Interview With Gray MaynardAlready an outstanding wrestler, Gray “The Bully” Maynard has developed into a well-rounded mixed martial artist since his time on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He speaks with about his career and upcoming fight.

First serving as a training partner of current UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn Maynard now works as one of the trainers at the renowned Xtreme Couture gym.


With each passing fight, Maynard has grown as a mixed martial artist at every step of the way. Using his wrestling to “bully” his opponents around the cage, Maynard has yet to taste defeat in his MMA career and is currently one of the top lightweight prospects in the UFC.

He is next set to face the returning Roger Huerta in a fight that could put Maynard one step closer to a clash with former ally BJ Penn.

Please note that this is a repost of our original interview here. Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview, Gray. To begin, can you talk a bit about when you first took an interest in wrestling and which accomplishments you were most proud of in the sport?

Gray Maynard: My Dad was a wrestler, so he got me going at an early age. I was able to go to the best high school wrestling program in the nation, St. Edwards High School. I accomplished many of my goals there. It was a great experience. In college, I didn’t get to reach a lot of my goals and I think that’s why I still have competition left inside of me. Many may not be aware that you actually tried out for the U.S. Olympic wrestling team in 2004, but became a training partner of BJ Penn’s after you didn’t make the team. Had you not joined up with BJ’s camp at the time, would you have ever pursued a career as a mixed martial artist?

Gray: I was working towards making the Olympic team while I was living in Arizona after college. I was caught between two weight classes, 145.5 and 163. I was too big for 145.5 and a little too small for 163 at the time. It started to get hard to make ends meet. I moved back to Las Vegas, NV, which was where I grew up and my family still lived there. MMA was pretty big in the area, so I started to work out at a jiu-jitsu gym.

I guess word got back to BJ that I could help him with his wrestling for his upcoming fight with Rodrigo Gracie. I went to Hilo for three weeks and trained with him. It definitely opened my eyes to the sport. I got back home and eventually started training with Randy Couture and a small group of guys. That’s when I really decided that I wanted to train and fight full-time. What was it like in training with Penn at the time, and what were the main things that you gained from the experience?

Gray: BJ is an exceptional athlete and a great guy. He already had a solid base and knowledge in wrestling. I was very surprised how much he knew in all aspects of the game. Before I went down there, I didn’t even know who he was. I was so wrapped up in wrestling for so long that I really didn’t know anything about MMA. Again, I think the experience just opened my eyes to the sport and got me very interested in it. Later, you began training with your current team, the renowned Xtreme Couture camp in Las Vegas, and have since become one of the top talents at the gym. How much of an impact has training with the others at Xtreme Couture had on your career?

Gray: Before Xtreme Couture opened, it was a group of us working out and jumping around from gym to gym. It was Randy Couture, Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Forrest Griffin, John Wood and Alex Schoenauer. Tyson Griffin, Mac Danzig and John Alessio would also come in from time to time to train with us for their fights until they moved out permanently.

We all learned off of each other and pushed ourselves pretty hard. It was a great group of guys to train with. I was the one who knew the least about the sport at the time, so I definitely took my beatings every day. That’s where it all really started for me and I’m still going to this day. UFC fans first became familiar with you after your time on The Ultimate Fighter 5. What was that experience like, and would you ever consider putting yourself through anything like that again?

Gray: I’m happy that I got the opportunity to be a part of the show. It gave me a foot in the door with the UFC. I’m not going to lie; it was definitely not a fun experience to be in the house. If I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn’t ever do it again. Aside from UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, you are arguably the most dominant wrestler in the UFC right now and you have used your wrestling base to completely nullify the offence of your opponents. How crucial is your background in wrestling in your MMA career?

Gray: I mean, that’s where I started. It gave me my work ethic, competitiveness, athletic ability and discipline. Coming to MMA, you have to change a lot of things to make wrestling apply to the sport, but I’m really trying to become well-rounded, like a Georges St. Pierre. That takes time and hard work, which is something that I’m definitely willing to do.