After fighting in the UFC 19 times and amassing a (24-13) overall MMA record, Chris Camozzi decided to try his skills in the kickboxing ring. On December 1st, 2017 he made his kickboxing debut for GLORY at GLORY 48 in the theater at Madison Square Garden as part of the super-fight series on UFC Fight Pass. In what amounted to a dominate display of striking by the Colorado native, his opponent Kyle Weickhardt could not answer the bell for the third round.
Officially Camozzi won his pro kickboxing debut by second round TKO. Recently I was able to chat with Chris on his kickboxing debut, plans for MMA, GLORY 48 & what he plans to do next inside the GLORY ring. (Go to the bottom of the article to listen to the full interview.)
Looking over your performance against Weickhardt, what did you expect from him coming into this match?
From what I’d heard about him, he took a little bit of a break but GLORY said he (Weickhardt) was one of the best kickboxers in North America. That’s the exact words they said to me so I knew he was supposed to be pretty solid. I knew he had been around for a long and had a decent amount of kickboxing experience. We asked for a tough first fight and they (GLORY) told me it was. So going in there I was acting like it was Cro Cop.
You have now made the transition from MMA to kickboxing but are there any plans to do MMA with any organization?
I’m going to do both. I have a four fight deal with GLORY and I’m currently a free agent in MMA. We have some offers but haven’t made a decision on anything. I’ve wanted to kickbox so now that I’ve done that I bounce in between GLORY and any MMA promotion I choose. We’re still kind of decided there but you’ll definitely see me in both.
So going from 15 minutes to 9 minutes for a fight had to be a cake walk for you right?
Yea it was great. The three-minute rounds are really nice. So before they stopped the fight in between the second and third, I was barely out of breath. The three-minute move quick so it’s shorter on the lungs but you have to get to work a lot quicker.
So in this fight that only lasted six minutes, you threw 198 strikes. That’s an incredible work effort especially for someone making their kickboxing debut. Was that the game plan to just overwhelm him with strikes?
Yea so that’s one thing we worked on with the switch is on volume. So in kickboxing you need a lot more volume. And I don’t have the danger of take-downs so I can sit down on my punches a lot more since I don’t have to worry about sprawling or defend my legs. So it allows me to throw at a higher volume.
So even training for MMA you’re wearing boxing gloves but did wearing them for a professional event feel any different or odd to you?
No, I’ve always enjoyed wearing boxing gloves. I’ve always felt uncomfortable in MMA gloves. You always hurt your hands a lot more and it’s harder to go to body and catch an elbow or something. Plus when you fight MMA you always get a new pair of gloves that are stiff and need to be broken in and it’s way harder to make a fist. I’ve always liked boxing gloves or MMA gloves and I always will.
So for your fight at GLORY 48 it was in New York at the Theater in Madison Square Garden, what was it like fighting there?
Oh it was amazing. I had never been to the Garden before but everybody knows the Garden. I would say it was one of the pinnacles of fighting, of combat sports. A lot of greatest fighters ever have fought there so getting to fight there was awesome.
On the same night you fought at GLORY 48, another former UFC competitor made his kickboxing debut in Thiago Silva. What did you think of his performance?
I watched it on and off. I was in the crows visiting with friends and family but he looked good, he looked sharp. I don’t think it’s out of the question that we see him and I compete against each other down the road. I can see myself moving up. I don’t think weight matters nearly as much when it’s just striking than MMA with wrestling and ground work and stuff. It would be fun, I’m looking for fun fights that will pay well and I think that’s an option too.
You obviously fought in early December but what’s a likely timetable for your return in 2018 for either sport?
I’d like to fight by February. In February of early March at the latest, we’re looking around right now. I’ve talked with GLORY and if they don’t have something for me I’ll take an MMA fight but if they do I’d like to make them a priority. I like kickboxing, I had a lot of fun so I’d like to do it again but I want to stay active. I don’t want to take too much time off.
I wanted to get your thoughts on a guy doing what you’re doing but in reverse, that being Gohkan Saki. What do you think about Saki so far after one fight in the UFC?
I was pumped up about it. I’ve been a fan of Gohkan for a long time, since the K-1 days. When I heard that he wanted to do MMA I’d hoped they give him strikers because everyone wants to see knockouts and see those wars. I’d hate for them to give him wrestlers right off the bat. They would go in and take him right down so it will be interesting to see what he does when he gets to the higher end of the division with wrestlers.
Since you’re fight a few weeks ago, are there any names that you have mentioned to GLORY that you would like to fight next?
Alex Pereira he’s got the belt and that’s my goal to be champion. He’s beaten a lot of the top guys already so if they want to throw that in then I’m down. I have had a career of fighting anybody and still do in it kickboxing. So I told them to give me a name and keep me busy.