Chris Camozzi should be a household name by now, but a run of bad luck during the Ultimate Fighter Season kept him from receiving the attention that he deserves. Camozzi, who defeated Victor O’Donnell via decision to get into the house, soon found out that he would not be a part of the show.
Camozzi suffered a fractured jaw during the fight and was not cleared by the medical staff to continue on the show. This setback did not slow Camozzi down one bit. After he was told that he was being replaced and he had to leave the house, Camozzi did not quit, he did not give up. Camozzi went back home to Denver, CO, waited for his jaw to heal and he began training as hard as ever.
Camozzi, who spends most his training at Factory X and Gumm Mixed Martial Arts, would get a second chance to display his skills at the Finale of the Ultimate Fighter Season 11. Camozzi faced James Hammortree in the unaired preliminary fights and scored a unanimous decision victory. Again during this fight Camozzi had to show his heart as he was dealing with a separated shoulder that caused him problems during the fight. This injury though would not slow Camozzi down as he battled to earn the victory.
Recently at the first ever Mile High fan expo in Denver, CO, Camozzi sat down with the MMA Valor and discussed his thoughts about the Ultimate Fighter show, MMA and what his future holds.
What started you in Mixed Martial Arts?
Camozzi: After high school I played rugby at Ft. Lewis College in Durango. During this time realized that college was not for me so I came home. After that I was bored and I had wrestled a lot before and I wanted something to occupy my time so I went to a local gym and started working Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muai Thai and I was immediately hooked. After about nine months of training with Gumm Mixed Martial Arts, Brad asked me if I wanted to fight and the rest is history.
How did you feel when Dana White told you he was sending you home from the Ultimate Fighter?
Camozzi: I was crushed. They did not tell me that they were going to send me home. They wanted to get my reaction live so I did not know what was going on. I knew my jaw was fractured but the doctor told me that I should be fine. At that time I did not realize that the doctor did not okay me to fight so I found out that I was going home at the same time as everyone else.
Do you feel having to leave the Ultimate Fighter has slowed your career?
Camozzi: I wouldn’t say that it was slowed down. The UFC gave me another chance and that is all that I can ask for. It is now up to me to do something with that chance and keep going further.
If you could fight any fighter in any weight class who would it be?
Camozzi: You know, I do not like to call out any fighters. There are many fights that I would like to have, that would be fun I think, but right now it is all about taking the fights that the UFC gives me.
Who were your idols growing up and how did they influence you?
Camozzi: Well for me being on the show was great because Chuck and Tito were they guys that I watched growing up. Ya know I watched UFC 1 when I was young but Chuck and Tito were the guys that I really admired.
What are your feelings right before a fight? What do you do to pass the time?
Camozzi: I really do not even think about the fight until I get in the cage for the most part. I like to joke around with my team and have a good time and have fun until I have to be down there. I will warm up and do the same thing that I am used to doing. I train for everything so by the time I get in there I am ready for whatever comes.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not fighting?
Camozzi: When I am not fighting I like to hang out with my family and my girlfriend. I like to just kind of take it easy, go out, go to pools and go to beaches. I like to travel, anywhere with sand is good.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to?
Camozzi: So far my favorite place is Hawaii. It is unbelievable there. I went there last year and loved it.
What do you want to be remembered for when you’re fighting career is over?
Camozzi: I want to be remembered as a great athlete, some body that is respectable to look up to, a good role model in general. I want it to be known that I went in there and gave it my all; I had exciting fights, went after it and gave everything I had.
So what is next for Chris Camozzi?
Camozzi: I have to be ready. I am trying to grow as a fighter every day. I am trying to take on new challenges so that I can be ready for when the UFC calls and fight whoever they want.
For those that do not know the name Chris Camozzi you better get used to it. As a fighter he has shown extreme talent, heart and a tolerance for pain. It is rumored that he will be fighting on the UFC 121 card in October and if that is the case, fight fans will be in for a treat.