(Photo by Esther Lin of CombatLifestyle.com)
Matt Makowski is one of the most down-to-Earth, humble 21-year olds you’ll ever meet. He’s the type of person who allows his actions to speak louder than words. As such, it was a little surprising to hear Makowski speak out during a recent interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com regarding his recent fight vs. Nick Serra that took place during the undercard for “EliteXC: Primetime.” However, the frustration is more than justifiable. The EliteXC welterweight prospect expressed his disappointment that more people seem to be talking about Serra’s performance during their bout on May 31 as opposed to the dominant effort turned in by Makowski.
During the fight, Makowski broke Serra down with an onslaught of kicks to various regions of his body. A battered and bruised Serra ran out of steam and jumped guard towards the beginning of the second round. The problem was, he whiffed completely and was left sitting on the mat. He was told to get up and was warned about such a tactic. In spite of the warning, Serra jumped guard a second time soon after and missed again. This time referee Kevin Mulhall took a point away from Serra and told him he needed to get up or else the fight was going to be stopped. An exhausted Serra refused to answer Mulhall’s call and the fight was halted at 3:57 of round 2.
The win improved the recent college graduate’s record to a perfect 3-0. With his star on the rise, 5 Oz. recently caught up with Makowski for an interview.
Sam Caplan: You’re coming off a tremendous win during the undercard of EliteXC: Primetime. While it wasn’t on CBS, it was broadcast on the Internet. I know that CBSSports.com drew 30,000 unique visitors and I’m sure ProElite.com also recorded several thousand unique viewers too. Combine that with the video on demand, and a lot of people were able to see you fight. From your perspective, have you experienced an increase in notoriety?
Matt Makowski: As of right now, not really. From what I’ve seen on the Internet, most of the talk has been about Nick and his performance in the fight rather than what happened with me and what I did. Immediately after though, there were a lot of people coming up to me to congratulate me.
Sam Caplan: Your performance vs. Nick Serra was outstanding. Yet it seems a lot of people are spending more energy talking about Serra’s antics as opposed to how well you performed. I guess it’s safe to assume you agree with that assessment. How did you feel with how he performed during the second round of that fight?
Matt Makowski: I had a lot of respect for Nick going into the fight and I still have respect for him, however, I don’t know if he was just doing his whole monkey gimmick with his arms down. The reason why he dropped was because his leg hurt, not so much because he was giving up. It was pretty much a submission. You wouldn’t think less of someone for tapping out to a choke or an armlock or something. And the same thing kind of applies here; Nick just couldn’t get up from the leg kicks.
Sam Caplan: The Serra name is well respected in MMA. I hate to put you on the spot, but did his refusal to continue cause you to lose respect for him?
Matt Makowski: I know his arms were down and all, but if you keep kicking anyone in the right spot… I hit him multiple times in the same spot and that will do it to anybody. That’s why I was throwing them, so that he would eventually not be able to keep putting weight on his leg and be able to stand up.
Sam Caplan: Did you get a chance to speak with him after the fight?
Matt Makowski: After the fight was all said and done, he came up to me and gave me a hug but he really didn’t say a word. I just think he’s a quiet guy because we didn’t exchange words at all.
Sam Caplan: Serra showed up for the fight and only weighed 167 lbs. There was a rumor two weeks out before the fight that his camp was claiming the fight was at 160 lbs., which prompted some to believe they were looking for a way out. Did you hear any of those rumors?
Matt Makowski: I did, and we kind of thought the same thing. We found it odd; pretty much all of his fights have been at 170 or higher and the fact that his camp was asking for the fight at 160 when it was in the contract that it was at 170, we were a little curious about that.
Sam Caplan: You perhaps had the best entrance of the night, coming out dressed as one of the Road Warriors. What inspired you to put a little extra into your entrance?
Matt Makowski: I usually do entrances like that, so it wasn’t necessarily a counter to his entrance even though there was a lot of talk about that. A lot of people were egging me on and saying “You’ve got to do better than him!” and stuff. I’ve done wrestling-themed entrances before and to enter as the Road Warriors, I just thought it was an awesome idea. I thought it would give me a real cool look out there as I walked to the cage down the runway.
Sam Caplan: In the past I’ve seen you come out dressed as the Ultimate Warrior. There were no ropes for you to shake, so you shook the cage instead. And my wife trains at Philly MMA sometimes and she says there are times that while you’re training you put on pro wrestling videos.Obviously we know that you’re a Ultimate Warrior fan and a Road Warrior fan, but who were your other favorite wrestlers growing up?
Matt Makowski: I was a big Bret Hart fan as well as the Undertaker. It was just when I was younger, I used to watch WWE occasionally. I was just really into the whole showmanship of the sport and the entertainment value and things like that. So I pattern some of my MMA entrances around that as a way to pay homage to those athletes.
Sam Caplan: Do you still watch wrestling?
Matt Makowski: No, I don’t. Well, occasionally I will click on just to see just to kind of see how it is nowadays but I felt it kind of fell off in the ’90’s and it’s become a whole different thing.
Sam Caplan: When people think of top fight camps on the national scene, they think AKA, ATT, MFS, and Greg Jackson’s. However, Daddis Fight Camps is starting to make a name for itself. Can you tell us about the fighters you currently train with?
Matt Makowski: The trainers, Brad Daddis and Rigel Balsamico, we’ve got a lot of guys coming up like myself, Wilson Reis, Aaron Meisner — who was on “The Ultimate Fighter,” and Jon Murphy. We’ve also got a bunch of guys who are coming up through the amateurs that are just about ready to go pro. We’re trying to put Daddis Fight Camps on the map here in Philadelphia.
Sam Caplan: I’ve heard a rumor that you were an offensive lineman in high school, which struck me as odd because you fight at 170 lbs. Is that true?
Matt Makowski: Yes. A few years ago in high school I was probably walking around just under 200 lbs. So I was one of the quicker linemen; I was a center. It ended up working for me and the team.
Sam Caplan: So you were a 200 lbs. center. Who were you blocking for?
Matt Makowski: (Laughs) I graduated with Chad Henne, who was just recently drafted by the Miami Dolphins. I played football with him for three years at Wilson High School in Berks County.
Sam Caplan: Have you reached out and tried to contact him?
Matt Makowski: I haven’t. I would love to catch up with Chad sometime. I am really happy and excited that I can say I’ve accomplished my dream of being a professional athlete. Football was maybe first on the list but it didn’t work out, but I love MMA too so I’m still living my dream.
Sam Caplan: The Serra win was big for your career. You’re now 2-0 in EliteXC and you are still undefeated overall. What would you like to see happen next for you in your career?
Matt Makowski: I just want to fight more. Things are going pretty fast here. I’m fighting in a big organization like EliteXC and there’s pros and cons to that, where some guys might pad their record a little bit — maybe not necessarily on purpose but they might accumulate 5-6 wins before they even get to a top organization. And they have the benefit of the experience that comes with all those fights. As for myself, I don’t have six fights but I’m in a big organization. So I’m getting the exposure but I’m going to have to start fighting some higher-level guys right now with only three fights and being in EliteXC.
Sam Caplan: Is there anyone at 170 in EliteXC right now that you’d like to face?
Matt Makowski: No one in particular. I just want to keep fighting and keep climbing the ladder. The ultimate goal is definitely a title shot but that’s way down the road. I just want to take it one fight at a time and fight anyone they put in front of me.
Sam Caplan: If EliteXC approached you and your camp and offered you a chance to fight a Drew Fickett or a Jake Shields, at this stage of your career would you take the opportunity?
Matt Makowski: That’s a tough question right now. I would think I’d have to talk to my camp about it. I would consider it, for sure. I don’t feel that I am that far behind those guys as far as MMA skills go. But it might not be the best decision at this point in my career.