In the fight game, many have been given the unofficial title of “road warrior.” No one has earned it more than Francis Carmont. Since his pro mixed martial arts debut in 2004, the Paris native has visited a laundry list of international locales over the course of his career.
I know, so have many fighters. But who else has a list like this:
England, The Netherlands, Hungary, Sweden, Tunisia, Slovenia, Poland, Costa Rica, Australia,
Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Canada, United States.
Exactly. That’s the type of resume that makes a fighter who he is. Carmont agrees.
“To travel and fight around the world is not an easy task, but I learned and discovered a lot throughout these experiences. It opened my mind and I grew a lot as a person.”
He also grew as an athlete, even if it didn’t show up on his record as he battled around the world, winning more than he lost, but not by a huge margin. Four years into his career, Carmont had compiled an 11-7 record, not exactly the slate of a man who would eventually turn into one of the UFC middleweight division’s top prospects.
“At that time I had a lot of doubts,” admits Carmont, “but I decided to continue because I didn't want to have any regrets.”
Staying in France wasn’t the answer. He needed to do something more drastic in order to reach the potential that eventually earned him the nickname “Limitless.” He decided a move to Montreal was in order.
“Everything changed when I decided to change everything, from the city where I trained to the country where I now live.”
Landing at the TriStar Gym, Carmont found his place in the sport as well as a friend and training partner in UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
“He helped me a lot,” said Carmont. “Georges paved the way of knowing how to train properly. We always learn when we are on his side.”
And just because Carmont has relocated to Canada and made his name there, that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten his home in France. In fact, in recent years, his visits have him impressed with how far the sport has grown.
“MMA is really popular in France,” said Carmont, one of only three Frenchmen (along with Cheick Kongo and Cyrille Diabate) currently in the UFC. “Every time I go back there I am always surprised to see how good the level is there.”
Carmont’s level is pretty impressive as well. After his 11-7 start, the 31-year-old has won nine straight, with a first round knockout of UFC vet Jason Day earning him a call to the Octagon four months later. It’s there where Carmont has compiled his last four wins, decisioning Chris Camozzi and Tom Lawlor while submitting Magnus Cedenblad and Karlos Vemola. He’s come a long way from those early days on the road.
“To fight and win in the UFC are the best moments in my career,” he said. “I truly hope it’s going to continue and one day I can bring the belt home.”
His passport will be stamped again this week though, as he hits San Jose for a Saturday bout with Strikeforce import Lorenz Larkin. It’s a quality matchup on paper, and one that Carmont could use to propel himself into the top ten should he emerge victorious.
“Lorenz is a complete fighter and a really tough opponent,” he said. “I really like his style. I trained hard for this fight and I'll be ready when the door will close, so the fans should expect a big victory and a great performance.”
And if he keeps it up, who knows, maybe one of his next trips to France will be to fight.
“I know the UFC works hard to legalize the sport in France,” he said. “To fight in a stadium in France would be fantastic.”
Francis Carmont: The Middleweights' Truest Road Warrior
"To fight and win in the UFC are the best moments in my career. I truly hope it’s going to continue and one day I can bring the belt home." - Francis Carmont