by Mick Hammond, MMAWeekly.com
This upcoming weekend will be the PPV debut of King of the Cage’s “Execution Day” show that was taped in Reno, NV the on October 29th. The show’s headlining fight showcased one of the most dominating and complete performances any fighter in any weightclass has had all year as Mac Danzig defeated Takumi Nakayama via stoppage in the third round of their bout.
With the win Mac becomes the new KOTC Lightweight Champion, a title he adds to his resume after claiming the Gladiator Challenge title earlier this year. Recently Danzig spoke to MMA Weekly to discuss what people will see on PPV, his fighting style, and what he has planned for himself in the coming year.
“The fight went well, I trained for a five round war and almost got it,” said Danzig. “The fight was really tough, but from the first round on, as soon as I went in there and started taking control in the very beginning, I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d catch him.”
Nakayama, a former Shooto fighter whose faced some of the best fighters in the world including Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Joachim Hansen, and Tatsuya Kawajiri, showed great heart in the bout and fought hard, a fact not lost on Danzig.
“I’m really happy with the way it went, he’s really tough, it’s not like I went in there and got a quick KO or submission we both went in there and gave it 100%. I haven’t had a whole lot of fights like that, most of them I’ve finished early, he gave me a really tough fight. He’s a legitimate fighter so it feels even better to go that late into a fight and finish it the way I did,” acknowledged Mac.
Being that the fight was held under the auspices of the NSAC’s mandate of championship fights being five rounds, Danzig could have potentially faced a much longer bout than he did. But according to him, his training made him ready for just about anything.
“It was hard, but like anyone that knows me knows at all the gyms I’ve trained at I’m usually the hardest worker there. I’m willing to train as hard as I have to for any of my fights. It’s difficult to think about what I’ve got to put myself through for 25 minutes, but I’ll tell you I was ready for it. It’s crazy what you can accomplish if you really apply yourself. My training partners every day were pushing me to go 30 minutes straight without stopping with I had new fresh people come in every 3 minutes, even with the altitude, all the training was a good thing, I was ready for it,” said an exuberant Danzig.
One aspect of the fight that Mac was most impressive in was his movement and striking. As he explains, it didn’t come naturally, but was the product of all his hard training. “That’s more of something that I’ve had to work on. The striking didn’t come easy to me since the beginning of me getting involved with fighting and training. The grappling came right away, I used to watch the UFC and everything before I started training, so even before I started training I had a really good understanding of the grappling. The striking I had so many bad habits, so what I did a little over a year ago I took everything aside and started training at Wild Card Boxing and just worked my boxing with some really good boxers like Kingsley Ikeke. Just sparring with guys like that, not even coming nearly to their level, getting used to the movements really helped me out a lot. On top of that I’m a huge boxing fan, I probably watch more boxing than I do MMA, so every time I watch fighters I see how they move and I try to duplicate it. The head movement is definitely something I had to train to develop, it didn’t come naturally.”
Danzig continued, “I think the thing is, is to constantly spar with takedowns. Because if you just stand there in a Thai stance and you’re not really thinking about anything but striking you’re going to get taken down or leg kicked. You have to add everything to it and train constantly to build a perfect style that compliments MMA. I have a long way to go, it’s not like I’ve perfected it, it just came together in this one. The way that Takumi fights, he sort of turtles up like that when you hit him and he’s wide open for knees, so we always practiced that, following up with knees, finishing up every combination with knees. It may change for the next fight, for every fight I train specific.”
Now that he’s claimed his second title of the year, Danzig intends to take a break after a very hectic year of fighting. “I think right now I’d like to take some time off, this was my 7th fight since March, I’ve worked really hard to get to the point where I could take some time off. I haven’t really had any time off, I’ve had this whole summer and I’ve been fighting through a really bad elbow and a broken hand and I pushed through it because the opportunities were there. Now that I’ve won and it’s going to be on PPV and I have two titles, I’m going to take a little bit of time off. I don’t think I’m going to fight again before the end of the year unless a really good opportunity comes along. I’m going to take some time off, heal up and start up again at the beginning of next year.”
As for his plans regarding 2006, Mac has definite plans on making a name for himself against the best fighters in the world. “. My dream is to fight in Japan, so hopefully after a couple of title defenses Terry (Trebilcock, KOTC Owner) will see his way to get me in Bushido. If the UFC somehow brings back 155lbs, which I don’t see happening any time real soon, I would be right on it if they offered it to me. But definitely I’m not holding my breath, and I don’t want to say anything to burn my bridges with anybody but if I had my choice I’d take Japan in a second. I would love to fight in Bushido, either that or the K-1 Hero’s, those two tournaments that’s like the best thing I’ve seen in MMA in years, so I would love to fight there. Hopefully that will happen in a year for me.”
Mac further commented, “Anybody that’s recognized in that top 5 I would love to fight. I think Takanori Gomi is the best guy right now, but I’d love to fight any of them, Caol Uno, Joachim Hansen, Yves Edwards would be an awesome fight, I just respect them all so much. Just being able to fight any of them would be great, you couldn’t ask for anything more, they are the best guys in the best shows, it doesn’t matter, I’d be down with fighting any of them.”
As the conversation concluded, Danzig wanted to make sure to thank the people responsible for his success, “I’d like to thank Romie Aram and everyone at Millennia that’s helped me out. I really appreciate all the help they’ve given me and helping me train for this fight. I’m going to take some time off then 2006 is going to be my year, I’m going to put it all on the line and hopefully I’ll be able to make the people that’s sacrificed for me happy.”