If ever there was a year to forget, 2007 was that year for former TKO and IFL welterweight Chris “Menace” Clements. Back-to-back losses to Rory Markham and Jessie Bongfeldt in 2007, compounded with an injury, forced him to miss nearly two years of action.
As he recounted to MMAWeekly.com, “It was a week before I fought Jessie and I tore my ACL. In the second round, I had him in an arm bar and he rolled over and popped my knee. That’s when he got me in the choke is when I tried to stand up and shake my knee back into place.
“After that I took about four to six months before I got into surgery, and it was another year or so in rehab, so that’s what set me back a bit.”
Clements has since recovered fully and has won four of five fights since returning to action in 2009, showcasing a calmer, more deliberate style, which has contributed heavily to his recent success.
“Before coming up, I was pretty nervous fighting and held back a lot,” he said. “I’d go for the punch, but I didn’t showcase a lot of the skills I have.
“Now that I’m more comfortable, I’ll be able to do more stuff like I did in my last fight with the spinning back kick [that lead to a KO of Travis Briere]. I’m more seasoned, so I move around a lot more and have more gamesmanship as opposed to just going in there, holding my breath, and going for the kill. I’m a little more methodical now.”
Clements will get an opportunity to showcase his new self as he fights in front of his hometown crowd at Score Fighting Series on Dec. 3 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada against former UFC lightweight Rich Clementi.
“I know Rich is a pretty crafty guy who has been fighting for a long time, so I’m sure he has some pretty sneaky tricks that he’s planning on pulling out if he gets me on the ground,” said Clements. “I plan on keeping it on the feet as much as possible. If I get the opportunity to put Rich on his back, I will as well. I think I’ll be a lot faster than he is and use my speed to punish him.
“I don’t think he’s going to be strong enough or fast enough to get me on the ground. I’m pretty sure Rich is going to know how to weather the storm; and I’m going to have a hard time keeping my 100-percent knockout rate intact; but I’m expecting to win regardless at the end.”
Admittedly not a spring chicken, Clements feels it’s now or never if he’s going to get his opportunity to do something at the highest level of MMA.
“I’m only interested in the UFC,” he said. “I don’t really care too much about going to another show. I’m 35-years-old and at this point in my career I don’t want to spend three or four years building myself up in another organization with hopes of getting into the UFC.
“(After this fight) I hope the UFC takes notice. Not only do I hope they take notice that I’m beating UFC vets, but notice the fashion I’m doing it in. I’m not squeaking out decisions or ducking opponents; the only losses I have are because I’ve gone after high-level guys. Hopefully I don’t get my UFC debut when I’m 40 years old. I’d like to get there before I turn 36, and make a run for myself and have a full career there rather than getting my start there at the end of my career.”