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Interview With Jared Vanderaa Ahead of UFC Vegas 19

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UFC newcomer Jared Vanderaa is looking to enter the heavyweight division with a bang by beating Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 19. In this interview with Jared Vanderaa – he details the upcoming match-up, his Contender Series win, how he plans to rise up the ranks, and more.

Dana White rewarded a UFC contract to Jared Vanderaa last November after ‘The Mountain’ finished Harry Hunsucker in the opening minutes on the Contender Series. Despite the contract-worthy performance, Vanderaa wasn’t thrilled with his showing.

Interview With Jared Vanderaa

“I thought it was a terrible performance on my part,” he responded. “The change of opponent kind of threw me for a loop. I feel like Oscar Cota was more of a technician, like a technical boxer. Then, I got Harry (Hunsucker) and he was a brawler, which kind of threw me off. Once I kind of like gained back my composure, I was able to do what I needed to do. I just hate that it took that long.”

Patience paid off for Vanderaa and the finish earned him the coveted contract. Now, he faces Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 19, a card that features three enticing heavyweight matchups. “The Mountain” likes his chances, along with the benefits of beating a guy like Spivak in his debut.

“It felt right to call him out,” Vanderaa said, “he’s already had a few highs and lows in the UFC, but I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere soon you know. After I beat him, I don’t think he’ll go on a losing streak, he’ll bounce back. Plus, I feel like coming off the Contender Series, they hold you to a higher standard than coming off a regional show. And if you look at the heavyweight rankings, Spivak is ranked higher than Chris Daukaus and (Tom) Aspinall. Daukaus is fighting Alexey Oleinik and then Tom is fighting (Andrei) Arlovski. And then I’m over here fighting Spivak, who’s technically ranked higher than both those gentlemen.”

In terms of how he sees the bout going, Vanderaa believes he has the edge on the feet and will have answers for Spivak’s sambo attack.

“I feel like I might be more well-rounded than him,” he replied. “I definitely think is ground game is something to respect. It’s probably his biggest attribute and it’s sambo based so a lot of people aren’t used to seeing it. I have good wrestling, which plays a massive factor and I’ve found some really strong heavyweights that help cater to this fight. I think my stand up will shine if I keep it on the feet.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 04: Jared Vanderaa prepares to fight Harry Hunsucker in a heavyweight fight during Dana White’s Contender Series season four, week eight at UFC APEX on November 04, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC)

‘The Mountain’ will debut at UFC Vegas 19 at still just 28 years old. The training that he’s done at Team Quest Athletic Center in Hemet, California has him feeling like he’s just entering his prime. In my interview with Jared Vanderaa, he detailed his vision of reaching his peak in the near future.

“I think in the next year or so once I get my foot through the door it’ll play a big factor in getting my career going,” he confirmed. “I would like to end the year with about two to three more fights just to stay relevant. Also, it’ll be a good time to keep things going because you see a lot of guys return every two to three months. So I wanna be one of those guys because it would help me put my name out there – and lately there’s been a lot of guys coming out of nowhere.”

I wrapped up my interview with Jared Vanderaa by asking what his biggest motivation is in getting up everyday to train. Essentially, why are you doing what you’re doing?

“Basically I’m trying to have the life that I was never given,” he said. “Trying to give it to myself, my daughter, and my fiancée, trying to give them the life I was never given as a child. Give it to them and then spread it around to help other people like my teammates.”

Heavyweight Jared Vanderaa looks to begin his UFC journey on the right note versus Sergey Spivak at UFC Vegas 19. Catch their bout on the prelims, beginning at 5:00PM (ET) on ESPN+.

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Ryan Truland is an experienced MMA writer for Ryan regularly conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date with the latest and greatest MMA content.