Ep. #39 – John Makdessi

John Makdessi is a Canadian mixed martial artist who competes in the UFC lightweight division. With over 20 UFC fights, he has become one of the Canadians with the most appearances in UFC history.


John Makdessi: Doing I sing my yeah yeah that was last week right on the 25th. I had an old surgery and I had a new surgery. I had a new injury and my training camp and in my slider actually tore my I tore my meniscus and my MCL and money and my ACL was torn it ooh yeah a [ __ ] to it I mean that’s what that’s. Why that’s? Why yeah? I did I watched it. I had you winning it, but most exciting, like in a sense. I wasn’t. I wasn’t big a friendship, but I was a lot of pain and I tried I tried yeah. I thought you did a good job. I mean I didn’t notice. It and obviously there’s Canadian bias for me too, I’m Canadian so any time a Canadian fights if it goes the decision they automatically with my mind yeah I have more, have more significant strikes. Yes, it was a very close fight. Don’T get me wrong, I’m not take my hats off for nesco Francisco he’s a very, very durable fighter, a lot of experience. You know yeah you had. I had you winning rounds one and two, and I thought you don’t strike him in the first and then two. I think was you guys had the same amount of strikes. I just found because he hit you more in the head and you did a lot of leg kicks, and so I think it all kind of came down to scoring yeah. But I I see he got me a couple of shots, he did land some shots, clean shots, but I most of them. I dodge them. Yeah yeah, it’s hard. It’S hard to score and I find a lot of the judges are. Some of them are boxing judges. So they often score things differently than an MMA judge would, and I think that’s one of the biggest issues now in is the issue with judging and no one scores fights the exact same way. Joe Silva just go back to Joe Silva III, actually liked him a lot. He was a he was dealing with my manager. Well, had I had a lot of Mike. My career is like a rollercoaster ride. You know I went through. I went through like my managing Mitch, my burger and then I left him. My older brother came into the picture and then he got me hooked up with theater fighter and he got me hooked up with Hector. Cus Hector Hector Castro and then they after firefighter [, __ ], and then they left the scene and I and and then I got back connected to Mitch because it’s a shitty business. You know, I don’t really trust people, so I he was. He was there from the beginning, so I was loyal to him. I went back to him but Joe Silva. He was mild. He was matchmaking most of my fights until he left and then Shaun shall be at took over yeah. I really like Joe Silva. I thought his matchmaking was spot-on and I liked the way he just shot his shot. He just sent Dana White a message saying what’d, he do differently and I think it it’s kind of like the definition and something a lot of people need to do just if it’s something you want to do shoot your shot. I became a matchmaker just by sending Dana or an email, which I think it’s kind of cool. If you hold up the seconds brother yeah yep no worries yeah, it’s it’s good. I mean obviously a lot going on now with a pandemic, everything’s kind of shut down. It’S hard to to get out and do stuff. They just recently opened it up and I think businesses and stuff are starting to open up. I think next Monday things kind of go back to normal, but overall, not too bad. We had that that mass shooting, but I think for the the pandemic itself and everything it’s it hasn’t been too too bad, okay, cool man. How are things that just you don’t mind me asking wicked, tell me a little bit about yourself. I just see what Twitter of matchmaker yeah, so I’m actually I’m the accountant. So I work nine to five as an accountant and been huge MMA fan for four years and I did the started. Mma matchmaking, just as a hobby, where I just match, make fighters after after their fights and I people started following it. I was like yeah cool and then with the pandemic. I couldn’t watch fights because everything got shut down. So I said you know what I’m gon na start a podcast and just ask fighters to come on. So I had right away guys like Mike Rodriguez, Andre, you will Jamal Jamal Haring. So I had some really really high level, guys really really early on, which is really surprising. I was expecting it to be a lot harder to talk to MMA fighters, but I found everyone’s pretty open and they’re willing to talk best. The moisture lurks: that’s what that’s! What much because most guys would come from it’s very traditional, I don’t! I come from a very deep root. You’Re not gon na see many of those a lot of like right. Now you are see the modern makes martial artists to like more like WWE. You know very, like you know, it’s all about ego and I’m like talk trash. You know I mean I understand it’s a business right when I come from very old school. My teacher was like beat the [ __ ] out of me. If I would, if I would go on the streets and if I would try to hit someone if I were like, if I go, if I go to the dojo and I learned how to throw a kick and then I’m like, he tells me if you ever Go use this against people on the streets, I’m gon na. Kick you out of the gym. You know I mean I had. I had very like old school teachers where it was just strictly. You know you come to the gym, you train, so your outlet go to a competition and then everything else is like you stick just a quiet to stay. Humble, like you know it wasn’t like showing off. It was just another way for me to express myself and one thing led to another, and I just continued training and fighting, and I was from Taekwondo to karate to kick boxing and then I got introduced to mixed martial arts and next you know I got carjacked In the UFC yeah, I think that that background was really made a made. You well known, I think, you’re, the most exciting fighter in light weight division, one of one of Justin ket, is up there too. You know, but I think everybody’s dream is to be a top ten fighter. You know you don’t get you. If you don’t mind me asking he. I saw the team behind no, he looks like he’s a good team. Buddy yeah he’s at elevation fight team. So it really really saw the group of guys there where’s that I’m not sure I know he’s got like drew Dober and all those guys are with them. So he he’s got he’s got a solid, solid group, but I think they’re smaller they’re, a smaller group and they just stay close. So it’s not a big team like a TT or anything like battery yeah. Well, what was it like training with those guys? I feel like they’re like they’re so far, especially GSP like GSP is in a class of his own, especially in Canadian MMA, he’s kind of looked at like the like, a god. What was it like? Training training with him honestly George is like Georges, is very you know hard worker right. He has a lot of has a lot of physical attributes, though no matter how hard you work out with you cannot really keep up to him. It’S like just God, talented. I mean he has this: some people have it some people don’t have. You know I mean, and the thing is that he kind of he found his formula in a very in a very early time when I came into Tristar. When I came into the picture I was a kickboxing. I was a kickboxer developing mind, mix, martial arts skills. So I was already behind George George was already ahead of his time. George was very. He was already like a well said, had a good skill set with with the mixed martial art that he understood, yeah good mentors around them. So when I came into the picture I was just learning and because of my because of my just you know, because I’m I’m able to adjust, I was able to pick it up very quick. You know if you consider my. I was the age of 26 years old, 23, 23 years old and 26 ago. Simon do UFC George George, doing karate, martial arts mixed martial arts at the age of 17 18. He was his first MMA coach was the crazy Russian guy Christoph whatever his knee. I remember sliced, I mean he did a lot of underground fights, you know, means a lot of people, don’t know things about George, but you know he was advanced. Basically to answer your question. He was and he he he was a. He was a head of all of us, you know, and David Louisa was actually side by side. You know. George and David were best friends, their training together, getaway for fights and then just things happy and people grew apart and everyone went their own way. Yeah, obviously, he’s good getting inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame this the summer which, when, when it was announced, I was like how was he not already in there? I I just assumed he was. Do you have him as number one of all time like me personally or like you’re talking about in the roster? I know you personally. Do you think George is number one all-time? You know what George is for sure one of the best athletes in the mixed martial. You know it’s hard for me to say who’s number, one yeah, because it’s all it’s all about what you looking at. You know I mean it’s all relative. I don’t add on equal stalking, I’m gon na say I’m gon na doing. Obviously, that’s that’s. No I’m gon na say I’m the best right, because I want to be the best martial artist, but in in the record where he proved what he’d done he’s sure. One of the top fighters, but to be number one you know you got ta look at you’re gon na look at Asia. You got ta look at European and you got ta look at North America there’s so many pile of of fighters that didn’t have that opportunity to showcase. If that make sense, I mean for me personally to be the number one you got ta be like like yeah like what would Conor McGregor who’s been doing. He went from featherweight went to lightweight, then went to Walter. It see, that’s whom I respect like. I got like that. I respect you, I mean because he’s been pound for pound, you got to be changing weight, classes and beating all the best guys in the world. You know also for me, that’s you know. I look at. I look at the risk. I look at who you’re fighting how many times you fighting I mean George, is very. His career was very processed, very mythology, yeah yeah, like he. He fought guys that, were, I guess, smaller than his big welterweight and he kind of came back and I like Bisbing, but it was a one eyed Bisbing. You know, there’s always ask Conor McGregor’s, for example, like you mentioned willing to fight anybody anywhere. So, even though there’s more losses, I think that has to go when you look at it as well, when you consider who the goat is so we’ll go back to your fight, your last fight, so you fought 24 times and 17 in the UFC and MMA. What was it like competing? I think, for the first time in front of no no audience as a professional yeah. Very weird, like I felt like I was in the twilight zone, but you know it’s not like it was. You know I’m in a movie scene and we’re like rehearse see. Yeah sounds a little weird like I felt like it was kind of. I felt you know unreal, but I I kind of like honestly. I just took it the way it came. I didn’t really try to. I didn’t try to overthink it, because if I start overthinking things that I’m just gon na be in my way what was the the roller-coaster events like because it was going. You went to Brazil, you got all the way there. I think it was the first time you competed outside of North America, yeah UFC yeah, and then it like. You know you don’t know if the events happening you got all this stuff going on. Did that play a role and and what was that like? What was all that going going through your mind? What was that like? Well, brazil is a beautiful country. It was weird because that people were saying, like I started to I started to where we started to enter enter my brain like the whole training camp. People were talking about coronavirus. I didn’t really care, I was focused. You know I had that tunnel vision and then and then after that people started saying like you guys, might not fight everything. A lot of a lot of news was coming on on the social media. Like Twitter, about corn or virus name Bellator and then Bellator started to say that they’re gon na cancel their fight. So there was a lot of rumors going back and forth my family back at home. You know kind of worried about what’s going on, so it was very like a lot of uncertainty and it you know it was a shitty moment. That’S the best way. I can put it yeah. How does it how’d it feel when you got home, because I think your quarantine weren’t you for 14 days yeah, it was what was that, like I mean you’re talking to a fighter right like we go until we go to the gym, where we’re sweating we’re [ __ ] grabbing each other, we’re wrestling each other in the head. Like I mean viruses, God knows how many viruses bacteria entered my body and I don’t really know I mean I kind of have a strong immune system. Since a kid I was playing outside the streets. I don’t really folk, I’m not gon na stop my life or a virus that apparently is killing the world me. Personally, it’s just a different topic, but you know I I didn’t let it get to me and the only time you started to become serious when governments tucked in yeah, so so overall with what the UFC is doing, you you like the fact that they kind of Pushed it – and they were the first ones to say, like we’re gon na build an island we’re gon na, do whatever it takes. Yeah, of course harder to sell. I mean we’re, of course, that’s what makes a fight. That’S what makes your sea and that’s what makes the fighter so no we’re not gon na start our life. You know that that’s what makes us the 1 % right, where we kind of go through that we quickly go through the fire yeah. So you’ve just got your your knee surgery last week. Is there a timeline for your return? I might just say my my surgeon tomorrow um, you know like ACL meniscus. You know they always give it. The doctors always gon na give it like a six months. Seven months, you know what I would like. No, I had a couple of surgeries in my lifetime and this is one of them top on the list, for sure, is the Easter, so you’re you’re, looking at maybe you’re, like 2021 type return. I should know, I’m not sure hoping have much China I’m trying in before next year. Okay, so before the end of the year yeah, is there any names that come to mind as a as a fight? I’M sure you as a fighter. I’M sure you want to run the Train, although fight back, I think, but is there? Is there any other fights that come to mind? I mean? Listen, I mean. If you look at my issue of fighting, I go. I got robbed a couple: my flights, no so judges gift another guy. It happens, yeah the score points cool cars, but for me I always wanted to fight the top ten like I would love to run back Donald Cerrone. You know I had a two weeks notice and then really have a training camp for him mentally. I wasn’t ready, I would love to fight a guy. Cerrone just engage he. You know you have like those type of strikers, they don’t get. You know we’re gon na, keep it a standing. You know I mean so it’s a fan, favorite fights two guys striking it out. You know one is a counter fighter. One is an offensive fighter. You know I can play both sides. I think I can counter. I can play offense, you know it’s all about it. For me, it’s always about having good preparation that that was the hardest part, no to find a solid trainer to find a solid trainer that I can trust fully. A guy was gon na put the work with me. Not just you know whenever he feels like it. He wants to show his face from time to time and then take all my [ __ ] credit. You know and then boss me around. I mean all the things that the fans don’t see what the fighters go through all the [ __ ], although wannabe coaches out there, you know they put things in my head. If John Makdessi is, if I’m 100 percent clear minded and I go into the Octagon, everyone knows that I’m gon na kill that guy your training at the MMA lab. Now, right I went to Arizona because the two reasons I’m a big fan of Ben Anderson and I [ __ ] loved the weather, yeah Bennett. He was in your corner down in Brazil. What’S it like working with him, I [ __ ] have to he’s an awesome guy. Is this this? That man is a very humble, is very biggest heart. You know I mean he’s always giving himself to other people, he’s a great great person, great great human being, and I make sense why he became a champion. I mean so I take my hat’s off Ben Henderson and all the guys from the MMA lab they’re great bunch of people over there you’re now, an exclusive company in the Canadian MMA world there’s only three guys that have competed in the UFC who are Canadian, who Have more fights than you? What what does that feel like to be mentioned along the lights of GSP? Cocaine, same cell rar since you’re on the stop? Because I’ve been going going back and forth my brother, he says: there’s nobody know who’s left in the in the Canadian roster in the UFC, because he’s telling me that there’s nobody and I’m like this – is impossible. There’S a few fighters there’s guys like Kyle Nelson, but for the most part when it comes to longitude of their careers. Most people who have had long careers have kind of left like Elias Theodore, who had left already, but I think long reigning, I think, you’re, probably the only one left – that’s crazy, but that was some stuff that puts things in perspective. Honestly man, I I grew up. I’M one of those guys who grew up with like I’m a dreamer. You know I always wanted to be. I always want to have a legacy. I always wanted to be known. One of the best. I won’t be known one of the most exciting fighters in the world. I want to be known, you know, I’m the underdog, you know I consider myself an underdog. I beat all odds. You know. I come from a middle class family, no one nobody’s at. Like my family raised in a normal Catholic household, my family, my parents, like I didn’t, have a father. I didn’t have a cousin who was in the fighting business I kind of took to heart. I took the long hard road, so, the speaking of Canadian, my fighters. There is a Canadian MMA fighter, headlining this weekend’s card Felicia Spencer, who’s fighting Amanda Nunez. How do you feel about that fight? Obviously, manda Nunez is a killer, possibly the greatest female of all times and my opinion, the greatest of all time. How do you feel about that fight? Yeah, I’m gon na watch the fight, when is it gon na be good? Is it on Saturday it’s this Saturday yeah yeah, I’m gon na watch it I mean, I hope, I’m most enough, I’m always going to cheer for the Canadian. You know what the female. What’S her name again, I don’t remember Felicia Spencer Felicia was she from boot camp? I’M not sure I know she’s from out less, but I don’t. I don’t know what camp yeah well. You know, I said, that’s a big, that’s a great fight! That’S a big! That’S a big platform! She’S fighting she’s fighting that you know. I mean she’s. Fighting a woman that has a big you know a reputation I was, she was chaptered, so it’s gon na be interesting. I hope to guide. She does good and she doesn’t break on the pressure yeah she fights out of the jungle, MMA and fitness. So I think she actually fights out of Florida, but she’s from Quebec, Canadian, Canada, Canada has done better make camps. We always have to go outside of Canada. To Train good. Does not does not you don’t have good resources here. Yeah, I think Tristar is the only well known well-known camp. Yes, Tristar muchos, pretty much sure sir yeah yeah all right man. Well, hopefully, we can see you back in there soon, hopefully that that leg recovers really quickly and really looking forward to your next fight. Thank you. Thank you for having me appreciate it all right man, thanks for thanks for taking the time and sorry about the the kerfuffle there at the beginning, with all with the setup, the talk, your brother have a good day, man all right, yeah, you too, bye

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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