Matt Meinrod: Why did you decide to walk away from the UFC at the prime of your career?
Rumble Johnson: I walked away from MMA because I wanted to pursue other business opportunities. I've also have always dreamed of stepping on stage as a bodybuilder as a kid, so I figured why not try this out and have some fun...life is all about living it to the fullest!
Matt Meinrod: Does the temptation of a super fight with Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, or even Brock Lesnar entice you to come back to the Octagon - especially with the need for a high- profile fighter in light heavyweight division?
Rumble Johnson: Of course the temptation is there because I love a challenge. But, the only two that deserve to share the Octagon with me is DC and JJ. They are real fighters in my book! Brock is a hell of an athlete, but he's not a real fighter. He hates to get hit lol
Matt Meinrod: A lot of your fans have been wondering if this transition into bodybuilding might also be part of your bigger plan to fight in the heavyweight division. Any thoughts behind this or pure speculation?
Rumble Johnson: No, I'm doing this because I want to, this has nothing to do with MMA.
Matt Meinrod: Talk more about the move into bodybuilding. What appeals to you about competing on stage? And why bodybuilding?
Rumble Johnson: I've always respected bodybuilding as whole and I love competing in front of a crowd - as a kid I dreamed of doing that. I would see Lee Haney, Lee Priest, Dorian Yates, and Shawn Ray on magazines and said I wanna be big strong like those men, which created my passion for bodybuilding. Having Flex Lewis as a best friend definitely keeps my passion for it alive.
Matt Meinrod: What made you decide to sign a supplement contract with Redcon1? We’ve seen you training in Redcon1 t-shirts and tanks on your Instagram page. What was the deciding factor in joining this new team?
Rumble Johnson: Redcon1 stands for something great, I love the meaning behind them. Most other companies don't have the desire to provide not only athlete's but the general public with the best supplements out there like Redcon1 does.
Matt Meinrod: What supplements are you currently using from the company? What are your favorite products/flavors…?
Rumble Johnson: I love Total War and Double Tap! I use all of the products, but those two I can't live without!
Matt Meinrod: You train at IFBB Pro 212 Mr. Olympia’s Flex Lewis’ home gym, The Dragon’s Lair. What is like training in that environment? And has Flex given you any useful tips as you head down this new path in your athletic career?
Rumble Johnson: Training at the Lair is perfect, Flex has state of the art machines there. My training partner Quentin Berghmans and I push ourself extremely hard at the gym. If you've never heard a ton of screaming while training then wait till you hear Quentin train. Flex has given me many tips, I try to soak up as much advice as I can when it comes to training. He's a life saver along with our coach Neil "Yoda" Hill.
Matt Meinrod: What does a normal day of eating look like for you? Can you outline your meals?
Rumble Johnson: My meals as pretty simple, nothing crazy but I'm not sure everybody is ready for me to release that kind of magic
Matt Meinrod: Discuss your training split. What does it look like right now (include lifting, cardio) and how does it compare with your schedule as a fighter?
Rumble Johnson: My training schedule is really easy. I get up early every other day and do some cardio. I'll either walk outside, treadmill or stairmill for about 45 mins. Walking can be boring so I'm always listening to music. Bodybuilding cardio is a thousand times different. MMA is circuit training for the most part mixed with a million rounds of sparring and grappling. It would take me a good 3 months of circuit training to get back into mma shape.
Matt Meinrod: When can fans expect to see you hit your first bodybuilding stage?
Rumble Johnson: That info is TBA very soon but it'll be a great show. I'll compete next year for sure! I refuse to step on stage and embarrass the sport of bodybuilding, MMA as well as myself. So, I'll be ready when I step on stage. I'm an athlete and will always do my best.