Following his bloody battle with Justin Tafa and UFC Vegas 27, UFC heavyweight Jared Vanderaa discussed the fight, anime, being a girl dad, and more.
While you only get one chance at a first impression, Jared Vanderaa made a complete 180 degree turn in his sophomore UFC appearance. His main card slot against Justin Tafa at UFC Vegas 27 ended up stealing the show with the two getting the Fight of the Night, with the image of a bloody Vanderaa being the lasting photo of the event.
HEAVY BLOWS 💥
— UFC (@ufc) May 23, 2021
I am literally currently watching it right now in it’s entirety. Every time I would try to watch it, something would come up. So just like I’m halfway through the second round. I just busted open and this fight from what I remember and why we call there are certain things that I like, I was expecting more from Tafa and things that I was surprised he didn’t do or did. The fact that he clenched up a lot more. A piece of me kind of knew that was a possibility because of just our height difference. But I didn’t realize it was going to be something like how strong he was. You look at him and I wouldn’t say he looks like he’s a Samoan Islander. We all know how strong they get, like boom and he is no exception. I was like, ‘Damn, he’s strong.’ But I was able to win the clinch exchanges so that worked out really well for me. So those were a few of the things that I was kind of shocked by. I was shocked to that I almost doubled the numbers in the striking department compared to him. which I’m glad I did because that’s I think a big factor and reason why I won.
Following the fight, much of the discussion was on the cut that left Vanderaa a bloody mess mid-way through the fight. As with most fighters, “The Mountain” insisted that the visual was far worse than the actual injury and that the mask of blood was par for the course for his fights.
I bleed so much that it doesn’t surprise me to be honest with you. The fight that you’ve seen of mine live with Mr. Tony Lopez, I didn’t cut which was a rarity. I was like ‘oh my God. This is what it feels like to not bleed in a fight.’ I was like ‘This is nice. I don’t have to rush home take a shower.’ Whereas normally I’m like like it’s just spewing blood.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) May 23, 2021
Leading up to the fight, Vanderaa said his ambition was to ascend to the level of Super Saiyan 2. For those uninitiated, it means to power up similar to the protagonists of the highly popular anime Dragon Ball Z. After a three round battle, Vanderaa compared his battle with Tafa to the classic rivalry from the series between hero Goku and anti-hero Vegeta. He also lamented the the retcon of the well-known form of Super Saiyan 4 from the spinoff Dragon Ball GT.
I’d say it was along the lines of Goku and Vegeta, where Goku would always edge out Vegeta. I miss the GT Super Saiyan 4 Goku and Vegeta. Like their monkey fur on their arms and stuff. Their tales grows back. That was a dope design. I like that progression. I wish they would go back to that over the blue and red hair, the white hair or whatever. Let’s go back to that and you know bring back the gorillas that they were representing.
Much like Goku, it was not long before Vanderaa sought another rival to test himself against. Also on the card, veteran heavyweight Ben Rothwell picked up a victory and Vanderaa threw his hat in the ring to face him. From his understanding, the UFC simply has different plans. That said, it has not stopped an awkward friction between himself and Rothwell.
So on the same card that I fought was Ben Rothwell and Chris Barnett. I was like, ‘Hey, you know, like, I just got done fighting. You guys done fighting? Let’s fight.’ Like, no disrespect, and I’ll bring that part up in a second. But back to it I was like, ‘do you wanna fight?’ I wanna fight like, we’re in the fighting business. Do you want quick turnaround because I would like to quick turnaround. So I’m like, ‘Hey, you want to fight? Well, he goes on the Believe You Me podcast with Mr. Bisping and he said that I was disrespectful to call him out. I’m like, ‘Alright, whatever.’ But, we fight? Like, I bumped into him and greeted him because he’s f****** Ben Rothwell. Damn that, like, that’s cool. I get to fight on the same card as him. To be able to have the ability even call him out, that’s just awesome on my part. But I was just like, ‘Hey, you want to fight? I want to fight.’ I thought you were a fighting type of person. Like, that’s what we do.
IN ONE ROUND.@JaredVanderaa opened the night with RELENTLESS finishing shots 😳
— UFC (@ufc) November 5, 2020
Currently, Vanderaa is busy running his gym where several up-and-coming fighters train out of. He is also preparing to welcome his second daughter sometime in August, with the timeline that he will compete again hopefully in September.
I have to wait until this next baby’s out. Um, that was already decided for me. I saw [my wife] right after the fight. Because she stayed in Vegas at a different hotel. She was like, ‘you know you’re not fighting until this f****** kids out. This was too much for me. You’re not fighting again. Tell you manager September. If you’re lucky, the baby popping out in July then maybe, but think September’.