After fighting in the UFC twenty times over seven years, Denver, Colorado middleweight Chris Camozzi decided earlier this year that he would make the switch to GLORY Kickboxing in order to pursue his love of the striking arts.
On December 1 he will take the first step in his new career when he debuts at GLORY 48 NEW YORK. Facing him is Kyle Weickhardt of Las Vegas, a student of another UFC veteran, Stephan Bonnar.
“I always wanted to kickbox, it was a goal of mine from when I first started training. But back then GLORY wasn’t around, the pathway to competition was in MMA and that led me to the UFC,” he says.
“I’ve been a fan of GLORY since it first began, I love the fights and I love the production values. All through my MMA career, striking practice was my favorite. Now I get to do that every day, totally focused on it. I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.”
Weickhardt has also competed in MMA, although not as extensively as Camozzi and not to the same level (Bellator being the highest platform he has thus far reached in MMA). Nevertheless, he has apparently been baiting Camozzi and promising to show him up.
“He tried hitting me up on Instagram talking s—t, saying my striking is mediocre and he will show me something, stuff like that,” Camozzi laughs.
“I had no idea he saw himself like that. I thought he was just some random Las Vegas doorman in a cheesy suit. Works at night, trains in the day. Well I’m going to show him the difference between a guy who does this at the elite level and a guy who does this as a hobby.
I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m a professional. I am not some part-timer who works the doors and fits his training in around that. I do this as a career. Like Daniel Cormier says, there’s levels to this game. I have been fighting the best guys in the world, for years, and he’s going to feel all of that.”
Facing the best in the world is something that Camozzi holds dear; he is as keen to do so in his new discipline as he was in the UFC. The only GLORY middleweight he says he would never fight is his team mate Dustin Jacoby.
Ironically, he and Jacoby first met as opponents. They fought in the UFC back in 2011, with Camozzi scoring a third-round submission win. They became friends afterwards and now train together at the Factory X facility in Denver under head coach Marc Montoya.
“GLORY is full of killers. But as I said when I first sat down to do the deal to come over here, I will fight anyone you’ve got. Anyone except Dustin. He’s like a coach to me now, because he walked that same path from the UFC to GLORY and now I’m doing it and drawing on his experiences,” says Camozzi.
“The first time I was ever in Chicago was to fight Dustin and then my second time ever in Chicago was earlier this year, when I cornered him in GLORY. i think that’s pretty cool.
I think I can hit a lot harder now because I don’t need to worry about the takedown, I can sit down on my punches and throw harder, not have to pull my hips back in anticipation of a takedown. Dustin told me he can already feel the difference in sparring.
“I’m having the best sparring rounds ever. I’m seeing more things, hitting more angles, my speed and power have improved. seeing a lot more things, hitting more angles. I can tell my speed and power have improved.
“I am two different fighters in MMA and kickboxing. I can throw with way more power in kickboxing, commit to every strike because there’s no takedown risk. I can just sit in the pocket and let them rip. That’s actually the kind of fight I prefer, just sit in the pocket and bang, and that’s what I am going to do in New York.”
GLORY 48 NEW YORK takes place Friday, December 1 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City.