Q: How did you get into competing in mixed martial arts?
Roger Bowling: I had some amateur boxing and then I just kind of converted over to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I just got with a fight team and here I am, you know? It is what it is.
Q: Did you do any sports in high school or college that would lead you to the sport of MMA?
Roger Bowling: No, none in college. I was always athletic. I played baseball and football through my whole life.
Q: Is your family supportive of what you do?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, oh yeah, always. I normally have an entourage of like one hundred people that come to my fights, so it's a big support network.
Q: Are you one of these guys that is holding down a full time job as well as training and fighting when you can?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, yeah. My day starts out about 4:30 in the morning when I get up. Eat something and then I'm at the gym by 5:00 and I do my strength and conditioning until about 6:30, then I'm at work at 7:00. I get off work about 3:00 and then I'm right back into the gym around 3:30 training. We do various things everyday. Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing.
Q: What is that you do for your day job?
Roger Bowling: I work for Foster Engineering, we build custom machinery. There is some travel there, too, so I usually have to travel out of town once a month for a weekend here, a weekend there.
Q: Is it your goal to eventually be a full time fighter?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, that's definitely my goal to be a full time fighter, but right now it's just a hobby and I love it. I'm not making a lot of money, I've only been a pro fighter for a little over a year now, so it definitely doesn't pay the bills but I really don't need to fight. I make plenty enough money to just be comfortable but I more or less work to fight. Just to pay for my training and stuff, you know, it's not cheap.
Q: What gym are you fighting out of currently?
Roger Bowling: Team Vision MMA. We've got a good group right out of Cincinnati, Ohio. We're right next to Rob Radford who is just an awesome boxing school right next door to us. We've got a lot of good fighters like Justin McElfresh from the WEC, Dustin Winterhalt, another pro fighter. We've got a lot of good fighters coming out of our school and we're brand new.
Q: Yeah, I know Rob Radford is the boxing coach for guys like Rich Franklin and Jorge Gurgel and those guys. Do you get a chance to train with any of those guys at all?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, he helps them out a lot. Luke (Zachrich), the guy who just went to The Ultimate Fighter has been coming in and out, Mojo Horne's been coming in and out. Rich, we see him at Boxing For Fitness down there, but personally I've never gotten to train with him.
Q: If you had to describe your style of fighting, what would it be?
Roger Bowling: I would just say I'm a really well-rounded fighter. I can fight from my back. Shamar Bailey's a good wrestler and if he puts me on my back then I'm comfortable there. I do jiu jitsu at least five days a week, so I'm fine from there. None of my fights have I been on my back, I'm more of a ground and pound guy. Nobody's really forced me to stand. Well, I fought one really good wrestler and I stood up with him but I knocked him out in like seven seconds. I really didn't get a chance to show all my skills. And I come from a boxing background so I feel like I'm pretty well-rounded.
Q: Have you ever seen Shamar Bailey fight before?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, I've seen a couple of his fights. He's a pretty good wrestler so I've been working a lot on my wrestling but I feel like I've got better wrestlers in our camp than him. We've got Dustin Winterhalt who wrestled for Syracuse, this guy Steve who wrestled for Ohio State. We've got good wrestlers in the area that I've been working with. I think I'll be fine.
Q: Will this be your toughest fight to date?
Roger Bowling: I'd say one of them. I had a fight with Mojo Horne and I feel that he's a little more experienced than Shamar. But, you know, it's definitely a big fight for me. Definitely.
Q: Give us a rundown of a typical day of training for you.
Roger Bowling: Like I said before I get up around 4:30, eat, at the gym by 5:00 where I do my strength and conditioning at FitWorks right by my house. I meet a couple of guys in there and we train for like an hour and a half. Then I go to work until about 3:30 and then go to the school. We normally do like from 3:30-6:00 just an open mat with all the pro fighters and then from 6:00-7:00 we'll have a jiu jitsu class. Then 7:00-9:00 we'll have a boxing instructor comes in. It just varies day to day, but I'm training six, seven days a week, every day, especially with a fight coming up.
I love it, I switch my workouts up more when I'm out of a fight. There's a difference between being in shape and being in fight shape.
Q: How long is a usual fight camp for you?
Roger Bowling: I like to start about at least 9 weeks out. I only like to fight maybe three or four times a year because I feel like if I'm fighting more than that, I'm not learning enough.
Q: You've fought at 185 lbs. and 170 lbs. Which do you feel is a better weight for you?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, all my amateur fights were at 185 lbs. I still walk around at like 190 lbs. It was an easy drop for me and I've never faced anybody at that weight who I felt was stronger than me so I just stayed there. Then I won an amateur belt for the AFL at 185 lbs and I defended my title a few times and then I decided to go pro. I made the cut to 170 and I feel a lot more comfortable here. I feel really strong at this weight.
Q: It seems like Ohio and the Midwest in general is a hotbed for MMA. Would you agree with that statement based on your experiences?
Roger Bowling: Yeah. Everybody's a fighter now. Everybody and their brother comes out, they're everywhere.
Q: You ever get any guys at the gym who think they're big time fighters but they're not ready for the training that you guys endure?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, we get two or three of those guys a week. They're beating people up out in the streets and in the bars. You roll with them and they're trying to kill you so you kick it up a notch on them as we call it and they normally never come back. That's normally the way it works.
Q: Do you have a favorite move?
Roger Bowling: You know, we're kind of close to fight time, I don't want to give up anything. I've got a lot of them that I like to use.
Q: Have you held any ranks or titles?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, I had the AFL amateur belt at 185 lbs. and right now I hold the 170 lbs. title for MMA Big Show.
Q: Do you have any heroes or mentors within the sport?
Roger Bowling: All kinds. Randy Couture, Rich Franklin of course, Urijah Faber, B.J. Penn. I like a lot of fighters but definitely my favorite fighter is Randy Couture. He's an older guy and he's still doing it so I hope I'm in as good of shape as he is at that age.
Q: Any sponsors, fans, friends, anybody you want to thank or give a shout out to?
Roger Bowling: Yeah, I want to thank Jason with P Supplements, Rick with Tombstone Cycles, and just everybody from Team Vision. Dustin Winterhalt, Jordan Sullivan, Justin McElfresh, just all the guys at Vision that have been helping me get ready for this fight. I appreciate it.