Tristar Gym stalwart and UFC lightweight John “The Bull” Makdessi is currently riding a two-fight winning streak heading into his showdown with TUF: Brazil competitor Renee Forte at Saturday’s UFC 165 in Toronto.
Fighting in front of his countrymen for the sixth time in just seven UFC fights, Makdessi finds himself competing on the undercard portion of UFC 165 – an event headlined with a UFC light heavyweight title bout between champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson.
“The Bull” possesses one of the most flamboyant and fan-friendly karate/kickboxing styles in the sport. With a win over the Brazilian on Saturday, the Halifax-born striker hopes that soon he will find himself competing with the upper echelon on the main card.
However, for the incredibly polite 28-year-old, he knows that decision does not fall solely on him.
“That’s really up to the UFC,” Makdessi said. “I’ve fought tough guys. It’s really up to them on who they want to put on the main card.
“I truly believe I have already proven myself in terms of my technique. I have unique skills. I am one of the most exciting fighters in the world. I guess it’s just a matter of time.”
“Those are two top-level guys; they’re champions,” said Makdessi. “155 is probably the most stacked division, and those two wins really taught me to trust in my skills. They really helped me mentally.”
Originally slated to face Edson Barboza at UFC 162 in July, Makdessi got injured during a hot and heavy sparring session at the TriStar gym in Montreal – the same gym that features MMA powerhouses such as Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald among others.
“I usually train with guys 20 pounds heavier than me, and in training I got hit with a good shot in sparring. It was just one of those weird things,” he recalled.
“I guess I kind of pushed myself to the limit and my body kind of slowed down a bit. It was a learning lesson for me. I thought I was able to do more than I could and I always pushed myself to the limit; you know, how strong, how fast and how much I could develop as a mixed martial artist. I hit a bump in the road, and I realized my body isn’t a machine, so I had to step it down a notch. Now my goal is to focus on quality, not quantity.”
As his end of summer showdown with Forte looms, Makdessi is keenly aware of the challenges a fighter like Forte possesses. However, at this stage in the fight game, if there is one thing Makdessi has learned in his six UFC outings, it’s that sometimes focusing on your opponent and his approach to the fight may become more of a hindrance than an advantage.
“I always try to go into a fight focusing on myself. I don’t try to focus too much on the other guy,” he said. “I mean, I’m aware of his experience. I’m aware of what kind of fighter he is. He comes out aggressive. He’s a decent fighter.
“I look at every fight as an important fight for me; it’s a chance to prove myself. I don’t underestimate my opponents, but I also don’t fear them. Now it’s time for me to go out there and do what I do.”
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