John Makdessi has fought in the UFC twice now; at UFC 124 and UFC 129. He came up with victories in both. His name may not be well know yet, but the Montreal, Quebec native has nothing but championship dreams. On December 10 at UFC 140, Makdessi will look to further his dreams with a win over UFC veteran Dennis Hallman. Jeremy Brand of MMASucka.com was lucky enough to catch up with John after a tough training session this past week. Check it out.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): This is obviously your toughest fight coming up on December 10 at UFC 140 against Dennis Hallman who has 50 career wins. Up until this point who has been your toughest opponent, including your kick boxing matches.
John Makdessi: For me as a person, as a individual I believe that the toughest match, you know well every fight for me has always been tough somehow or another. Every fight is obviously a different degree its more meaning into it I mean, at the end of the day I believe at moments before I reassign my opponent I struggle with myself every day, with day-to-day basis with training. I’m always trying to improve, it’s very complicated people don’t understand it’s not like fight nights you go there and you fight, every day we train hard. We have to train hard every day so were able to compete in the high level to perform and entertain the crowd. It’s a lot of pressure for an athlete. I’m the type of person where I’m always trying to perfect my techniques. I’m always trying to become a better fighter. I’m always studying myself. There’s a lot of great fighters and great competitions out there, especially where I train back home at Tri-Star gym so it’s hard for me to tell because every fighter has always been a hard fight or tough fight. For me, I never found any fight was easy it doesn’t matter if he has one fight or eighty fights, a fight is a fight.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): Of course, you have got to think with a win over a guy like Hallman; you not only beat a veteran figher like him, but you will be 10-0 which must skyrocket your ranking in the division. What do u feel like next, do you feel like you’re ready to make a step up and face a top lightweight like Gray Maynard, Donald Cerrone, or someone like that?
Makdessi: I’m in the sport; I’m in the UFC. I have been fighting for a long time regardless of my experience in MMA. Fighting is fighting and I get to prove myself. I have faith in my management, in my coach and my team that they know what they’re doing. Of course I’m going to have faith in them in my career. My ultimate dream is to become world champion so if I have to fight whoever I have to fight, that’s the only way I’ll be able to prove myself and to be able to earn and have that accomplishment in my life and my legacy.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): It’s obviously not in your hands but if you do win this fight and you get past Hallman, how many fights away do you see yourself away from title shot?
Makdessi – Right now to be honest, I don’t really know. It’s a very deep division, there are a lot of great fighters that people under estimate. I don’t know why. People like Dennis Hallman; he fought over 50 fights 50 wins this guy fought at 170. I’m not sure if he fought at 185. He fought a lot of good fighters with a lot of experience. I can easily fight again 12 fights, 15 fights but it doesn’t matter in the end, it’s who you fight. It’s a great fight for me because it’s the ultimate test for me to challenge my skills. I know for a fact that he’s going to put me to the ultimate test. He’s got a lot of experience and he’s challenging me to fight so I can’t wait to fight. To be victorious is my ultimate goal, but win or lose, my goal is to always go there and fight and to entertain the crowd and be an exciting fighter.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): You have great take down defense and great stand up. Hallman is known for his wrestling and submitting people; he beat Matt Hughes twice. How do you see yourself winning this fight?
Makdessi: I have been training and at my training camp, most of the fighters are wrestlers and grapplers and come from a striking background. Even strikers want to take me down and at the end of the day; I have been working hard at my wrestling, my grappling. I have been doing a lot of wrestling and grappling to catch up to a lot of great guys. I’m not worried. I can’t worry about things I can’t control. I can only worry about what I can control and I’ve been training very hard for this fight. I’m up and down and of course train is training, it’s never easy. The whole point is to learn. If you never fail, you don’t know how to get back up. It’s very important to me to know how it feels to get choked, to get taken down because; it’s the only way to improve. I have a great wrestling coach and team. I’ve wrestled with the wrestling team, I’ve grappled with grapplers, and I’ve boxed with boxers to become a mixed martial artist. I’m not too worried what he can offer, just worry about myself. I’ve only been doing MMA for a few years. He’s a veteran. He’s been doing it for a long time so it’s going to be the ultimate challenge for me.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): You were originally supposed to fight Paul Taylor at UFC on Versus 5. What was the injury and how serious was it?
Makdessi: Knee injury. It was very, very serious, no surgery. It wasn’t like a sprain or anything; it was more serious than that. It was ligaments. I recovered, did a lot of rehab. I never go into a fight 100 percent. It’s impossible. If a fighter tells you he’s fighting at 100 percent, he didn’t train hard enough. It’s almost impossible to go into a fight 100 percent. My last fight with Kyle Watson my left knee was hurting a lot. I sprained my leg so I couldn’t kick hard with it, there’s always something. I broke my hand, my nose, there’s always something with your body and that’s why it’s all about the mind.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): Moving away from training what do you like to do in your spare time?
Makdessi: Well I mean training takes a lot of energy from me especially closer to a fight. I also love to watch history, I like the discovery channel. I like to stay home with my family. I have two brothers and one sister. I’m very close to my family. If I have time to do something I do it. I’ve played many other sports. I’ve played soccer, I played ice hockey. I’ve been active my whole life. I love sports; I’m a big fan of boxing, hockey, and football.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): So Obviously you are a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.
Makdessi: Yeah, I believe in Montreal I do support the team of course they’re my home town, but I don’t really have a favorite to be honest with you. I support the Montreal Canadiens.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): Your nickname is the “bull”, how did that stick with you and who gave it to you?
Makdessi: In my kickboxing career the rounds were three minutes not five, so I had less time. I would rush and I would always go forward. I was the type of fighter that was always aggressive. The funny thing is my sister; she came to one of my kickboxing amateur fights. I won the Canadian title and she had a poster and called me the bull. I’m a Taurus, I was born in May so I guess it all went together so it stayed and I stuck to it.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): A few of our local guys from Vancouver made the move out to Montreal to train at Tri-Star. Kajan Johnson and Gary Mangat, have you had the chance to train with these guys?
Makdessi: Yeah, Kajan Johnson I see him at Tri-Star they are both great guys. We are always training together. It’s a big gym, a lot of fighters. We all train together somehow or another but I didn’t personally have the time to train with him. They put us with six fighters close to a fight for preparation. Kajan Johnson is more of a striker so I have been having a lot of good sparring partners, more grapplers and wrestlers, preparing myself for Hallman.
Jeremy Brand (MMASucka.com): Is there anybody you would like to thank at this time?
Makdessi: I want to thank my manager Mitch Mayberger for putting this interview together for us. The Tri-Star gym, all my sponsors, HeadRush and Weider. You can also look up my website I got a new website up, JohnTheBull.com I would love to have feedback from the fans, I would appreciate it. I also have my fan page on Facebook. If it wasn’t for the fans, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do.