Graham Spencer on MFC Lightweight Title Run of Mukai Maromo: “I’ve Got Other Plans In Mind”
By Kelsey Mowatt
If you had told Graham Spencer last fall that he would be heading to the lightweight division for his next fight, after scoring a unanimous decision win over UFC vet and featherweight Shane Nelson in October, he likely wouldn’t have believed you. In recent years, afterall, the Nanaimo fighter has been working his way up the Canadian featherweight ranks, which prompted his signing with the Maximum Fighting Championship last year.
As many expected would be the case, Spencer has indeed been tapped for another pivotal fight following the victory, however, it will be for the MFC lightweight title rather than the featherweight belt.
“Recently I’ve started doing this full time, so fighting is how I make my living, and there wasn’t a featherweight fight available for me in February and I was going to have to wait,” Spencer said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing what led to his upcoming, February 15th bout with lightweight contender Mukai Maromo. “But they gave me the opportunity to fight Mukai and get to headline the show.”
The fight, which will be for the promotion’s vacant 155 pound championship, will take place at Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Center.
“It’s for a belt, so I decided to take it,” Spencer (9-1) furthered. “I need the pay day and it will be great to be in the main event of a MFC card, live on AXS TV. I’m excited.”
According to Spencer, even if he lays claim to the MFC belt next month, the Impact MMA fighter doesn’t plan on sticking around in the lightweight division.
“No, this is just going to be a one time only thing at lightweight,” said Spencer. “I’m not even a really big featherweight. I made featherweight for my last fight and I didn’t even have to go into the sauna or anything. So this is just a one time deal.”
While Spencer is relatively new to the MFC, Maromo has been establishing himself as one of the organization’s top commodities since 2011 and has won four straight fights. A title fight between Maromo and Spencer is a marketable one not only because of each man’s recent success, but because the two fought once before in 2010. While competing for the Awada Combat Club organization in December of that year, Spencer worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Maromo.
“To be honest, I think they think Mukai is going to beat me,” Spencer said. “I’ve got a win over him and they just brought in Kurt Southern who’s got a win over him. So I think they’re expecting him to beat me and then fight Southern to be able to redeem his other loss, but I’ve got other plans in mind.”
While Maromo is still best known for his fight stopping, striking skills, the experienced Muay Thai competitor has worked hard to develop other areas of his game since he met Spencer over two years ago.
“I think it will be a different fight,” said Spencer. “That was pretty early in his career and I don’t know how much he had worked on ground work and stuff like that. So, it’s always good being in there with someone, you get to gauge their strength…he’s gotten quite a bit bigger since the last time we fought, and he’s quite a bit bigger than me.”
“I think he’ll be strong, especially in the early rounds,” Spencer added about Maromo, who is coming off a highlight reel, knockout victory–via a knee–over veteran Adam Lynn in August. “But I think I’ll be able to wear him down quite a bit if I just push the pace and stay safe.”
Of course, Spencer has also continued to evolve as a fighter in recent years, thanks in part to training stints with the renowned Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California.
“Oh yeah; it’s not even close. I’m so much better,” said Spencer, while discussing improvements he’s made to his overall game. “I’m a totally different fighter from when we fought. I still like to fight the same style, grappling is my base, but if I have to stand-up I can, and I have a lot more tools for finishing fights now.”
“Training at Alpha Male, those guys fight with an aggressive mindset, and they’re always trying to finish fights and that’s what I’m looking to do.”