Danzig Breathes New Life into Career

By Mike Sloan Dec 11, 2008
Quite a bit has changed since the last time Mac Danzig had to punish himself during a grueling training regime. Not only has the Las Vegas resident become a father for the first time (his baby daughter was born nearly two nerve-rattling weeks late), but he has a newfound vigor for the fight game.

Danzig will look to carry that fresh momentum into his next bout against Josh Neer for UFC Fight Night 17 on Feb. 7 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

A winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 6” in 2007, Danzig saw it was time for a change. His methodology inside Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts’ walls had become stagnant and he’d lost his thirst to train as hard as some of the other warriors inside Las Vegas’ most famous gym. Not that his training partners or the facility itself had become outdated by any means; Danzig admits he just wasn’t as focused or serious as he should have been, especially leading up to his most recent bout.

Last September, Danzig (18-5-1) dropped a unanimous decision to wrestler Clay Guida at UFC Fight Night 15 in Omaha, Neb.

“I was listening to my corner with their combinations, but I was throwing them like a robot and I got a little too anxious where I should have just relaxed and waited and then picked him apart,” Danzig said of Guida. “I should have let him shoot into one of my knees but instead I was throwing knees at the end of combinations after he was already backing up so, of course, the knee isn’t there and he would use that to get a takedown.”

His new baby has given Danzig the fire in his belly he needed though.

Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

Mac Danzig has a new
perspective on life.
“I always train hard and I wasn’t sure if the fire was still there like it was (in the past),” he said. “But having this kid has changed me a lot. It’s given me a new perspective and has given me a whole lot of motivation to go in there and really do right by myself and my family and get the most out of my career. I’m starting to watch tapes again and really getting back into the whole mindset of combat, which I was getting a little tired of after a while. I’m ready to go and I got a new reason to fight.”

New priorities have brought on a new way of looking at his bouts, as well as remembrance of what worked for Danzig in the past.

“What I learned is that fifteen minutes isn’t that long of a time and you really gotta do something and make something happen,” said Danzig. “Sometimes you can’t force it if your opponent is neutralizing you but fifteen minutes isn’t really enough time to finish a guy. You gotta do right by yourself and fight your type of fight. Against Guida I didn’t really fight my fight. I usually fight where I think a lot and I try to think two or three moves ahead and that chess match mentality has helped me in my career in the past and I kind of abandoned that.”

Neer (24-7-1), another experienced veteran who desperately needs a win to stay afloat in the 155-pound title hunt, won’t be a pushover by any means, though his fighting style could play into Danzig’s strengths. Roughly half of Neer’s defeats have come via submission, an aspect of the fight game that Danzig excels at.

“He’s still really good on the ground, much better than people give him credit for,” said Danzig. “The few losses that he’s had have come by submissions, but I don’t think that he has serious weakness on the ground. Nate Diaz is extremely good on the ground and those guys were trading back and forth some really good technique.

Still, Danzig acknowledges a potential opening.

“I’ve submitted and beaten a lot better guys than him as far as grappling skills go,” said Danzig. “[Mark] Bocek comes to mind right away. It’s all about hitting him a lot and making him think and softening him up first. That’s what’ll give me the submission if I get it but, man, I’m still looking for my first knockout; that clean knockout. That’s what I’m going for. And I don’t feel bad for saying that, either.”

A special addition to his life has renewed Danzig’s sense of purpose, but don’t be surprised to see the winner of old return to the cage on Feb. 7.

“In this fight I need to just go out there and be the thinker that I am,” said Danzig. “I think it’ll serve me well in this fight.”
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