Soszynski making a name for himself

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

On Mondays a Sun staffer gets to know a sports figure a little better in Up Close. This week, Kirk Penton called Sin City to chat with Winnipeg's Krzysztof Soszynski, who knocked Brazil's Andre Gusmao out cold in the first round 3:17 into their UFC 98 bout Saturday night at the MGM Grand. Soszynski will be back in Winnipeg on June 6, signing autographs at the Garden City Community Centre as part of the Polish Days celebration.

The Sun: How are things?

Soszynski: I just had the Rio buffet. It was fantastic. It's one of the best buffets in town.

Sun: How was your fight against Gusmao?

KS: (Saturday) night was absolutely an amazing experience. Knocking somebody out cold is actually a lot of fun. Seeing him drop like that, it was a great thing.

Sun: You were born in Poland, where you spent your first 10 years. What was life like?

KS: I had a really good childhood, actually. My parents were really loving and caring. Poland at the time was under a communist regime, so everything was food stamps and there was a lot of waiting in line for food and bread. Whatever was written on those food stamps was the amount of food you could get, no matter what, for the rest of the week. So there were some rough times, but my childhood was fantastic. I have a really good family.

Sun: How old were you when you learned how to spell your name?

KS: (laughs) Being Polish, it was very easy. It took most people in my school when I moved to Canada probably about a year or two to learn how to spell my name.

Sun: To borrow a mixed martial arts term, who would you love to ground and pound?

KS: I had a bully when I first came to Canada. This kid used to beat me up almost every day because I couldn't speak English and I used to wear the same clothes, because my parents really couldn't afford nice stuff yet for me. So they would go to second-hand stores and pick out clothes for me. And this guy would just tease me about it and bully me. I couldn't speak English, my name was all weird and all this stuff. He used to beat me up. I wish I could ground and pound his ass right now. That would be fantastic.

Sun: How has life changed since you joined the UFC?

KS: Making money, I guess, would be one. You know, actually making a living doing what I love to do. People are recognizing me now a lot more, and they're seeing me on TV all the time. I'm getting a lot of interview requests and appearance requests and autographs and pictures. I was being mobbed (Saturday) quite a bit. It's changed my life a little bit, where a lot more people know who I am, but it hasn't really changed me as a person.

Sun: Who's the toughest guy you've ever fought?

KS: Ben Rothwell. He beat me up twice.

Sun: What's a TV show you can't miss?

KS: Family Guy and South Park.

Sun: Considering you fought in UFC 97 and then were an injury replacement in UFC 98, should we assume you'll fight in UFC 99?

KS: To be honest, I would love to fight at 99. It's in Germany, and I have tons of fans in Poland right across the border. It would be an awesome experience.

Sun: So you're big in Poland?

KS: I have so many people writing to me all the time in Poland, I'm doing interviews in Polish all the time. They love MMA over there. One of the biggest growing sports in Poland is MMA.

Sun: Tell us about your high school football career at the Maples. How good was it?

KS: I was on the only Maples team that ever won the high school championship (in 1994), which I was really proud of. I was the lead fullback on the team. The running back was one of the top running backs in the province. And I was also a placekicker. I kicked a winning field goal in the semifinals to get us into the finals. I was really happy about that. I was actually featured on CKND, so it was pretty cool.

Sun: You know the Bombers kind of need a kicker, right?

KS: (laughs) Yeah, I heard. I'm kind of happy with my career, though. I don't want to make the switch just yet.


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