UFC Newcomer Chris Clements Says KO Power Is “Written Right There in Plain”
By Kelsey Mowatt
As MMA continues to grow and many young prospects are capturing headlines as they make their way into the UFC, it may be easy at times to overlook another kind of competitor about to make their Octagon debut, the seasoned veteran. Of course, unlike many other mainstream sports, the opportunity to break through and compete on MMA’s biggest stages, are not just restricted to athletes who have yet to enter their thirties. Take for example welterweight Chris “The Menace” Clements, who after facing the highs and lows that accompany most fighters’ careers, will make his UFC debut next month at the age of 36.
“I had a lot of doubts,” said Clements, when asked if he ever lost hope in his dream to someday compete in the UFC. “I almost retired twice; especially right before I fought John Alessio. Injury after injury had just haunted me. My age was getting up there. When I fought Alessio I actually had surgery booked for the Monday before my fight; for my elbow. I couldn’t really use my left arm. It was one thing after another.”
Looking back, Clements clearly made the right decision to continue fighting, as the International Fight League vet has gone on to win four straight bouts since his March, 2010 loss to Alessio.
“I realized that I already know how to fight so in my training camp I backed off a little from the hard sparring and crazy wrestling, and started working more on my conditioning,” Clements revealed to FCF. “That’s made a huge difference in my career I think. I started winning more after that. I was lot more comfortable because I didn’t have to worry about my cardio. It gave me a little more confidence and calmness.”
In addition, Clements’ current run includes stoppage wins over Octagon veterans Jonathan Goulet and most recently Rich Clementi, which likely played a pivotal role in securing a UFC roster spot.
“I think the Rich Clementi fight had everything to do with it,” said Clements, who will fight Keith Wisniewski at UFC 145 on April 21st. “If you look at his record and see that he only has like three TKO losses in over 60 fights, that says a lot about me right there. That’s what got me in the door.”
“I was almost in disbelief,” Clements added. “My whole goal was to make it in the UFC; I just wanted to have one fight in the UFC. It doesn’t matter what you’ve accomplished, if you go to someone and say ‘I’m a MMA fighter’, they then say ‘oh you fight in the UFC?’ If you have to say no, I just don’t think you feel complete as a fighter until you get there.”
In Wisniewski (28-13), Clements (10-4) will face another well travelled vet, who had won six straight fights prior to the TKO loss he incurred versus Josh Neer at UFC Live 6 in October.
“Looking at Keith he’s got a lot of the same things as Rich,” Clements said about his next opponent. “He has a huge record; he’s barely ever been finished and has a lot of submissions. I think Rich is probably better that Keith in terms of being a jiu-jitsu guy, but I would imagine that Keith is going to be a lot longer, so I definitely will have to watch out for chokes.”
“I imagine that Keith’s going to try to lay down on me,” added the Team Tompkins fighter, who has secured all ten of his pro wins via knockout or TKO. “Any fighter that faces me, other than a select few high level strikers in the UFC, I’m always going to be prepared for them to try to take me down. If you look at my record it’s written right there in plain. Every single fight that I’ve won I’ve knocked the guy out.”