Mark Bocek is now the unofficial number one lightweight in Canada. Last week’s UFC 145 showdown with John Alessio was hyped in the Great White North as the showdown of the top two Canadian 155’ers in all of mixed martial arts and the two put on a scintillating display, with Bocek’s superior grappling being the difference maker. Being propelled ever higher in the UFC’s deepest division, Bocek recently joined MMASucka to discuss the Alessio fight and where he goes from here.
While Bocek was dominant in his UFC 145 outing, he is quick to show respect to his fellow Canuck and lightweight warrior Alessio, saying that Alessio’s record “speaks for itself” and crediting Alessio’s wealth of experience in guiding him through the fight. When asked to break down the fight, Bocek is philosophical:
I expected him to take his strength to my weaknesses and I tried to do the same, vice-versa. I expected him to keep the fight standing and work angles, kind of in and out trying to pop me in the mood my objective was to cut their cage off and try and turn it around into more of a wrestling match. In previous fights it seemed to be one of his weaknesses. Round one went exactly as planned, I wish round two and three had been a little more like round one but his experience showed.
The win was Bocek’s second straight after dropping a decision loss to current champion Benson Henderson at the inaugural Toronto UFC show. With his record and skill set, Bocek sees himself as “definitely inside the top 10” and holds out hopes that Henderson defeats Edgar again, setting up a rematch for the title somewhere down the line.
I think it’s going to be worse for Frankie the second time around I think this is going to be the fight that moves him to 145. [Facing Benson again], I’ll be coming in better shape with a better game plan. I don’t want to reveal too many secrets. If we face him again I would be a better version of myself, I will be in better shape, I would use a little bit of a different strategy. That being said, he is a handful for anybody and he’s a very big lightweight in contrast to the other lightweights. He doesn’t gas, that’s why he’s an interesting fight for anybody.That’s why I predicted he would beat Edgar but he’s beatable.
With UFC 145 in his rear-view mirror, the talk turns to the future. With UFC hyping three cards in Canada this year, it’s logical that Bocek would find himself on one of them. When asked to pick one, the Woodbridge, ON (a suburb of Toronto) native quickly speaks up for his hometown and provincial capital.
I’m looking at Toronto. I’d like to get on that card, absolutely. My body is a little banged up actually so Calgary is just a little too early for me. Right now I just really need to recover and work on my weak areas and come back strong for Toronto.
When asked to pick out an opponent, the name on Bocek’s mind is decorated Greco-Roman wrestler and outspoken American politico Jacob Volkmann. Volkmann has currently won five straight in the lightweight division, and Bocek envisions an interesting battle between the two grapplers. He stays out of political discourse though, but does joke that he may make a “Bocek for Prime Minister” t-shirt should the fight get made.
I think a very underrated opponent is Jacob Volkmann. If he wins his next fight against Paul Sass, he might be [a good choice]. He’s not a big name like the others but he’s a lot more dangerous than people realize. He could make a lot of competitive fighters look bad. He’s a good Greco guy, he’s physically strong. He doesn’t have the best striking but it’s good enough to get into a Greco situation. They just need to keep the microphone away from him.
Crowding the MMA headlines lately has been the Aistair Overeem fiasco and the resulting discourse on performance enhancing drugs. The all-natural Bocek admits that PED’s are a significant problem in the sport, and supports random testing as a deterrent to those who cheat.
There’s definitely got to be some type of punishment. You can put any twist on it want. I’m no doctor I just think if your doctor’s telling you you need to be on TRT and you need to be on medical marijuana, you shouldn’t be fighting. He wasn’t under license at the time, he’s trying to flee the building over another series of testing, it makes you wonder about everyone else. I would think one year punishment for a guy like Overeem.
I think it’s a problem in every division. I think it’s just kind of become part of the sport. Definitely random testing could change or fix that. As you see with Overeem, he really wasn’t expecting that but it’s a part of any sport really. Any Olympic sport as well.
The unofficial Canadian lightweight champion will now turn his focus to attaining official UFC gold, and to score a victory for committed natural athletes everywhere.