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By Elie for MMA Sports . Photos courtesy of Zuffa, LLC and MMA Sports

James Te Huna has certainly earned his right to fight on the big stage. The rising Light Heavyweight star made an impressive UFC debut on February 21, 2010 when he walked away with a Technical Knock Out victory over Igor Pokrajac. “Seeing that person on the other side that wants to take your dreams away from you, that gives me a huge rush and a massive drive to send him back home.” And that’s exactly what he did at UFC 110... sent his opponent back home. Te Huna is definately one to watch out for in the future.

Elie: Congratulations on the biggest win of your MMA career, how does it feel?
James: Thanks. It feels great.

Elie: You TKO’d Igor Pokrajac, what was the feeling when the referee stopped the fight?
James: Relieved, and sore as hell.

Elie: What have you been doing since the fight?
James: Not much man it’s been nearly a week, and I’ve spent most of that on the couch.

Elie: It went into the third round, how did your cardio feel during the fight?
James: Not too good. I had trouble breathing.

Elie: It was a great fight, were you in any trouble at all during the fight?
James: Yeah from the beginning! (laughs). I couldn’t find myself and couldn’t switch on.

Elie: How did you feel about your overall performance?
James: I wasn’t happy about the way I performed, but it did make the fight exciting going back and fourth.

Elie: Is it true what they say about UFC jitters?
James: Yeah and I hope it’s the last of it.

Elie: Who are some of the people who helped you prepare for this fight?
James: I got to mix it with Wanderlei Silva, Rampage and Michael Bisping, but the main guys who were by my side in training were the EFG boy James, Jeff and Michael. Coach Stevie, Igor and Mckinnon bros.

Elie: Would you have done anything different for this fight?
James: I wish I spent more time on my mental preparation. This was my downfall coming into this fight.

Elie: What was it like to fight in Australia for the UFC?
James: Awesome. More importantly I got to fight in front of my family and friends.

Elie: At the post press-fight conference, your arm was in a sling, any idea on the injury?
James: I got x-rays the next day and found out it was broken. 2 days later I had a titanium plate and screws put in. That explains why I’ve been on the couch for the past week.

Elie: What do you think you bring to the table in the UFC light heavyweight division?
James: Exciting fights.

Elie: What made you want to step into Mixed Martial Arts?
James: It came from watching Kung Fu movies when I was a kid. Bruce Lee was the man. Fighting guys with different styles, this was always going to be fun to watch. So when I came across a couple of the early UFC tapes I had to have a go.

Elie: Tell our readers a little bit about your background in MMA?
James: I've fought for the past 6 years in the Ozzie MMA scene and have racked up 19 fights since. I've won some, lost some, been in the middle of controversial decisions, played with shoulder
dislocations and coached other fighters.

Elie: Do you remember the first time you fought in a cage? Tell us about the nerves, your mind, etc.?
James: (laughs), Oh… nervous as hell! The last words you hear before you fight are from the ref 'are you ready' and the first answer that came to my mind was NO, but my head bloody nods (laughs). I hated it, but now it's the stage I love most about fighting. Seeing that person on the other side that wants to take your dreams away from you, that gives me a huge rush and a massive drive to send him back home.

Elie: What goes through your mind as you stare at your opponent before the fight?
James: I start counting down from 10 (laughs). I get tunnel vision on the guy standing in front of me. I've already been through this fight before a hundred times in my head, so it's just a matter of putting everything to play.

Elie: What does competing, fighting mean to you?
James: Oh it means a lot, especially with the level I'm at now. Before I started I was the clumsiest Maori boy you would know... well... I'm still clumsy, that probably explains my run with injuries (laughs).

Elie: So what’s next for you?
James: First I’ve got to get over this injury. I’ll be out for a couple of months. Get back into shape and wait for that next one.



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