Mike “The Greek” Bronzoulis Primed For Strikeforce Debut, Has No Love For His Opponent, Todd Moore
By Gerald Hanks; photo by Mike Calimbas
For many mixed martial artists, fighting is simply a job – a way of earning a living, taking care of family and oneself. For 32-year-old Mike “The Greek” Bronzoulis, though, fighting is more than just a career. It’s a core part of his person – a way of life and something he might not be able to live without.
A rising welterweight star in the Lone Star State, the 5-foot-10 Bronzoulis enters his first fight under his new Strikeforce contract in Dallas on Saturday, June 18. He carries his 12-2-1 record into the American Airlines Center against WEC and Dream veteran Todd Moore (13-4).
Bronzoulis, with the help of his father, started early in the fight game. “I got started fighting when I was about eight years old. When I was about fourteen, I started kickboxing. At sixteen, I moved to the Fairtex Thai Boxing School.”
A year later, he began his training with legendary coach Saul Soliz, who has trained former champions Ricco Rodriguez and Tito Ortiz. The relationship would last for more than a dozen years, until Bronzoulis moved to the Paradigm Training Center to train under former WEC standout Carlo Prater.
Leading up to his Strikeforce debut, Bronzoulis has been training at the Greg Jackson camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, alongside another former WEC star Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
“Greg Jackson is one of the best (trainers) in the world,” Bronzoulis said. “Every day, I’m around these elite fighters and spar with guys who are in big shows and have had big fights. It gives me a real measuring stick”
Bronzoulis, now living in Houston, missed out on a chance to debut on the Strikeforce card there last August due to a knee strike he took to the head against Anselmo Martinez at a Shark Fights event less than two months earlier. The blow resulted in Bronzoulis getting the DQ win. On the missed opportunity that resulted, though, Bronzoulis said, “I used it as my fire. I kept training and I kept taking fights. I knew eventually that, if I didn’t quit, that I would make it.”
While some other up-and-coming fighters would be content with signing a four-fight contract with a major company, Bronzoulis is not one to rest on his laurels. “It was a major task just getting here. Now that I’m here, I don’t want them (Zuffa) to think that they made the wrong decision. I’m here to stay. I’m going to give the fans and Zuffa quite a spectacle of excitement.”
When the conversation turned to his opponent, Bronzoulis bypassed the clichés of mutual respect and expressed an honest and sincere dislike for Moore. “I really don’t like Todd Moore. The guy’s been following me around to every show. He’s backstage asking me, ‘When’s your next fight?’ and ‘What company are you fighting for?’ He’s like a stalker.”
As much as Moore may have wanted to satisfy his curiosity about Bronzoulis’ career path, he may get his wish on June 18th. “In my eyes, (Moore’s) been looking for a fight from me,” Bronzoulis said. “I feel really bad for him, because now I’m gonna hurt him. I’m gonna punish this guy.”
Bronzoulis also knows that the road to the top won’t end after the Moore fight. “I see myself becoming champion of the world one day. Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed about holding that belt.”
Although Bronzoulis is under contract with Strikeforce, he said he would gladly hop over to the UFC to take on the organization’s reigning welterweight champion.
“I could knock out Georges St-Pierre,” Bronzoulis stated in an interview with College Gentleman Magazine a year ago. Today, with an additional year of training and his experience in the Jackson camp, he believes a win over “GSP” is more in his grasp than ever.