On the Rise: John “The Bull” Makdessi
By Kelsey Mowatt
For people that have followed the already extensive martial arts career of John “The Bull” Makdesssi , they may have been somewhat prepared for the 26 year-old-fighter’s electrifying, spinning back-fist knockout of Kyle Watson at UFC 129. For thousands of other MMA fans catching Makdessi fighting for the first time, however, it’s unlikely the undefeated lightweight could have made a more memorable first impression.
“It’s always nice to get that exposure,” Makdessi told FCF recently while discussing the thrilling third round, knockout that was featured in the April 30th, UFC 129 broadcast. “I’ve been training all my life so to get that type of recognition is a great honor. I love fighting in Canada, my home country, so it was an amazing time.”
The win was the Tristar fighter’s ninth professional MMA victory and second Octagon win, as Makdessi defeated Pat Audinwood by unanimous decision at UFC 124 in December. Although Makdessi also demonstrated several dynamic striking techniques in his UFC debut, none of course grabbed headlines like the fight ending back fist.
“I watched the fight; I always watch my fights so that I can learn from my mistakes,” Makdessi noted about the UFC 129 bout, which ended Watson’s five fight winning streak. “I knew it was going to be a tough fight; he knew my style, he had trained at Tristar and had trained with some of my sparring partners, so I knew I had to be more patient.”
“The first two rounds were give-and-take,” Makdessi added. “He wasn’t giving me too much to engage, so I stayed patient, and in the third round he got desperate, left some openings and I took advantage.”
The “style” Makdessi referred to is one that has been getting developed for years, as although he has only been fighting professionally in MMA since 2008, the Montreal resident has spent much of his life training and competing in the martial arts.
“Since I was young I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do,” Makdessi said. “My brother in particular, he brought me to the gym and I just fell in love with it. I continued to train as much as I could and later on I started to train in other martial arts. It led me to here.”
The decorated kickboxer has gone 9-0 since he transitioned into professional mixed-martial-arts, which included six stoppage wins due to strikes before Makdessi signed with the UFC last year.
“I started training at Tristar after I ended my career in kickboxing,” said Makdessi, who continues to evolve as a fighter under the watchful eye of renowned trainer Firas Zahabi. “Kickboxing was kind of dying out and I didn’t see a career in kickboxing. I knew that my next challenge was changing to MMA and Tri Star had everything that I needed.”
Makdessi concedes that he had a clear understanding of what he was in for when he decided to make the career change.
“I was a big fan of Pride,” Makdessi noted. “I watched Mirko “Cro Cop” transition from K-1, a kickboxing style to mixed-martial-arts. That’s when I started to pay more attention to the sport and that’s when I knew that it was the best sport….There’s no sport out there that can beat this; the challenge to become a mixed-martial-artist.”
Makdessi had been scheduled to fight Paul Taylor at the upcoming August 14th, UFC Live on Versus 5 event, until a torn MCL removed him from the card. While Makdessi’s third Octagon appearance will have to wait, the rising fighter is looking forward to the challenge when it finally arrives.
“I don’t really pay much attention to the rankings,” Makdessi told FCF. “I just want to test myself against the best guys out there and really prove myself; hopefully become world champion.”