The Octagon heads to Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday and on the main card will be Canadian John Makdessi taking on Jesus Pinedo.
For Makdessi it has been a long road to get to the Octagon after having to pull out of UFC 231 with an injury.
“It was just like a nightmare, you know. Obviously, the goal is to keep the momentum, and I had to make the hard choice to pull out,” Makdessi said to BJPENN.com. “I wasn’t 100%, physically and mentally so I wasn’t going to take that risk. Especially fighting a jiu-jitsu guy. I have been working on my ground so after that injury so I had to press the reset button and re-focus. Mixed martial arts in the hardest sport in my opinion. Number one it is unpredictable and number two, the UFC doesn’t set you up with easy matchups. There is a lot of variables that are not educated about. All said I am just staying sharp and getting the weight down.”
Now, Makdessi is ready to fight again and have legendary coach Duke Roufus in his corner. Training under Duke Roufus has been huge for Makdessi’s career and he knows he has gotten better since the move to Milwaukee.
“It is very hard for me, I won’t lie. Emotionally and spiritually, like it is not my home. As a human being, it is hard, but as a professional it is good,” he explained. “I am always improving, it is crazy the number of things I am learning. The goal is to keep learning and feeling motivated to go into the gym every day. My goal is to get better every day. I put myself in isolation here and it is not easy to be in isolation and alone. I’m just focused on training and fighting.
“It was a never question of a lack of sparring partners. For me, it was the lack of mentors. Duke Roufus is exactly what I needed. That is the only reason why I am here is because of Duke. Everything is very organized and I need that to be disciplined. That gives you the confidence and preparation to go out and perform.”
For Makdessi, the hope is he gets another win and extends his winning streak to three. Once he does that, with the retirement of Georges St-Pierre, Makdessi is ready to take over as the next big Canadian star in the UFC.
“I was always striving to give the fans excitement. That is why if you pay attention to my career, I take a lot of risks,” Makdessi said. “I keep it standing, I’ll stay in the pocket and exchange. That is why I try to stand out because as a Canadian it would be nice to be more support for Canadians and the Lebanese. I am from a Lebanese heritage. I always try to push Canadian-Lebanese and always try to represent them as two beautiful countries.”
John Makdessi is just ready to fight come Saturday night. The hard work is behind him and it is now fight week. In order to win, Makdessi knows he will have to use his game plan which he is confident about.
“Listen to Duke Roufus and keep doing what I am doing. Just stay composed,” he concluded. “At the end of the day, it is all mental. Fighting is mental. Just execute my game plan.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/20/2019