After cutting his teeth on the regional circuit, Chris Camozzi made his way to the UFC as so many fighters have now, via The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Camozzi emerged from the show, winning his first two official UFC fights before hitting a mixed bag of alternating wins and losses, including having to take a fight outside of the Octagon. He’s currently riding back-to-back victories once again, but the going gets no easier as he’s headed into one of the toughest fights of his career.
He next faces Luiz Cane on the Brazilian’s home turf at UFC 153 on Saturday night.
“I embrace it. I enjoy being the spoiler,” Camozzi told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
Cane, however, is a very dangerous fighter. He’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a propensity for going toe-to-toe with anyone, amassing 10 knockout victories en route to a 12-4 record.
That’s alright by Camozzi. He’s found a new lust for life in the Octagon. Believing that the rough patch he encountered was due to a loss of focus, and following blunt conversations with his manager and his trainer, Camozzi now feels like he’s back on track.
“I found that killer instinct that I think I lost for a little bit,” revealed Camozzi. “I’m not going in there to win; I’m going in there to finish.
“I’m not looking for this fight to go to the judges and, hopefully, I’m not looking for this fight to even go to the third round.”
The odds are in the favor of Camozzi getting his wish; neither he nor Cane has made a habit of going the distance.
You can also add to the mix that Cane’s back is against the wall. He’s lost three of his last four fights and has been out of the cage for more than a year nursing injuries.
In short, Cane is the proverbial wounded animal backed into a corner.
Camozzi, however, wouldn’t have it any other way. He wants a tough fight. He wants an exciting fight. He wants to show fans the reinvigorated Chris Camozzi that is now hunting post-fight bonuses.
“Cane comes to fight and that’s what I want. I want a guy that’s going to come in there and fight so that we can put on a fight for the fans. I’m looking to make those bonuses now, and in order to get those bonuses from Dana, it can’t always be a one-person thing,” Camozzi explained.
“I’m hunting for those bonuses more than anything. When you get one of those bonuses, it’s basically Dana telling you it was a great fight. Some guys go in there looking to win; some guys go in there and look to win those bonuses and impress. Let’s be real, anybody in any job you have, they want to impress their boss.”
That’s not to say that Camozzi feels as if he’s in a spot where he’s unappreciated or hasn’t been successful.
Most of us, of course, are always looking to earn more respect, to achieve a greater amount of success, whatever the measure of that may be. Camozzi, by hunting post-fight bonuses and looking to leave a lasting impression on his bosses, is obviously doing just that.
Camozzi also realizes that he’s in a pretty good place in his life already.
At 17-5 overall and 4-2 in the Octagon, he’s taken his career to a point where has achieved a reasonable degree of comfort and now wants to give a little something back.
Having deep roots in jiu-jitsu, Camozzi feels a strong tie to Brazil. Talking with his manager, Jason Genet, leading up to the UFC 153 bout against Cane, Camozzi decided that he would maximize his trip to Brazil by using it to raise money for a local charity. That charity is Instituto Reacao, a group that utilizes the teachings of Judo as a pathway to human development in an attempt to help keep kids and young adults off the streets.
“I know there are some parts of Brazil where they’re hurting a little bit,” explained Camozzi. “Not to their extent, but I’ve been down on my luck in life before. I feel like the UFC is giving me a good opportunity and I’m doing alright now to where I can help other people, so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna donate some of my purse and we’re also gonna sell my shorts and stuff afterwards and all that money will go to that charity.”
Chris Camozzi and Luiz Cane square off as part of the UFC 153 preliminary bouts streaming live on Facebook.
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for all of your UFC 153 fight coverage.