I realize many film blog-readers such as yourself probably don’t follow sweaty man-hugging as closely as I do, such that when I posted this picture of Steven Seagal at the weigh-ins for UFC 129 a few months back, many people thought it was Photoshopped. It was not. Trust me, thanks to teaching Anderson Silva a few (illegal) eye gouges and neck strikes, and eventually getting thanked in Lyoto Machida’s post-fight speech, Steven Seagal considers himself a UFC trainer, perhaps as fervently as he considers himself an honorary Russian or a blues musician. Seagal has been close to the Silva, Machida, and the Nogueira brothers’ Black House camp for some time now. None of them were fighting at UFC 135 on Saturday, but Seagal showed up anyway. He tried to talk to light heavyweight champ Jon Jones before the fight, but Jones declined out of respect to his trainers, Jones says. Luckily, Seagal was still on hand for a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani (who tweeted that Seagal dictated the specific angle he be shot from), and it is a masterpiece of Steven Seagalyness.
Click to the 35-second mark to see one of my all-time favorite Seagal interview moments.
HELWANI: Was that how you expected the main even to go, Jon Jones submitting Rampage?
SEAGAL: (without a moment’s hesitation) Oh yeah. (scoffing) Definitely.
HELWANI: Really, why so?
SEAGAL: (flabbergasted that he could even be asked such a question) Uh, because I think I have a pretty good eye.
My God. Just look at his face as he answers that question. Have you ever seen such confidence?
Not only is he convinced that he predicted the winner and the method of the fight, and not because of luck or a gut feeling, he KNOWS beyond the shadow of a doubt that his psychic martial arts powers make him an INFALLIBLE PROGNOSTICATOR. To the point that he is legitimately surprised that a person might have to ask how he could know such a thing. He scoffs sadly at Ariel Helwani as if to say, “Are my psychic abilities not obvious to all? Clearly I must be talking to a child.”
You know, we have a lot of fun with Steven Seagal. His unique physiological reactions, his inability to keep track of space and time, his ornate saddles, his sleeveless kimonos and songs about poonani. I could go on. For pages. But in all honesty, confidence this unshakeable is almost a superpower.