10 Questions for Dan Severn

By Mike Whitman

Known as “The Beast” inside the cage, Dan Severn burst on the mixed martial arts scene as a decorated amateur wrestler and fought his way to the final of the eight-man tournament. Though he ultimately succumbed to a Royce Gracie triangle choke, the Coldwater, Mich., native still had much left to do in the sport.

Severn returned six months later and ran the table at UFC 5, defeating all three of his opponents to capture the tournament crown. A black belt in judo and jiu-jitsu, he also competed at the inaugural Pride Fighting Championships and World Extreme Cagefighting events and holds victories over the likes of Forrest Griffin, Ken Shamrock, Oleg Taktarov and David “Tank” Abbott. Severn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2005 and, at the age of 52, still fights on a regular basis.

In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Severn talks about his early days in the UFC, his desire for a rematch against Gracie and why he continues to compete.

Sherdog.com: You are one of the guys who paved the road for today’s fighters. In your early performances in the Octagon, we witnessed for the first time in an organized fight that wrestling was a devastating martial art. When you look back at your first event, UFC 4, what stands out the most in your mind?
Severn: My preparation with pro wrestling protégé Al Snow and his trainees in Lima, Ohio, [comes to mind]. The closest thing to a cage I had was a pro wrestling ring. We did a week-long [camp] of training. I never trained a single strike or submission. I was a true world-class amateur wrestler when I first walked into the cage.


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