If David Rickels took a conventional path to being a fighter … well, he’d probably be just another fighter.

Instead he’s “The Caveman”- a hairy, vigorous, tough-hearted warrior who has become one of the most popular personalities in the Bellator Mixed Martial Arts circuit. He insists his hometown be listed as Derby – not Wichita – because that’s the town where the Caveman evolved.

Rickels has had facial hair from the day he could grow it. He will be the first to tell you he wasn’t much of a wrestler in high school. By his junior year, he wasn’t involved in organized sports at all. Instead, he and his friends would hold makeshift boxing matches in his backyard, sometimes drawing hundreds of spectators.

This was about the same time MMA began to explode. Rickels said his first exposure to MMA was on a Japanese sports circuit, which he watched with fascination. He threw himself into learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu and muay-thai. He became a better wrestler, and boxer. He got in the best shape of his life.

Shortly after graduating from Derby in 2007, Rickels had his first MMA match. He was a natural fighter and entertainer. His appearance, antics and sense of humor left a lasting impression. Rickels might be best known for licking his opponents’ blood off his hands after a particularly brutal beatdown. The first time he did that, it was on a whim. Now the fans expect it.

A 5-foot-11 lightweight, Rickels turns 25 in a couple of weeks. He owns a 15-2 record as a professional, and has never submitted a fight. He says he’s committed to rectifying a first-round title match loss to Michael Chandler last July, and took a big step toward that goal by defeating challenger J.J. Ambrose with a third-round TKO in October.

We asked the Caveman for an interview, with this twist: The questions and answers would be Tweets only, in 140 characters or less.

You moved down to lightweight this year. How are you doing with your eating habits around the holidays?

@TheCaveman316      I fight at 155 and im probably 190 now. My eating habits are horrible lol. For the most part I don't start my diet till about 12 weeks

@TheCaveman316      before the fight

Dude. That's 35 pounds. When's your next fight?

@TheCaveman316      Should be in the area of February March. Yeah I cut a lot more weight than most

So take us through today for an example. What have you eaten so far?

@TheCaveman316      Biscuits and gravy with bacon and eggs. And hot sauce of course

Of course. And how will that change when you're dropping the weight? Surely you have to keep your energy at a high level.

@TheCaveman316      Yes indeed. I do a very high protein no carb diet

Did you consider yourself an athlete in high school?

@TheCaveman316      Yes I considered myself an athlete. I was pretty good at just about any sport I played just not amazing. Very competitive also

Why don't you think you were more successful as a wrestler? Did it not interest you?

@TheCaveman316      I just was not motivated at that time. Didn't pay attention to learning

If you'd been born 20 years earlier, do you think you would have been a boxer?

@TheCaveman316      I do think so. I've always loved sports and competition in general. But I like one on one aspect. No one's fault but your own for losing

Important question: Do any of you guys wear ... uh, a protective cup in the octagon?

@TheCaveman316      Yes. Lol. Every single time. It's mandatory

Thank goodness! So what's the worst injury you've ever suffered, and how did it happen?

@TheCaveman316      I have been very lucky. I've never really had any serious injury. Ive hurt my feet kicking elbows and what not but nothing crazy

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

@TheCaveman316      My love for fried foods and beer! Makes cutting weight hurt

What is the No. 1 misconception about MMA fighting?

@TheCaveman316      That we hate each other and we're all a bunch of thugs. There a lot more to the sport than what's right on the surface

Ever had a beer with someone after fighting him?

@TheCaveman316      Yes quite a few times

There's got to be an incredibly unique respect there. Not like a couple of lineman after a football game. A lot more personal. Am I close?

@TheCaveman316      Yes specifically with the guys that you train with on a regular basis. They are fighters also and you beat each other up a lot more than

@TheCaveman316 The people you fight against

How well do know Michael Chandler?

@TheCaveman316      Lol... As well as we have fought. He being the Victor in the bout and the first fighter I've ever really felt "defeated" me

If you could go back in time and fight that match again, what do you think you'd do differently?

@TheCaveman316      I would punch his face . kick his face. And maybe try to break his arm. Achieve victory is what I'll do different next time we fight

Best sports movie of all time?

@TheCaveman316      Blood sport

Over "Enter the Dragon?" Or "Warrior?" What makes " Blood Sport" so outstanding?

@TheCaveman316      One of the first anything gos kind of fight film. And.... Bolo yeung is an awesome bad guy

Speaking of blood ... reaction from licking your opponent's blood of your hands? The fans go nuts, but there has to be some negatives.

@TheCaveman316      Yeah the negatives are the HIV tests we have to go through! Lol. We are checked before have so I know he's clean at least

What is something we would be surprised to learn about you?

@TheCaveman316      I'm a caveman but I've never been hunting . although I'd like to learn to bow hunt. Or spear. Seems more fair

I can picture you doing that. Would you lick their blood from your hands?

@TheCaveman316      I'd probably drink it so I could absorb their powers