Questions with Rich – Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei

Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei is an Australian Mixed Martial Artist who competes in the Heavyweight division of the UFC.

Soa set the pace for where he wanted to be in his fighting career at an early age. Wrestling was his first choice in the earlier years and nearly saw him compete for Australia at the Sydney Olympics. His interest quickly grew in the arena of martial arts and from there his love of the Mixed Martial Arts grew.

He has earned a reputation as a hard and fast fighter, excelling in the mixed martial arts arena (No Holds Barred), a dangerous combination of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Wrestling, Muay Thai and Boxing.

Lets get to it…

Richard: Was there a specific sporting event when you were young that kick-started your dream to become an athlete?

Soa: Sport has always been something I’ve been good at naturally, any sport I’ve done i have excelled in i had a basketball scholarship in high school then i move on to Rugby which saw me play for Bristol in the UK but with Rugby it was injury after injury i had always boxed as a young boy to stay out of trouble and eventually started Kickboxing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which I’m a first degree black belt in and MMA was great because i could incorporate everything together.

Richard: At what age did you realize your dream of becoming a pro was a real possibility?

Soa: At a quite young age as i mentioned before I’ve always been naturally gifted when it came to sports i knew that what ever it was i wanted to do sports wise if i set my mind to it i would be able to achieve success and now looking back i know that i was right and just needed to work hard on my craft and that the hard work would pay off.

Richard: What did it feel like when this realization kicked in?

Soa: Its a great feeling coming from humble beginnings being homeless at a stage in my life to now being on the world stage is amazing.

Richard: Tell me about your first professional event, where was it, were you nervous, excited, scared?

Soa: My first pro fight was in 2002 it was here in Australia and i still can remember it vividly i knew this was what i was meant to do, i was undefeated for the first two years of my career, going 7–0 with all wins either by TKO or submission.

Richard: How much of your time is spent training?

Soa: I train twice a day in the morning i do my Strength and Conditioning and then in the afternoon its usually pad work, when i have a fight locked in i can train up to 4 times a day in different disciplines when a fight is locked in that’s when we have to step it up otherwise we train to build and get stronger and stay in shape.

Richard: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your training program?

Soa: I actually do like training because it makes me feel better after i have a training session, not to say there aren’t days where i could just stay in bed but i want to keep improving in my craft and so i get my ass outta bed and get to work.

Richard: How do you stay motivated if you’re having a bad day or week?

Soa: My dream of being a champion one day, i want people to remember my name long after I’m gone, i want to be the best i can possibly and that’s not going to happen if my ass is on the couch eating KFC lol.

Richard: From your personal opinion, what has been the biggest achievement in your professional career?

Soa: After being cut from the UFC in 2007 i wanted to be able to get back in there and show the world the real Hulk i worked hard from 2010 till 2013 to get noticed and re signed when i got the call three years laters after fighting month after month to make ends meet and to get their attention i was so elated that i had achieved that dream and that i was going to show everyone what type of fighter i can be.

Richard: What specific thing gives you the hunger to keep pushing yourself as an athlete?

Soa: This is my love my profession and this is how i provide for my family without i wouldn’t be able to give them all they want, but i want to be champion one day that keeps me pushing each and everyday also.

Richard: What do you want to be remembered for?

Soa: For being a great fighter i love going out and putting on a show for the fans without their support i wouldn’t be where i am today.


There you have it. I’d like to thank Soa for his time and if you want to follow him and send a message you can find him onTwitter




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