Due to a case of tonsillitis suffered by Andrew Craig, his bout against Chris Camozzi has been pulled from the card.
If things get down and dirty in the midst of Friday’s middleweight bout between Chris Camozzi and Andrew Craig, Texas’ Craig will probably hope that Camozzi was watching cartoons one weekday morning before leaving for Abu Dhabi instead of a Rocky Marciano documentary.
But it was “The Brockton Blockbuster” on the tube in his Colorado home, and Camozzi absorbed every second of it.
“Rocky Marciano is one of my all-time favorite fighters,” he said. “He was one of those guys that had it in his head that he wasn’t going to lose. He had that fight (against Jersey Joe Walcott) where he was getting beat down the whole fight, and in the 13th round he got a knockout to win the title. It’s just that mindset that no matter how the fight’s going, you can still end it and you’re gonna win, and I think that’s always a good way to look at it because in the fight world, you can have a game plan all you want and it doesn’t mean it’s gonna go that way. I think (Mike) Tyson summed it up the best when he said everybody’s got a game plan until they get punched. And that’s true. You can picture the fight in your head and how it’s gonna go all you want, but I can guarantee it’s not gonna go that way. So you definitely have to be mentally tough and have to be able to adjust and you always have to know that you’re gonna win that fight no matter what.”
That attitude has epitomized Camozzi’s entire career so far, with his heart and will to win evident no matter what the end result. So it’s almost fitting that in keeping with his tradition of giving back to charities and those in need, for this fight Camozzi has teamed up with the Reddit MMA forum to gain awareness for the fight nine-year-old Gabriel Santisteven is in against stage four brain cancer. And while you can’t compare the outcome of a prizefight with a child’s battle against cancer, there are lessons to be learned from determination in the midst of a fight. So if Camozzi wants Gabriel to take one thing away from his upcoming bout with Craig, it’s that to never give up.
“For boxing, you win by knockout,” said Camozzi. “For us fighting MMA, there are more options for me to win. I can submit him, I can knock him out, I can TKO him, I can cut him, so keeping that mindset’s a little bit better. If you’re really losing that fight, then I need to take him down. If I take him down, then I work for that finish. Three five-minute rounds is a long time to fight, but I can do that all day long. I think I have the best cardio in the entire middleweight division. Right now, I’m finishing the third round harder than I’m starting the first round. And I think training in Denver at high altitude helps me do that. So setting that fast pace and doing damage throughout the fight really helps break a guy down and I think that’s the key to a lot of my wins.”
It has been, but heading into Friday, Camozzi is on a two fight losing streak. The first loss to Ronaldo Souza last May was just one of those things where if you go to the ground with “Jacare,” a submission defeat usually follows. In his decision loss against Lorenz Larkin in November, it was a typical back-and-forth Camozzi fight, only this time, he wound up on the losing end.
“I felt like I fought a pretty good fight,” he said. “Larkin was faster to the punch than me, but in the first round I lost my vision in my right eye. I got a retinal abrasion and my eye filled with blood, so I was seeing black out of my right eye, which made it a little tougher, but I don’t blame that for the loss. He was the quicker fighter for sure, and there were things, looking back, that I wish I would have done better. I wish I would have been on offense a little bit more and mixed up some takedowns a little bit more and kept him guessing, so I left that fight unhappy. Half the time when I win I’m not even happy. (Laughs) I think I did some things better in that fight than I did in the past, so that was a plus, but there are always things to build on and to grow, especially when you lose.”
The two losses followed a four fight winning streak for the 27-year-old, but in this sport, it’s usually a ‘what have you done for me lately’ deal, and Camozzi knows the ‘is this a must win situation’ questions are on everyone’s mind. But it’s not on his.
“I don’t feel any more extra pressure than I normally do,” he said. “I feel like every fight’s a must win. For me, I think Andrew Craig matches up perfectly for my style and for me to win. But regardless of who I’m fighting, I feel like every fight, even if I won ten in a row, you’re fighting for your job. And (UFC President) Dana (White) has made it clear that if you go out there and you put on the fights that people want to see and make it exciting and you look to finish, then they’ll keep you around. I try not to keep it in my head too much because I can’t control any of that. All I can control is how hard I train and going in there and doing my job. Other than that, the other variables I can’t worry about.”
That includes avoiding a dose of MMA math and trying to figure out his future. All he wants to do is fight, win, and see where it takes him.
“Coming off two losses, I’ve got to win this fight and I just need to put up wins this year,” he said. “I’m looking to get four fights and four wins this year, no matter who they are. Four wins in a row in the UFC is respectable no matter who the opponents are. Everybody in this division is good, so whoever they put in front of me I’m gonna have to beat regardless, so I’m just looking to get four fights and four wins, and get me back on that track.”
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Camozzi's All-Heart Approach to Life
"Coming off two losses, I’ve got to win this fight and I just need to put up wins this year. I’m looking to get four fights and four wins this year, no matter who they are." - Chris Camozzi