A "Call to Arms" with Daniel Puder!
Born in America, 6' 3" Mixed-Martial Arts fighter Daniel Puder, a seasoned professional (Strikeforce, X-1 & Bodogfight) competitor in the cage, got his start as a Wrestler.
Puder was involved in amateur Wrestling during high school at Monta Vista, in Cupertino, California. Puder even finished first place in his weight division in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Coast Section, in amateur wrestling, while wrestling with a broken hand.
Soon after, he began a career as a member of the WWE and Ring of Honor, eventually leading in to Mixed-Martial Arts.
Personable and energetic, the handsome fighter now entertains a growing legion of MMA fans, wherever he goes.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2004-2005)
Puder entered the fourth "Tough Enough" competition that was conducted as part of WWE's SmackDown! show between October and December 2004. The prize was announced as a $1,000,000 professional wrestling contract, however, it was in reality a four-year contract at $250,000 a year, with the option to terminate the contract after the first year. On the October 28 episode of SmackDown!, during Tough Enough, Puder was legitimately shoved spine-first into a locker by The Big Show.
On the November 4 episode of SmackDown!, during Tough Enough, Kurt Angle, a former American amateur wrestler and 1996 Olympic gold medalist, challenged the finalists through a squat thrust competition. The winner was Chris Nawrocki, and the prize Nawrocki won was a match against Angle. After Angle defeated Nawrocki, Puder challenged Angle. During the match, Angle and Puder wrestled for position before Angle took Puder down; in the process, Puder locked Angle in a real submission hold, a Kimura. With Puder on his back, one of two referees in the ring, Jim Korderas, quickly counted three to end the bout, but some observed that during the pin, Puder's shoulders were not on the mat. Puder later claimed he would have snapped Angle's arm on national television, if Korderas had not ended the match. Following the incident, Dave Meltzer gave this comment;
"It was real. If you don't follow fighting, Puder had Angle locked in the Kimura, or keylock as Tazz called it, although Tazz didn't let on the move was fully executed. Not only was Angle not getting out of the move, but most MMA fighters would have tapped already. Angle couldn't tap for obvious reasons. The ref counted a three even though Puder's shoulders weren't fully down, trying to end the thing, because the reality was Angle would have been in surgery had it gone a few seconds longer or had Puder not given up the hold."
On December 12, 2004, Puder competed in his first WWE pay-per-view event, Armageddon, defeating Mike Mizanin in a Dixie Dog Fight. Puder was announced as the winner on December 14, 2004 (Televised on December 16, 2004). On January 30, 2005, Puder competed in his second WWE pay-per-view event, being entered in the Royal Rumble match. Puder, however, was shortly eliminated after being chopped by Chris Benoit, "Hardcore Holly", and Eddie Guerrero. Puder was eliminated by Holly.
In January 2005, Puder participated in the WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). In September 2005, after eight months in OVW, Puder was released by WWE as a cost-cutting move. Puder was given the option of signing a development contract with WWE and transferring to its Deep South Wrestling development camp with less pay, but Puder declined the offer. Puder gave this comment:
"Yes, the rumors are true. I have been offered a release from my Million Dollar contract by World Wrestling Entertainment. The fine print in the contract that I won on SmackDown!'s Tough Enough was that only the first of the four years (at $250,000 per year) was guaranteed. This is their right, so no bitching. I'm proud of winning the very first ever Million Dollar Tough Enough. I'm proud that I adapted from MMA to WWE. I'm proud of my work in the ring with my pro wrestling trainers Lance Storm and more recently Al Snow, who was my Tough Enough trainer too. I am proud of my association with a man like Danny Davis. I am proud to have worked with Tommy Dreamer. I am proud and have enjoyed working with and learning from Paul Heyman, and all the opportunities this experience has presented. And I know I will use this experience to my advantage when I make my next long term career move.
For the time being, I am headed back to Louisville, because Paul scheduled me in an OVW Title match against Johnny Jeter tomorrow night at the Davis Arena, 4400 Sheperdsville Road in Louisville. I hope it's my best pro wrestling match to date. I live up to my obligations and committments (sic). That's the kind of man I am. And I'm going to show the world that at 23 years old, WWE thought short term and not long term with me. But I won't brag about it in advance. I'll prove it to everyone!"
"Thanks for all of your support," concluded Daniel Puder
Ring of Honor (2007-2008)
In December 2007, Puder signed with Ring of Honor.
On December 29, 2007, at the Manhattan Center, in New York City, Puder made his debut in ROH, at Rising Above, attacking Claudio Castagnoli and aligning himself with Sweet and Sour Inc., led by Larry Sweeney. On December 30, 2007, at Final Battle 2007, Puder helped Sweeney defeat Castagnoli. In January 2008, Puder would appear on two more shows; however, due to budget cuts, Puder was released.
Puder started his own non-profit organization, Puder Strength Training (PST), to help local high schools by donating weight training equipment to their strength training programs and to underprivileged teenagers. Puder started Daniel Puder Promotions, an event promotional company. He also works with Toys for Tots, After School All Stars, Stanford Hospital, and San Francisco General Hospital. In addition, he is the official spokesperson for Cops Care for Cancer.
Puder is a born again Christian, and he was born with A.D.H.D.
Mixed Martial Arts:
While training at the American Kickboxing Academy, in San Jose, California, Puder sought the tutelage of mixed martial arts (MMA) legends, Frank Shamrock, Brian Johnston, and Danny Chaid. On September 6, 2003, at the X-1 promotion, Puder defeated Jay McCown by unanimous decision.
On March 10, 2006, at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie, at the HP Pavilion at San Jose, in San Jose, California, Puder made his return to MMA, defeating Jesse Fujarcyk by submission due to a rear naked choke. Three months later on June 9, 2006, at Strikeforce: Revenge, at the HP Pavilion at San Jose, in San Jose, California, Puder defeated Tom Tuggle by submission due to an armbar in only twenty-eight seconds. To end the year, on December 8 at Strikeforce: Triple Threat, at the HP Pavilion at San Jose, in San Jose, California, Puder defeated Mike Cook by submission due to a rear naked choke.
On February 18, 2007, at Bodog-Fight Series III: Costa Rica Combat, in Costa Rica, Puder defeated Michael Alden by knockout in forty-five seconds. Several months later on September 29, 2007, at Strikeforce: Playboy Mansion, at The Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles, California, Puder defeated Richard Dalton by unanimous decision.
Puder currently holds a record of six wins and zero losses in MMA competition having competed in the Strikeforce, X-1, and BodogFight promotions. Puder recently competed in the octagon at the "Call to Arms 1" MMA event, inside the new Citizen's Bank Arena in Ontario, California, which aired on P.P.V.
A.M.A.M. interview with Daniel Puder
1) How did you first become involved in MMA after a successful career in Wrestling?
Puder: I stared in MMA when I was 16 years old at American Kicking Academy in San Jose, California, under Javier Mendez, Frank Shamrock and Bob Cook. I was there all the way up to moving to Los Angeles in 2008. I got into MMA after having to beat up a kid when I was 16 years old and I figured I would do it for a living. I never once got into a street fight again after that.
After WWE I went back to A.K.A. and trained full time; and I have been taking names since. (Laughs)
2) Was the change from Wrestling to full-time MMA a difficult one?
Puder: It was different.. My very 1st fight was a little shocking and I had to get back into really taking hard punches! (Laughs)
3) You've won most of your fights in the opening rounds, however, your bout with Richard Dalton during Strikeforce at the Playboy Mansion went well into the 3rd, was that a tough fight for you?
Puder: I screwed up a few times in that fight with the Rear-Naked Choke and a few other times where I could of ended it easily. I learned from that and have become a smarter fight now.
4) Whom was your toughest opponent thus far?
Puder: I would say the 1st fight in Japan. The guy I fought was a lot more experienced than me and I was just a young kid.
5) Is there a specific fighter that you wish compete against ...a dream fight for you?
Puder: At this point I don't care who I fight... bring them on!!!!
6) What is your ultimate goal as a professional MMA fighter?
Puder: I want to become the champion...that's it!
7) How did you become involved with so many worthy causes...please tell our readers about your charitable organizations?
Puder: In the last few years I have worked with Cops Care Cancer Foundation, HAWKE FOUNDATION, Toys for Tots, Stanford and San Francisco Hospital, After School All Stars, Police Athletic League (PAL), Puder Strength Training, Shriners Hospital, San Francisco Hospital, and many others.
I do this to give back to people that either look up to me, or people who I can help or guide in life. I enjoy the hospitals because I feel the more kids that I can bring a smile to their face makes me happy.
8) Tell us about your Puder Strength Training program?
Puder: I started that when I was 19 years old. In 2009, I have now HAWKE Foundation. PST was a strength training program for kids and it was a ton of fun! Hawke Foundation is about Homeless, Animals, Battered Women, Kids, & Environment.
I feel that these are the largest issues that our society has today.
9) Where do you train at these days, tell us about your weekly conditioning regimen?
Puder: I train at 4 different gyms:
A) CSW with Eric Paulson and Fred George in Fullerton. They train me with my overall MMA training.
B) Todd Person is my strength and conditioning coach and is out of Metabolic Project in Westwood.
C) Rick is my Thai-boxing coach at 360 in Burbank.
D) Justin Fortune is my main Boxing coach. I have been at his Fortune Gym in Hollywood for the last year and a half. He is a great coach and has improved my skills.
10) You seem to have many female fans, is there a special lady in your life?
I am not serious with anyone right now. I am focusing on my company and my fighting. (Winks)
Daniel Puder, AMAM-MAGAZINE.COM appreciates the time you took out of your busy schedule to allow us to conduct this interview...AMAM is always in your corner!