UFC FN 90: John Makdessi Discusses Decision to Leave Tristar, “Become Independent”
By Kelsey Mowatt
When John Makdessi throws down with Mehdi Baghdad at UFC Fight Night 90, he will do so, without having trained at Tristar, his home gym for eight years.
Following consecutive losses to Donald Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros, Makdessi decided it was time to make a change. During a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, the 31 year-old outlined why he decided to leave the camp prior to his 12th, UFC fight.
“Tristar has been good to me. Nothing negative to say about Tristar, only positive,” Makdessi said. “Firas (Zahabi), I respect him, he built an empire, he built a great brand. Now I found that it’s time for me to kind of move on. I needed some changes, I needed to be with guys who can put effort into me, and kind of focus on me.”
“I know my body best, I know what I need, and I know my weaknesses,” added Makdessi, who has gone 6-5 in the UFC to date. “I know my strengths, so it was time for me to become independent. I always had a vision. I always wanted to become my own brand, open my own gym, and have my own trainers and coaches and my own team.”
The talented striker isn’t at Tristar any longer, but Makdessi continues to reside and train out of Montreal, one of Canada’s greatest resources for combat sports.
“My Muay Thai trainer, head coach is Alan Yu; he has a gym called Thai Long in Montreal. I’m working with a new wrestling coach, working with a new ground guy, just finding guys that can kind of focus on me, versus me kind of being in a system, if that makes sense.”
“I’ve been very fortunate in my lifetime to train with some of the best coaches in the world, I’ve trained with some of the best fighters in the world,” Makdessi furthered. “I’ve been competing my whole life in a whole diversity of arts, Taekwondo, Karate, kickboxing, trained Muay Thai, and now I’m a mixed-martial-artist…At the end of the day, nobody is going to take better of John Makdessi than myself. So I have to look out for myself. If I depend too much on other people, sometimes things can get lost you know?”
Prior to his defeats to Cerrone and Medeiros, Makdessi (13-5)stopped Shane Campbell in the opening round last April at UFC 186. Baghdad (11-4), meanwhile, is coming off a submission loss to Chris Wade, after winning seven straight.
UFC FN 90 will take place on July 7th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.