It’s a dream come true. It still doesn’t feel real.
Interview by: AJ Hoffman
Legacy welterweight champion Mike Bronzoulis signed a multi-fight contract with Zuffa, and will make his first appearance under the banner at Strikeforce:Dallas on June 18th. Bronzoulis will take a 12-2-1 record into the fight, and many feel that he has a great shot to be the next Houstonian in the UFC. Mike called me from Albuquerque, NM, where he is training with Greg Jackson, to share the news as soon as the ink dried on the contract.
TCD: When did you first hear that a Zuffa deal was a possibility?
Mike: I heard last week that Zuffa was offering me a contract. I was excited, but there was work to be done. I was supposed to be the main event fighting Josh Neer for the welterweight title. My management had to take care of all the legal stuff with getting me out of that deal. I heard about it a week ago, and literally just signed my contract before I called you.
TCD: Love it! Besides us, who is the first person you called when you found out the news?
Mike: I called my girlfriend, Crystal. Shared the news with her. I am really excited. She is my biggest support team. A lot of my confidence comes from her. She is a huge part of my success right now. She is a really positive person to have around, and it just eases me mentally to know she is there for me.
TCD: Do you know who your opponent is?
Mike: Looks like I will be fighting Todd Moore. Todd has been looking for a fight with me for a while. I am taking it personally now. I am gonna make a statement with Todd Moore. I am gonna retire him. I am going to beat him up so bad he will never want to fight again. People thought I was pissed off against Jonathon Harris. They haven’t seen anything.
TCD: What do you think finally gave you the break? Do you think there was a particular moment that pushed you through?
Mike: It was a culmination of things. It was me taking fights on one week notice. It was fighting multiple times in a month. It was fighting whoever was put in front of me, fighting top guys. Fighting a 3 round war against that monster on HD Net probably helped. It was a culmination of things.
TCD: What has your experience been like at Jackson MMA?
Mike: The experience is amazing. I am training harder than I ever have, at a high altitude, with guys who are at the top of the game. I am training with (and living with) Donald Cerrone, Leonard Garcia, Melvin Guillard, of course Greg Jackson. I am moving around with everybody. Carlos Condit, Clay Guida. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it will get me ready for Strikeforce. I plan on putting on a show.
TCD: How are you going to handle the fight camp?
Mike: I still live in Houston. When I’m in Houston I am going to train at my normal gyms, but when I have a fight I am going to come back out here a month to 6 weeks before my fight. I really think these guys will do a great job of getting me prepared.
TCD: What would it mean to you to be the guy who breaks through and gives the Houston scene some national attention?
Mike: It would mean a ton to me. We have a lot of guys in this town that haven’t had a chance to get out there yet. I have a lot of teammates that I think are on that list. I am hoping I can get out and make a statement. Hopefully it helps the next crop get to that level.
TCD: Has it really hit you yet that you are going to be on the same card as Allistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett?
Mike: It’s a dream come true. It still doesn’t feel real. Once I am there it won’t matter, though. It is real. It’s a reality now. It’s go time.
TCD: Anyone you want to thank?
Mike: Jesus Didn’t Tap, Clean by Troy Garza, all my teammates from Paradigm, my girlfriend and everyone else in Houston who have supported me and believed in me.