John Makdessi Responds to Running Away Comment From Sam Stout: “It’s Called Footwork and Moving”
Lightweight Conquered “All My Fears” at UFC 154
By FCF Staff
There was a lot riding on the outcome of John Makdessi’s UFC 154 bout with Sam Stout, as not only was he looking to avoid a third consecutive loss and likely a dismissal slip, but the Tristar lightweight was determined to prove something to himself. After winning his first two UFC bouts, Makdessi had dropped back-to-back fights to Dennis Hallman and Anthony Njokuanai, and the 27 year-old fighter was adamant he hadn’t been performing at the level he was capable of.
In the end, Makdessi managed to outscore his well established opponent on November 17th, and emerged with the unanimous decision win and his third Octagon victory.
“It means the world to me. I’m just very happy to conquer all my fears and all my demons,” Makdessi told Full Contact Fighter Radio recently. “To go out there, and more or less, execute what I wanted to do. When I spoke to you before, earlier to you, martial arts for me has always been a struggle because it’s about finding yourself. That’s what it comes down to.”
“I’m just very happy because Sam Stout is a dangerous fighter and he has a lot of experience,” Makdessi added. “I’m just very happy to go out there, fight my fight, and I have a great team behind me.”
Heading into UFC 154, Stout had relayed to FCF that he believed he would have a significant advantage over Makdessi if he was able to take the Montreal fighter to the mat. Makdessi, who was promptly submitted by Hallman in December, 2011, however, argued that his wrestling and grappling abilities were far better than what he had shown in the Octagon to date.
While the vast majority of their UFC 154 tilt featured striking exchanges, when Stout did attempt to take Makdessi to the mat, the wrestling abilities the Tristar fighter has cited in the past came to life.
“I wrestle with the wrestling team in Montreal, and at the end of the day, I train hours endlessly in the week, in boxing, wrestling, grappling, and kickboxing, and I try my hardest to evolve as a fighter,” Makdessi (10-2) said. “Of course in a fight you see my stand-up…just because I don’t take a guy down doesn’t mean I don’t train in all those aspects.”
“Just because, I know everyone looks at that fight, they think I’m weak in those aspects,” “The Bull” furthered. “In the interview I said my biggest issue was believing in my skills, and having confidence…I truly believed this time around that I had a great team behind me and a lot of support.”
While his wrestling abilities played a role in recording the win, another deciding factor in the fight was Makdessi’s head movement and a stiff left jab, which landed regularly throughout the bout.
“I work with a lot of good guys and Firas (Zahabi) is always the guy on top, who’s making sure that we go over strategies and tactics,” said Makdessi when asked if utilizing his jab was a key element in his game plan. “Some people have a crazy right hand, some people have a crazy kick, or whatever it is, but for me my jab is my right hand. The jab I believe, in my opinion, is not more lethal than a right hand or a power kick, but a jab can easily knockout someone and I’ve developed my jab so much over the years.”
In keeping with the aggressive style that has made him a fan favorite, Stout constantly moved forward during the bout, while Makdessi largely looked to slip punches and counter. Although Stout reportedly credited Makdessi for the timing of his jab, he also relayed to MMA Mania that he was disappointed in his opponent’s approach and how the fight had gone.
“I heard in some interviews Sam Stout said I was running away,” Makdessi noted. “At the end of the day, that’s not really running away, it’s called footwork and moving. Running, there’s a difference; the comparison of when a fighter’s running away and when a fighter is using his skills. I trained very hard for this fight to really work on movement, countering, timing, footwork and head movement. If I was running away I wouldn’t have been able to hit him.”