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TRAINING: Conditioning in the morning with a little bit of weights and running. Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling around noon. Sparring at night, two to three times a week.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started boxing in 1994. Boxing was huge then and basically I wanted to learn how to defend myself. I found myself fighting six months after that. A few years later, my best friend, who was my coach at the time, decided that I had to leave the country and go to the States and turn pro as a boxer. It was overnight almost. I fought in the Golden Gloves two months after I came to the country and I made it to the finals in Madison Square Garden but I lost a split decision. I turned pro, had three fights, and my last fight was on ESPN, and due to some differences with my manager and coach over here, I decided I was going to quit, but I was still under contract for two more years, so I figured I’d give MMA a shot. And I fell in love with it.
What ranks and titles have you held? Ring of Combat title. In amateur boxing, in 1996, I won the Bronze medal in the European Championships in Turkey. I tried for the Olympic Games but I didn’t make it by a couple points.
Do you have any heroes? No
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? Every mixed martial artist’s dream is to fight in the UFC so for me, it’s a dream come true. I came close last time and I screwed up, so hopefully it will go my way this time. I’m at a different level this time against a huge opponent, but I think I can do it, I’m going to do my best, and it will be a good fight. Win or lose, I’m going to put on a show.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I had two years of college in Greece, but it didn’t go too well.
What was your job before you started fighting? Personal trainer, bouncer, process server.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: None
Favorite grappling technique: The can opener and the armbar
Favorite striking technique: Right cross / left hook