Mike Massenzio is finally leaving North America. UFC 142 will mark the first time the middleweight fights outside of the continent and he’s doing it in his opponent’s home country. Rousimar Palhares will meet him in Rio de Janeiro for the Brazilian fight card.
What a way to receive a welcome.
But any welcome will do for Massenzio. He feels like he’s been given another chance of making it big by getting his second tenure in the UFC. And like anyone would in his position, Massenzio is primed to make the best out of it.
“A lot of guys in life don’t get second chances,” Massenzio told MMAWeekly Radio. “I’m going to ride it out and try to make the best of it.”
Making the best out of facing a fighter like Palhares has huge upside, according to Massenzio. Topping him in Brazil means he can overcome great odds, which will give notice to the UFC bosses.
Ultimately, pushing himself up that rough mountainside known as the middleweight rankings and elevating his career is priority No. 1 for Massenzio.
“In order to get to the top, I have to beat the best,” he said. “I’m not playing around anymore. I want to get there as soon as possible. I feel that I have the talent in my heart.
“You beat a guy like (Palhares), it’s just going to catapult (my) career.”
In Massenzio’s eyes, Palhares’ previous opponents haven’t approached the muscular middleweight the correct way. It’s as though they’re scared and have already been beaten, according the AMA Fight Club fighter. And once you’ve been beaten, you might as well pack your gear and go home, avoiding a fight altogether. The fight game isn’t a place one goes just to get a paycheck, Massenzio explained.
Even in this economy, there’s other mundane jobs out there for that.
“If you’re doing it for a payday, you shouldn’t be in this sport,” he said.
Now that he’s back in the big show of the UFC, Massenzio feels a sense of maturity. He’s aged in MMA much like a fine wine, getting better as the years have come and gone. But instead of being served like the alcoholic beverage, he’ll be the one looking to dish out the punishment in Brazil against Palhares.
And as far as the home field advantage, Massenzio isn’t concerned about his opponent’s advantage in Rio. “A fight’s a fight,” he said, and there’ nothing new to coming in and fighting in a hostile environment. Wrestling since he was four years old has prepared him for that kind of treatment. It’s given him the mindset of not giving up, no matter the opposition. He just doesn’t know how to give up.
“The sport of wrestling has made me who I am,” he said. “I feel it helps me out in this sport and my career.”