Former WWE Star turned MMA Fighter Dave Bautista was recently interviewed by XXL Magazine. Here are some highlights.

How did your role in RZA’s The Man with the Iron Fists come about?
When I left wrestling, I left wrestling because I was talking to Strike Force and I thought I was leaving wrestling to go right into Strike Force. Then, a guy I was training in Kali, which a Filipino martial art, was Marrese Crump and he had been talking to this artist at the time named Kinetic 9. Kinetic was almost like RZA’s apprentice. He had been talking to Marrese about doing something in his video and I had met Method Man years ago—because he used to come to [WWE] shows all the time and I used to flip out because I’m a huge Wu-Tang fan—so when Kinetic showed this video to RZA, he was looking for MMA fighters for The Man with the Iron Fists. He knew me from wrestling, but he didn’t know I was into martial arts, and he flipped out because there’s not many dudes who could play the character I played in the movie. He made a couple of calls to get a hold of Marrese and Marrese told me that, ‘RZA wants to meet you. He thinks he may have a role for you in this movie.’ I turned into a little kid. I flipped out. Meth was there and RZA was there too and I’ve been wanting to meet him for years. This is before everybody was signed on—before Russell Crowe was signed on, before Lucy Liu was signed on. I wanted to work with RZA so bad that I said, ‘Yeah, let me do this.’ So, I really based my year around this movie, which I had to put my fighting off with Strike Force. I put it off for so long that it ended up going in the tank because they got bought out by UFC. That’s just the way it is, but now, my relationship with RZA is just growing.

How was it working with RZA in this movie?
RZA, if you ever sit down and have a conversation with this dude, you’d be amazed just how spiritual he is, philosophical he is. He’s beyond artistic. So, it was a really cool learning experience because he just opened up to me the way he’d see things visually, but also the way he sees things visually and puts them to music. A lot of times, when he was directing scenes, he’d always make sure that the music playing would fit the mood of the scene. The cool thing about this was that it was a huge movie with really big names, but when RZA showed up it was laid back. It was just like hanging out with my boy. I didn’t have any pressure on me. So, if he thought something was wrong, he’d say, ‘Let’s try it like this or do it like that’ and I didn’t feel like I was on the spot. It just felt like I was hanging out in China for two months and having fun. It was a great experience.

What was it like chilling with Alchemist?
It was like chilling with one of my homeboys who I’ve known for 40 years. He’s just a real friendly, low-key dude and he’s so unassuming that he makes you feel like you’re his boy. He’s good people.

Bautista also talked about meeting Action Bronson, teaching him MMA and more.

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