott, IV oz. – here
  • Jordan Rivas, Elite MMA – here
  • Brian Melancon, Paradigm – here
  • Derrick Krantz, Team 515 – here
  • Daniel Pineda, IV oz. – here
  • Justin Reiswerg, Bam Bam – here
  • Levi Forrest, Gracia Barra, – here