If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts, you admire the performances put on by the fighters when they enter the cage, ring, or Octagon. The display of athleticism put on by the competitors, their ability to transition from one fighting aspect to another. All these and other things make up the spectacle that is currently the fastest growing sport in the world.
Showcasing such talent and ability isn’t something that fighters walk into from the moment they decide to enter the sport. As they say: this ain’t no walk in the park, son!
Believe that it takes a certain type of man – or woman – to find the discipline warranted of a fighter and consistently perform at one’s physical peak. Personal sacrifice is par for the course, and it can reach beyond the physical aspect as well. Family, friends, and personal relationships sometimes play second fiddle to a fighter’s training regimen, especially when approaching fight night.
The effort poured into the cup of one’s fighting career is enough to confirm that it takes more than just simple luck to get to the big stage. Just ask UFC 127 fighter and former Ultimate Fighter contestant Chris Camozzi about how lucky he is to be where is.
“Sometimes, when people say, ‘you’re lucky,’ it bugs me a little,” he said on MMAWeekly Radio. “They don’t realize that, even though I love doing it, it does take a lot of work and it’s not luck that gets you there.”
Getting to the premier league of MMA is no easy task. Most never make it there, only to spend the majority of their careers rummaging through the lower grade leagues, chomping at the bit for what is supposed to be a paycheck, but it barely puts food on the table.
“You don’t just wake up and get to fight in the UFC,” Camozzi said. “You have to go through the rough parts of fighting on small shows for 200 bucks or whatever.”
But just like anything, if you put enough heart and passion into it, you can make moves to put yourself in a prime position to dominate and reap the benefits of success.
“I could get a full-time job, but I put everything I got into training beforehand, and I wanted to make a go at fighting,” said the former TUF cast member.
Camozzi has done the small shows and paid his dues to get where he’s at. Now he’s fighting for the most popular MMA promotion on the face of the earth – on one of the organization’s main cards, no less. In his next bout, he will meet another former TUF competitor in Australia’s Kyle Noke. Camozzi says he is familiar with the man from down under, confirming that he saw Noke as one of the favorites to win the 12th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“I’m familiar with his fights,” he said. “I knew he was going to be a force on the show when they had the rumored names out online. When I left, I thought he would be one of the guys to win it. So he’s definitely talented, he’s good. It’s a tough match-up for me.”
There hasn’t been a lot of talk leading up to this fight. Noke – a fighter who doesn’t typically play the role of smacktalker – is looked at as more of a threat by Camozzi simply because he chooses not to hurl verbal mud at his opponent prior to their scheduled match-up.
It’s those quiet ones that will get you.
“I think it’s the guys that don’t talk that you have to worry about,” admitted Camozzi. “It’s usually the guys that are talking all the smack that are compensating for something. I don’t mind fighting either way, that’s not my thing. But I’ve fought guys that talk like that and it just kind of helps fuel the fire. It makes me want to run through them. And now, with guys like Kyle I (have to) stay more technical, which is probably smarter for me anyway. Better than let emotion take over and try to go wild.”