Costas Philippou has no regrets leaving Weidman’s camp: ‘I feel like I belong’

We'll find out Wednesday if changing camps made the difference for Philippou.  

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Costas Philippou needed a change, and he doesn’t regret a thing.

Before his last fight, the UFC middleweight changed gyms from Serra-Longo to Bellmore Kickboxing Academy, both in Long Island, N.Y. There were rumors that Philippou left Serra’s because Chris Weidman, the division champion, trains there and it would be a conflict. Philippou denies this. He said he went to Bellmore for "personal reasons."

"I feel like I belong somewhere," he told FOX Sports. "It motivates me to train harder, to work harder."

Philippou said he has no issues with Weidman or trainers Matt Serra and Ray Longo. One of the reasons he left was because he moved from Queens to Massapequa Park in Long Island. Besides, the powerful boxer said, he basically has the same training partners. There was a lot of crossover between Bellmore and Serra-Longo, and his main sparring parent – UFC light heavyweight Gian Villante – is the same.

I feel like I belong somewhere. It motivates me to train harder, to work harder.

- Costas Philippou

"I made some changes in my life," Philippou said. "I’m in a better place. Even if I don’t win another fight, I’m happy with the decisions I made in my life."

The 34-year-old from Cyprus meets Luke Rockhold at UFC Fight Night on Wednesday (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1) in Duluth, Ga. He’s headlining a card and preparing for a five-round fight for the first time in the UFC. And his training has differed because of it.

"Sparring used to be fun before this fight," Philippou said with a laugh. "Not anymore."

Bellmore is an up-and-coming gym that boasts fellow UFC talents like Villante, Ryan LaFlare and Dennis Bermudez. All three are coming off wins, and Philippou, who fell to Francis Carmont in his last fight, hopes to continue the trend. He’s confident that if things stay standing – which they did not against Carmont – he can get his hand raised.

"There’s no secret what I’m trying to do," Philippou said. "I feel that my striking is my strong part. I think I can connect with Rockhold and finish him."

I feel that my striking is my strong part. I think I can connect with Rockhold and finish him.

- Costas Philippou

Philippou is ranked No. 10 among UFC middleweights and Rockhold is No. 5. A win could put the heavy-handed Cypriot in the top five and not too far away from a title shot. However, that would mean a bout with Weidman, his former training partner, something he isn’t too keen on despite the change in gyms. Philippou doesn’t even like discussing what if.

"I’m not even close to fighting for the title," he said. "Whatever. What if I was Superman? That’s assuming a lot of things are going to happen."

One of those things could happen Wednesday night in Georgia.