by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
For the first time since winning the sixth season of the Ultimate Fighter, Mac Danzig returns to the Octagon at UFC 83 in Montreal. He defeated Tommy Speer via submission in the season six finale to finish off what many considered a dominating performance throughout the show. The 28-year old fighter will now move down to the lightweight division to face Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Mark Bocek.
“It’s awesome. I think it’s a great opportunity for all of us fighters on the card,” said an elated Danzig. “Being up there in front of that sold out crowd, it’s going to be pretty cool. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited to finally be able to showcase my skills to a lot of people.”
A veteran of Gladiator Challenge, King of the Cage and Pride Fighting Championships, Danzig has a lot of experience under his belt. In preparation for the first fight under his new UFC contract, Danzig moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to join Xtreme Couture and train full time.
“I’m excited. I’ve been training really hard. I made the move to Las Vegas finally to be part of Team Couture full time. The training is incredible,” he revealed. “I miss California, but I have to do this for my career.”
Joining Xtreme Couture has allowed Danzig the opportunity to train with many great fighters such as Tyson Griffin, Gray Maynard, Sam Stout, Chris Horodecki, Jay Hieron, John Alessio and Martin Kampmann.
“When you train with the best you’re ready to fight the best. It makes it so there are no surprises. A lot of times the fight is much easier than the training. It all depends on how you prepare.”
“I do have a lot of confidence,” added the former Gladiator Challenge champion. “I know how good my training partners are, especially Gray Maynard. The guy is phenomenal. He’s an incredible wrestler, he hits like a freight train, and he’s one of the strongest guys at 155.”
Danzig is looking to get his second Octagon victory against Bocek, who is a decorated grappler that holds a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Joao Roque and a black belt in Kempo Karate. The Nova Uniao fighter is coming off of a win over Doug Evans at UFC 79.
“I have to be really careful because he’s one fight away from being dropped, if only temporarily, from the UFC. He’s completely motivated to win this fight. It’s a good fight for him and a good opportunity; I’m not going to let him take my momentum away,” commented Danzig. “This is the most momentum I’ve had in my career.
“A lot of people don’t understand how much of a tough fight this is stylistically and how easy it is for this guy to slow the fight down. He’s really motivated to take the fight to the ground. A lot of people expect me to walk through this guy but it’s not like that; he’s really, really tough.
“I’m always looking for that damn knockout that has eluded me. I’ve gotten plenty of TKO wins, but I’ve never gotten that clean KO win. I feel like it’s my duty to make this fight exciting for the fans. No offense to Mark, but he slows the pace down,” said Danzig.
UFC 83 marks the first time that the organization has held an event in Canada. Danzig’s opponent lives in Canada and has been a resident since birth. Fighting Bocek on his home turf doesn’t seem to add any pressure on Danzig, though.
“Him being Canadian…the home country advantage, I’m not worried about that. If I get booed, I get booed; I don’t care,” he explained.
“No matter what happens with my career, I can say I did my best and I tried my best. I worked at 100%, that’s the way I want to look back…with no regrets.”
At UFC 83, Mac Danzig will add his name to the large list of talented fighters in the UFC’s bolstering lightweight division. His next test will arguably be one of the most important fights of his professional career.
“I’m motivated to keep things standing, but I’m ready to fight anywhere it goes. I’m looking to end this fight in the first round that’s for sure.”