UFC 187’s Zach Makosvky talks Bellator release, Reebok Deal, John Dodson and more

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565A casual MMA audience won’t recognize the name Zach Makovsky, but hardcore MMA fans know the UFC flyweight as being the inaugural Bellator bantamweight champion in 2010, a title he held for over two years. Now set to fight in the biggest matchup of his career against John Dodson, the 32-year old could be on the cusp of his first UFC title shot. Ahead of his fight at UFC 187, the Tristar product spoke to MMAOddsBreaker on Episode 105 of “The Parting Shot Podcast” and discussed a variety of topics.   Bellator release in 2012 “I’m not entirely sure [why I was released at the time], I guess it was because of the losses I had in the company. I lost the [135lb] title, and then I lost a spilt decision to Anthony Leone – who ended up fighting for the title shortly after anyways. It was a pretty big surprise [because] I still more fights on my contract. I had a good attitude about it, no one likes to get fired or cut. I knew it would present bigger and better opportunities for me, specifically to drop to flyweight and to get to into UFC. Because Bellator didn’t have a 125 pound division, which I kind of knew is where I belonged once that division got really established.”   Why he started training at Tristar last year  “My manager Hector Castro also manages John Makdessi. [He] kind of spoke with Firas [Zahabi] because of his relationship with Makdessi and I’ve always been a fan of Tristar and their style. Georges St Pierre is one of my favourite fighters, one of the guys I look up to the most. I was interested to go up and see how they approach the sport. It’s worked out, I’ve been up there pretty consistently ever since.”   UFC 187 training camp at Tristar “I wouldn’t have it other way. It’s the best place I’ve ever trained at for mixed martial arts. My last two camps I did two weeks up there each time. This [training camp for UFC 187] has been the longest I’ve ever done, I did four weeks up there for this camp.”   His matchup with John Dodson at UFC 187  “I appreciate the opportunity to fight a guy like Dodson, who is up there and was really supposed to fight for the title again before he got injured. I think [the UFC] knows that I’m one of the contenders in the division as well. I’m not ranked as high as Dodson or some other guys. I think I’m right there with everyone. It’s definitely a huge opportunity for me and like I said I think the winner will get the next title shot. Dodson’s a phenomenal athlete; I’ve gotten to train with him. I’m actually pretty friendly with him. I have nothing really bad to say anything about him. He’s super explosive, super-fast. I think he’s got the most power out of any flyweight. He’s very hard to take down, even harder to hold down. It’s going to be a very tough fight, but you’re fighting the #2 guy in the world it’s supposed to be a tough fight.  I definitely got to step up my game and without giving anything away, pushing him in every area I can and being smart about it.”   Being the underdog  “It doesn’t bother me; I understand why he’s getting the hype. He’s given Demetrious his hardest fight for sure. After he lost to Demetrious, he won two more fights impressively. [Then he went] right back to getting the title shot before he got injured, so of course that’s what people are talking about. Of course he has to get by me, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”   Competing on the UFC 187 prelims “Maybe it takes precedence over Benavidez and Moraga [on the pay per view], but those are two top world class flyweights also. I think it’s a big fight for the division, I feel like the winner of this fight should get the next title shot. It’s not my job to establish where fights are on the card. I think we’re the main event of prelims, so it’s a good spot to be, a larger viewer audience anyways. So it doesn’t really matter to me where we are.”   Dodson’s potential “cage rust” in this fight “You never know, some people can come back and be a little rusty. Some people come back better than ever. It’s a possibility, but it’s not something I can consider or rely on. I’ll let him worry about if he’s back to 100 percent, if everything’s the same. I have to go in there expecting he’ll be at his best ever.  That’s what I’m doing and that’s the only way to look at it really.”   His loss to Jussier Formiga last August at UFC Fight Night 47 “I have re-watched it many times. I don’t want to take anything away from Forimga, but I really feel like I beat myself in that fight. I think I was prepared and had everything I needed to win the fight.  In the beginning he was a little faster than I was ready for. He closed the distance and got me in some clinches when I was punching and closed the distance quick. Got to my back once, got a good body lock takedown in the first round and I think that kind of gave him the first round. But I feel like by the second round I adjusted to his speed, I was landing the better shots, I was controlling, I was stopping his clinch. He tried to engage in a clinch, I shut it down. For some reason, I felt like there was a head throw there and I went for [it]. You know Jussier Formiga is a position machine and if he gets in a solid position, he’ll work to try and submit you from there. When I missed the head – it’s a very high risk maneuver – as soon as his head freed, he’s on my back and I gave him his best position by doing that. He held my back for the rest of the round, body triangle couldn’t really get close to a submission. But I gave him the position he wanted by making a bad decision. I lost that round, [then] came back in the third pretty strong. But too little too late, the head throw definitely changed the course of the fight. Anything can happen, but it was certainly a big mistake and it kind of really eats at me. Because I pride myself on making good decisions and that wasn’t one of them”   Demetrious Johnson’s win at UFC 186  “He’s pretty incredible in my opinion. I think he was a little more aggressive than usual and kind of was throwing not as a precise as he usually does. But I think he was doing that to get close, to get his takedowns. Because his takedowns were probably the best I’ve seen yet. The pace he sets is pretty ridiculous, I don’t think anybody in the world fights at the same pace that he does. I really have nothing but great things to say about it.”   How he matches up against Demetrious Johnson “I do think I have some attributes that potentially could give him trouble. Of course when the time gets there, I’ll sit down with my all coaches and figure out what the best option is. He excels when he can push the pace, get his take downs going, and make you worry about everything. I feel like I’m much more of a counter fighter in general. That aggression kind of plays into what I’m good at too. I also think I would have the best wrestling and ground game that he has faced. So it would be interesting.”   Pay scale on the UFC’s Reebok sponsorship deal  “It’s not great for the guys who have [few] fights. I thought it was going to be a little bit higher but I kind would like to reserve my opinion to see how it actually works when it’s put in place. I think $2500 for a guy in the UFC is going to be much less than really what he could make probably on his own getting sponsorships. So probably not a good thing for those guys, I don’t know. We’ll see how it works out when we get there, when it really kicks in July. I’ll be able to give you a much more educated opinion.”   You can follow Zach on Twitter @ZachFunSize and listen to the full audio version of this interview on Episode 105 of The Parting Shot Podcast

Written by James Lynch

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