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08th Aug 2015

British UFC fighter Tom ‘Kong’ Watson on Chris Camozzi fight: “It could be a war”

Ben Kenyon

Every fight in the UFC is tough, says Tom Watson.

But the 33-year-old Southampton native’s next fight has the potential to be his toughest yet.

He faces battler Chris Camozzi who is coming off a string of losses and is fighting for his UFC life.

American Muay Thai specialist has promised a “stand-up war” with former boxer Watson at UFC Fight Night 73 on Saturday.

Former BAMMA world champion Watson, who is coming off the back of a disappointing loss to Rafael Natal, has a point to prove

JOE caught up with the Brit ahead of the clash in Nashville, Tennessee and spoke about switching to the Blackzilians camp, fixing holes in his game and getting back to fighting on instinct…

Tom Kong watson

What do you know about Comozzi? He’s coming off a few losses, does that make him more or less dangerous?

I think he’s a tough guy. But no-one in the UFC is not tough. There are better guys in the UFC with harder specifics. I don’t think he comes from a fantastic background with anything, but he has very good conditioning and he pushes the pace. One thing I do like from his fights is he comes to fight, where a lot of guys in the UFC will land a few takedowns and get a decision in somewhat of a boring fight. I don’t envision him doing that. I think this fight should be very exciting.

Camozzi has said it will be a stand-up war and potential Fight of the Night. Is that how you see it going too with your striking style?

The thing with Camozzi is that failure has gone to his head. We will see on his striking because sometimes I think he throws volume. I think he’s tough but I think he gets away with a lot because of the level of guys he’s fighting with striking. Once he gets hit a few times we will see. I fully picture him going for a takedown pretty much like everyone I’ve fought in my career.

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 18:  Chris Camozzi reacts after tapping out against Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza of Brazil in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Prudential Center on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

What have you been working on in the fight camp?

I’ve been working with the coaches on holes that are in my game. For a long time I would take an opponent, watch his fights and see what he would do. I think a lot of my performances were when I went into a fight with no regard for my opponent and just fought how I wanted to impose my will.

It’s really just working with them on specifics and make sure they’re telling me what I’m doing wrong. I’ve picked up some bad habits over the years I’ve been fighting a long time so I’ve been correcting them. I feel like a new fighter so I’m excited for the fight on Saturday.

What can he expect from you?

It’s just a different version of me. Everyone watches tapes and I hope he’s watched tapes of me. I really have implemented some new things in my style so with my ability and skill set I know that he cannot compete with me.

How do you see the fight going? War or can you do the business quick and ruthless.

It could be. There is the potential that it could be a war but it could be quick. It’s a fight you cannot predict what’s going to happen. But rest assured that Im comfortable with anything that happens – if it is a war, that’s a place I’ve been in many many times.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 31:  Rafael Natal (R) punches at Tom Watson in their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 31, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

In BAMMA you were imperious, but how was the transition to the UFC?

It’s very difficult to come to the UFC nowadays. The level outside it in other organisations is just not the same – you can see it yourself watching other shows.

The problem I had in BAMMA was that it was very difficult to find opponents that prepare you for the UFC. I was asking BAMMA for specific guys like Matt Horwich who had never been finished in the UFC, Ninja was similar –albeit an older guy, but its’ just very difficult to get guys who are in the peak of their career. Outside the UFC you get a lot of guys who are either coming up or they’re almost finished.

Do you think British guys have struggled?

On the British MMA scene most of the fights you’ll see don’t involve too many takedowns. The UFC is very heavily orientated on the wrestling and grappling elements.

So for preparation I don’t think many people face the opponents that you would get in a country like Brazil or America, so that’s the adaption and it takes a long time.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 31:  Rafael Natal (L) celebrates his victory over Tom Watson (R) in their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 31, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Natal won by unanimous decision.  (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

I see you on Twitter and you’re what they call a nice guy. You get on with fans, you don’t trash talk. Would you say you have to be a t**t to get the fights or can you do it being a nice guy?

You can. I don’t think it’s about trash talking, it’s about creating a personality and that’s what McGregor has done. That’s the side of the game that can be becoming more difficult.
That’s another reason why I moved to America as I needed another country to get recognised.

How is life living in the States?

I’ve been all over the States. I like it here. There’s great training here. I was training at Mark Munoz’s gym in California but he announced his retirement and closed the gym. I tried to stay in the area but it was becoming too much driving and too much going to different places. It wasn’t really why I moved there. I spoke to Rashad (Evans) who I knew from Jackson. I went to Florida for a couple of weeks and figured this was the place for me to be. I moved out to train with the guys at Blackzilians and I’ve been here for maybe eight weeks now and I’ve just been making improvements.

Do you think making the move Stateside has moved you on?

Yeah I think you have to. Anyone who says you don’t have to, I disagree with them. Unless you can build your own camp, which is very expensive in the end.
We spoke about McGregor, I look at someone like McGregor, there are a lot of great wrestlers from eastern Europe who do very good Jiu-Jitsu. You need to create the right environment and without a certain amount of money, it’s difficult. Basically for me, coming to America was a cheaper way of doing it.

What mark do you want to leave on the UFC as a fighter?

I just love to fight. I really don’t care about anyone else, I think people bullshit a little bit and say this and that but no – the only reason I’m doing this is for myself.

When I started competing and fighting it was for myself. I remember fighting in small village halls and my head was almost touching the ceiling but these are memories I’ve competed for myself, with the exception of my close friends and family, I don’t think people care too much.

There are plenty of forgotten fighters of the past. I’m grateful I didn’t end up with a job I hated and I’ve experienced a lot already and I still feel like my journey is going well.

You did media and culture studies way back when? From that perspective, what do you think of the rise of the UFC and being a part of that?

The degree I did a long time ago (laughing). I chose the closest university because I didn’t want to go stay in halls. I did it just to be able to box. I’m amazed it is getting more into the mainstream now and I think that’s the only way that…more money adds more credibility…
It has happened in most other countries now but England is right there now, you could probably find a fight on at any time and it’ll only keep growing.

Tom Watson vs Chris Camozzi is on the main card of the light heavyweight clash with Glover Teixeira vs Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Fight Night 73 in Nashville Tennessee on Saturday, August 8th.


MMA,Tom Watson,UFC