UFC 165’s John Makdessi: “I Truly Believe That I’m One of The Best Fighters Out There”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Thanks to his unanimous decision wins over noted strikers Daron Cruickshank and Sam Stout, John Makdessi has put some memorable distance between himself and the defeats he suffered versus Dennis Hallman and Anthony Njokuani. Although Makdessi lost an opportunity to fight the highly touted Edson Barboza at UFC 162 due to injury, he isn’t distracted by the fact he’ll fight a less experienced Octagon competitor in Renee Forte at UFC 165.
“Ever since I got into MMA a couple of years ago it’s very different than other traditional sports like boxing, kickboxing, the progression I mean,” Makdessi said while speaking on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently. “Even before I got into the UFC I was fighting guys who had more experience than me…at the beginning the progression was very steady and in my sixth or seventh fight I fought a guy Bendy Casimir who had like 60 fights. Then I fought a guy who had 10 fights and then a guy who had 20 fights.”
“I don’t really focus on the record or who they fought, or when they fought” added Makdessi. “For me each fight is like my first fight. So I’m going to go out there and prove to myself. I truly believe that I’m one of the best fighters out there in the world. I’m also very exciting; my goal is to be an exciting fighter and to showcase, entertain the crowd.”
After losing by submission to Sergio Moraes in his Octagon debut last October, Forte rebounded at a UFC on FUEL event in February, and earned a UD victory over Terry Etim. While Forte has trained extensively in Karate, the lightweight is a BJJ Black Belt and decorated grappler. Due to Makdessi’s renowned striking skills, it will be interesting to see whether Forte is willing to engage the Tristar fighter on his feet for an extended period of time.
“Everybody just looks at me as a specialist because of my striking but the thing is I work my ground consistently and I’m always improving on the ground,” the lightweight said while discussing whether he believes the Team Nogueira fighter will try to take the bout down. “I work with high level grapplers, but at the end of the day for me, if the fight has to get to the ground I’ll be ready for it…it’s not something that I’m avoiding.”
“I work really hard in each discipline; my boxing, my kickboxing, my grappling, my wrestling,” Makdessi furthered. “I’m just trying to improve every day. I focus more on myself. I can’t really control what he’s going to do. I’m going to go out there, fight my fight and we’ll see which guy wants it more.”
UFC 165 is an important night for the entire Tristar Gym, as in addition to Makdessi, teammates Mike Ricci, Ivan Menjivar and Francis Carmont are all scheduled to compete.
“Yeah, of course. Tristar is always a busy gym and a lot of fighters come in and out,” said Makdessi, when asked if it’s nice to have several training partners also set to fight on September 21st. “Everybody is doing their thing and it keeps you in a lot of high competition…It makes sense to put Canadian fighters on the card and also build up the fanbase in Canada.”
UFC 165 will be hosted by Toronto’s Air Canada Center and will feature light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones taking on Alexander Gustafsson in the main event.