Altered States

UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten on Fundamentals of Real Self-Defense, Savage Fight Stories, How He’s Handled Bullies, Breathing Techniques for Increasing Stamina and Endurance, The Art of Personal Reinvention, and Cultivating the Practice of Prayer (#621)

Illustration via 99designs

“It’s very hard to control your emotions. But if you control your emotions, you’re going to win the fight.”

— Bas Rutten

Sebastiaan “Bas” Rutten (@BasRuttenMMA) is a Dutch-American actor, former mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and professional wrestler. He was a UFC Heavyweight Champion and a three-time King of Pancrase world champion, finishing his career on a 22-fight unbeaten streak with a strike accuracy of 70.6%, the highest ever recorded by FightMetric. 

Rutten was co-host of Inside MMA on AXS TV from 2007 to 2016, and he has been a color commentator in several MMA organizations, including Pride Fighting Championships. He has appeared in numerous television shows, movies, and video games as an actor and continues to be involved in MMA through his coaching and publishing of instructional materials. Bas became a naturalized American citizen in the late 1990s, and in 2015 he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

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#621: UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten on Fundamentals of Real Self-Defense, Savage Fight Stories, How He’s Handled Bullies, Breathing Techniques for Increasing Stamina and Endurance, The Art of Personal Reinvention, and Cultivating the Practice of Prayer

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Want to hear another episode with someone who is harder to kill than the average human? Listen to my conversation with former UFC middleweight contender and Green Beret sniper Tim Kennedy here in which we discuss how his “hurry up and fail” mantra adapts to the situation at hand, grueling Special Forces qualifications, walkout music selections, survival basics for urban dwellers, gauging situational awareness, and much more.

#310: Hurry Up and Fail — Tim Kennedy

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Bas Rutten:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • My first exposure to the unbridled might of Bas Rutten.
  • Why is there such a strong martial arts tradition in the Netherlands?
  • Breathlessness, Bruce Lee, bullies, and birds: a glimpse into Bas’s childhood.
  • Why Bas walked out on a culinary career path and gave up modeling.
  • How Pancrase entered the picture.
  • Pancrase rules.
  • Why Ken Shamrock is known as Wayne Shamrock in Japan.
  • On fighting Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki.
  • Underrated Japanese fighters.
  • Remembering Pride, UFC’s Japanese predecessor.
  • Pranks.
  • Absolute monsters.
  • Self-defense for beginners and bouncers.
  • Why even professional fighters shouldn’t start street fights.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV.
  • Now a devout Catholic, Bas explains how the rosary is like meditation.
  • Who picks fights with Bas Rutten these days?
  • That time Bas got into a bar fight with five bouncers in Sweden.
  • Re-learning how to breathe with the O2 Trainer.
  • Parting thoughts.


“It’s very hard to control your emotions. But if you control your emotions, you’re going to win the fight.”

— Bas Rutten

“I like to see myself as a sheepdog. You’ve got wolves, you’ve got sheep, and you’ve got the sheepdogs to protect the sheep from the wolves.”

— Bas Rutten

“It’s better to have a skill and don’t need it than to need a skill and don’t have it.”

— Bas Rutten

“That’s the problem in this whole society right now. We think that pleasure is the same as being happy. It’s not. You’re just feeding your pleasures, your vices.”

— Bas Rutten

“I want to be a man who can overcome his weaknesses, vices, and imperfections. A man who’s not a slave to his passions and desires, but a real man who’s in control of himself.”

— Bas Rutten


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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