by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Welterweight fighter John Alessio is a man on a mission. Ever since he joined the Zuffa brand of MMA promotions, first the UFC and currently the WEC, John has wanted just one thing, to be crowned champion.
At this Wednesday’s WEC event in Las Vegas, Nevada, John can take one step closer to achieving that goal as he steps into the cage against Marcelo Brito in hopes of cementing up his position as the top challenger to Carlos Condit’s WEC 170-pound Championship.
During a brief patch of free time during preparations for his WEC return this Wednesday, Alessio spoke to MMAWeekly to discuss his growth as a fighter, his fight against Brito, and the possibilities of a rematch with Condit in the not-too-distant future.
MMAWeekly: First off, John, tell us how your training at Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture gym has been going to get ready for Wednesday’s fight with Marcelo Brito.
John Alessio: Training’s gone really good. I’ve got a whole group load of guys; a room full of studs, so training camp went really well. I’ve been working a lot on improving my wrestling. I’ve been working with a few different striking coaches, adding more to my striking, working on the kicks a lot and knees, adding that to my boxing
MMAWeekly: Making it so opponents can’t key on your jab and the one-two combination, huh?
John Alessio: Yeah, exactly, I’m just working on being as well-rounded as possible. I’ve got a lot of good jiu-jitsu guys I’ve been working with also, so, my submission game is growing every day.
MMAWeekly: So, hopefully no more guys riding your back for five minutes, right?
John Alessio: No, hopefully not. [Laughs]
MMAWeekly: How do you feel where you’re at right now as a fighter, having spent time at Xtreme Couture, compared to last year, or even maybe earlier this year?
John Alessio: It’s great. I just feel like my game has improved leaps and bounds. Just with my training partners in general I’m feeling more confident, getting to spar with great guys that you see on TV all the time and always wonder how it would be to go with them, and I get to spar with them every day. Confidence-wise, I’m really confident right now.
MMAWeekly: Have you had a chance to put a shiner yet on the “old man” yet?
John Alessio: No, no shiners. [Laughs] I’ve definitely gotten to spar with Randy, wrestle with him, do jiu-jitsu with him and it’s a lot of fun and I’m learning a lot.
MMAWeekly: Okay, let’s talk about the fight itself. Do you know anything about Brito or had a chance to work on anything specifically for him that you feel you can use to your advantage?
John Alessio: I really don’t know much about this guy at all. I know he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu and trains in Muay Thai. I haven’t had a chance to see any footage of him, so, I’ve got him to make him fight my gameplan and make him stay away from what he wants to do.
MMAWeekly: So, impose your will first and force him to adjust to you, rather than waiting for him?
John Alessio: Yeah, exactly, I’m going to put him in my world.
MMAWeekly: Do you think, in the past, you maybe were forced to react to your opponents, rather than make them have to adjust to you, which lead to problems in your previous fights?
John Alessio: Yeah, I kind of got into being a kind of passive, counter-attack fighter; so, I’ve really changed that up in my training to be the aggressor. You still may see me counter, but counter aggressively and really put the fight where I want it to be, at the pace that I want it at.
MMAWeekly: Should all go well in this fight, has there been any discussion of where you may be headed next with the promotion?
John Alessio: I’m the #1 Contender right now – and I’m going to solidify that Wednesday night by knocking out this Brazilian guy – and then I want my title shot after that. But, it depends on Carlos [Condit], the promoters and when we’re going to do that. The sooner the better to me, because I really want to redeem myself, so let’s get back in there.
MMAWeekly: Good stuff, John, is there anything you want to say as we close out?
John Alessio: I want to thank my sponsors: Xyience; UBL, which is United by Lending; Tapout Clothing; Dr. Shaw’s Chiropractic Office; REO Cash Flow; Stabilizer Training; Xtreme Couture Nutrition; and all my family and friends for their support.
This fight’s going to go really good, I really plan on bringing the pain and getting a knockout victory on September 5th at the WEC, so check it out on the Versus Network and TFN up in Canada.
By the end of the year, hopefully, I’ll be the WEC Welterweight Champ – that’s my goal. If they give me the title shot before the end of the year – I’ll take it, if not – it’ll be a good New Year’s present for me.