MFC’s Kurt Southern Discusses Camp With Team Alpha Male: “To Become The Champ I’ve Got to be on Another Level”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following Kurt Southern’s submission loss to Tom Gallicchio at the Maximum Fighting Championship’s last event in January, the lightweight is determined to score a different result in their rematch on May 9th. To that end, Southern headed south to Sacramento, California, to train with one of MMA’s most respected and accomplished teams.
“For this camp I decided to come down to Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness and train alongside the guys from Team Alpha Male,” Southern reported on a recent edition of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “This is actually my fourth week down here, and I’m actually flying out tomorrow back to Saskatoon to finish up my camp for the last three weeks before the fight.”
Southern battled Gallicchio for the MFC’s vacant lightweight title on January 17th, and was tapped out by the BJJ black belt with a second round, rear-naked-choke. Since the former welterweight failed to make weight for the bout, however, an immediate rematch was booked for MFC 40.
“After my last fight I decided that I had to make some changes and go outside the box, outside of my comfort zone, to get that next level training,” added Southern, who was tapped for a title shot after scoring consecutive wins over Mukai Maromo and Jonatas Novaes. “You know what I mean? To become the champ I’ve got to be on another level, and I want that MFC belt, so, coming down here is going to pay off. You’ll see a whole new me.”
Southern isn’t the only MFC fighter who has trained with Team Alpha Male, as MFC featherweight champ Graham Spencer has also prepared for bouts with the renowned group.
“They’re one of the hottest teams in the world right now,” Southern noted about the team, which also includes UFC contenders like TJ Dillashaw, Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez, among others. “I think for my style, coming from a wrestling background, they’ve got a lot of guys that are from wrestling backgrounds and they were able to develop their striking and jiu-jitsu game.”
“I think that was a big thing,” furthered Southern. “To be with some of the best guys in the world for training, to see what they’re doing, trying to keep up with them. But I also had Graham Spencer say a lot of good things to say, and Owen Carr, who is a guy that I’ve trained with in the past, and he’s the main reason I came down here, because I know him, and I did talk to him personally about it. He was the one who kind of hooked me up with a place to stay down here.”
And how did Southern find his first couple of days training with the team? Which not only includes accomplished UFC veterans, but rising prospects as well?
“Well it is a bit humbling,” admitted Southern (13-5). “These guys are on an extremely high level, and the big thing was the knowledge that’s in the place. Every guy that’s in the room is going to be good. Do you know what I mean? Not just the big time guys that are in the UFC that you know about, but some of the amateur guys and even some of the guys that have one or two pro fights that have been training here for a couple of years…”
It will be interesting to see how the May 9th, Gallicchio-Southern bout unfolds, and whether the latter returns to Sacramento for future camps.
“We’ll see how things go; I would love to,” said Southern, when asked if plans on spending more time with Team Alpha Male in the coming months. “It would be awesome to come down here for four weeks before every fight, and finish off my camp with my home team; I’ll always be a member of Team Alliance Martial Arts. Those guys are what got me here.”
MFC 40 will be hosted by Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre and the main card will be broadcast on AXS TV.