John Makdessi on Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone fight: I truly believe in my skills
John Makdessi had to wait over a year to get back in the Octagon after a loss in Feb. 2014. When he finally did, it was at home in Montreal, a few weeks ago at UFC 186.
Even then, Makdessi had the added stress of being named in a lawsuit the week of the fight. To say that the lightweight had a lot of pent up emotions heading into his fight against Shane Campbell would be an understatement.
That’s why when "The Bull" scored a TKO win with just seconds left in the first round, he appeared to be overcome with joy and relief. "It has been a long road," he tells FOX Sports.
"There were a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of emotion built up. I was just very happy and am happy with the team I have. There are so many outside distractions that I just focus on myself, and my inner circle, instead. I work very hard and my team puts so much into me."
Makdessi didn’t allow himself much time to rest and come down from that high, however, as he went after a fight against top lightweight contender Donald Cerrone when Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of the fight with "Cowboy" because of injury. "I actually made the move to get that fight," he reveals.
"I was resting my body for about four days but then I started seeing some Twitter stuff. I had no idea if it was real, I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on but I spoke to Hector Castro, my manager, and then he called the UFC. The next thing you know, they offered me the fight with Cerrone."
Though he wanted the fight, Makdessi says that, initially, he didn’t believe it would happen. Ultimately, he knew he’d be a fool to refuse the opportunity to leapfrog the entire division and fight for the possible chance to be next in line for a title shot.
"The funny thing is that I didn’t take it serious, at first," he admits.
"In my eyes, I’d just finished a fight. I was relaxing. Then, they called me back. That’s when it got serious. It’s a good opportunity. It is my dream to be the world champion and he is one of the top competitors in the division. I’d have to be an idiot to not take the fight."
The task of cutting his rest short and preparing for the lightweight division’s hottest fighter in Cerrone on short notice doesn’t seem to daunt the TriStar gym member, Makdessi, much. That type of confidence comes from somebody who stays ready, so he doesn’t have to get ready.
"Usually, I give myself three or four days to relax, and recover after fights," he says.
"Then, I head straight back to the grind. It doesn’t take me much to get back in shape. One week of training for me is like a full training camp for other guys. I stay ready and I’m in top shape already. I’m always consistent. I don’t really have training camps. I don’t do what every other fighter does – fight, then do nothing, get out of shape and sit around until the next fight. I stay in shape and train all year round."
Makdessi will certainly be the underdog when he fights Cerrone at UFC 187 later this month, given his seven fight win streak. However, the fighter out of Montreal knows he has the stuff of champions, and is eager to prove it to the world.
"I truly believe in my skills," he says.
"I test my skills with some of the best fighters in sparring. I’ve worked with Rory MacDonald, Georges St-Pierre. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know where I have to fight my fight the same way Donald knows where he has to fight his fight. It is going to be an interesting fight. Styles make fights. We’re going to see and find out May 23."