by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
As 2006 winds down the inevitable debate of Fighter of the Year will begin to happen. Aside the big names such as Mirko Cro Cop and Georges St. Pierre there are also a group of fighters that have yet to make their major promotion debuts, but nonetheless had a great year themselves.

Among those fighters is King of the Cage Lightweight Champion Mac Danzig. This year he went undefeated, successfully defending his title three times and further cemented his place as one of the top young 155-pound fighters around.

Not only did Danzig have a good year in MMA, but recently he made his successful debut in the Professional Submission League’s “X-Mission” show in Los Angeles as he choked out two-time US Open Champion Alan Zboronsky in just over three minutes.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Mac to MMAWeekly about his match at X-Mission. “I got the call about two days before the event, saying they needed someone to step-in against one of Renato Magno’s black belts. Originally one of my good friends and training partners, Andy Wang, was going to be going up against [Alan] Zborovsky, but he had to step up and go against Kron Gracie because Bill Cooper pulled out, so that left Zborovsky without an opponent, so I figured why not?”

“I wasn’t in the best shape of my life, but I had been training hard, and it was at 170 so I didn’t have to cut any weight at all, so I went in there and gave it all I had. It reminded me that my grappling’s not so bad, so it was a lot of fun,” continued Danzig.

When asked if he’d like to compete in more submission grappling events, including the prestigious Abu Dhabi World Championships, Mac responded, “If somebody offered me a spot in Abu Dhabi I’d go for it – without a question I’d go for it.”

Danzig added, “I was talking to Rico [Chiapparelli] and he said they’d like to use me for the next PSL event and I’m definitely down for that. I think it’s pretty cool that they’re picking the more elite grapplers out there and are paying them for a professional event. It doesn’t interfere with any MMA contracts I have so I can do as many of these PSL events that they want to have me in.”

Mac’s focus however is clearly on his blossoming MMA career, a career that could get a lot more interesting in the months to come as he becomes a free agent in February.

“It looks like I’m going to go ahead and fight Clay French, who just lost in Bushido, on January 19th in Chicago, Illinois,” said Danzig of potentially his next fight. “After that PRIDE is having a show in the US – I’m not confirmed for that or anything – but I’m hearing good things about it from a couple people in the PRIDE organization and Monte Cox who did me a favor in talking to them about me. So there’s a good chance I’m either going to get on that or one of the Bushido cards.”

“If something happens and that doesn’t come through by February I can still look for whatever I need to. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to agree on the Clay French fight for January just to stay active,” commented Mac.

On a more personal note, fans may know that Danzig is a vegan, thus making for an interesting conundrum for the recent holiday of Thanksgiving – a holiday that for most centers on a traditional meal of turkey. As Mac explains however, being vegetarian didn’t stop him from enjoying the holiday with family.

“I didn’t have a problem with it at all. My mom came to visit me and my girlfriend, who’s a vegan too, she made this awesome vegan feast for us and it was really good,” elucidated Mac. “She worked all day long in the kitchen making all sorts of good food and we didn’t have a problem at all. The only time something like that might be a problem is if I was around people that only wanted turkey and everything, but still even in that situation I can eat the stuffing or whatever [laughs].”

“I got lucky this time; my girl was down for cooking so we had a good Thanksgiving. My mom was cool with it. She is pretty open-minded and she’s not a huge meat eater herself anyway. She’s not a vegetarian, but she doesn’t mind stuff like that, so it was all good,” continued Danzig.

With a great year coming to a close, Mac has had a prosperous year both professionally and personally and he looks forward to continuing the trend in 2007.

“I got a lot accomplished this year,” concluded Danzig. “I set some goals like not losing this year and I accomplished that. 2007 is going to be no different, I’m just going to keep getting better at what I do and look for some knockouts because that’s what I want to do.”