Though he had found success in the first three years of his MMA career, it was last year that was truly special for bantamweight Anthony Birchak.
Having established himself as one to watch in the regional circuits, Birchak moved up into international competition with the Maximum Fighting Championship and quickly became the promotion’s man to beat at 135 pounds.
“Last year obviously one of the highest points of my career,” Birchak told MMAWeekly.com. “I won the inaugural MFC bantamweight championship.
“I never won a state championship for my high school in wrestling, I didn’t do anything in college, then I had kids and life happened, so to win a world championship is something that I’m very proud of.”
Ever determined to improve upon his performances, Birchak has spent the last several months sharpening his game and feels when he returns to action on May 9, he’ll be sharper than ever.
“At MFC 37 (against Ryan Benoit) it was a lot of go, go, go and sloppy technique, but still that pace that wore my opponent down,” said Birchak. “At MFC 38 (against Tito Jones) it was the same pace, but a lot more technical, a lot more patient. That’s the style I’m most happy with.
“I’m just continuing to polish my setups and chaining my strikes, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu so it’s a seamless one-motion thing.”
At MFC 40 on May 9 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Birchak (11-1) will look to defend his title for the first time against promotional newcomer Kevin “Hard-Hitting Hillbilly” Croom (14-4).
“I’ve got to just continue to out-pace him,” said Birchak of his match with Croom. “The kid swings, has big punches and some tough takedowns. As long as I stay composed and patient, work my game and keep moving in and out, and hit my strikes and get moving, I think it will be a successful night.”
Now that he is the champion, Birchak knows the hard work begins. He intends to prove himself a longterm titleholder in the MFC.
“They say it’s easy to get the belt and hard to keep it, but I’m going to prove that wrong,” he said. “I’m going to be able to defend my title successfully.
“I know everybody’s aiming for that target on my back and I relish the competition. I’m more than happy to be in the spotlight right now and feel that kind of pressure.”