Mac Danzig will travel across the world this fall to fight Takanori Gomi, and while he might not be looking forward to the flight, he loves the matchup.
“I love traveling the world, but not for fights,” Danzig told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Cheap Seats” show. “But beggars can’t be choosers. On top of that, yeah, it’s an awesome matchup for me. If you look at the UFC’s lightweight roster, fights that make sense for specific fighters, that’s in the top-five priority for me right now. I think it’s great. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The bout is scheduled for the Nov. 10 UFC on Fuel TV 6 card. Two and a half months out, Danzig has already begun his preparation.
“Right now I’m really concentrating on studying how he fights and really just using the angles the way I’m supposed to, the timing the way I’m supposed to, working on my boxing a lot and working on my wrestling a lot,” he said. “I don’t mind talking about it. I’m not going to be shooting from the outside on him. I’m working on specific wrestling stuff for him and just getting better at my overall game. I’m at the point now where every fight that I take is just an opportunity. Yeah, I’ve got to concentrate on this guy who stands flatfooted and crouches down real low and is a southpaw most of the time and he throws power punches -- that’s my test at this moment, but every single time that I take a fight now, it’s an opportunity to keep refining the skills that I have.”
Danzig is actually refining those skills with former coach Rico Chiapparelli. He’d first worked with the well-regarded trainer years ago but then bounced around to other camps while Chiapparelli took a step back from instructing a full camp of fighters.
“This is what he told me,” Danzig said. “Instead of trying to have a team and have a bunch of fighters running around and doing all this stuff, he was like, ‘I would rather try to make one person great. Try to make one fighter great. Take a fighter that’s willing to try to be great and work with him and turn him into that.’ I’m all for it. … Really I’m just like his experiment right now. Not even experiment. I’m his work. I couldn’t be happier. A lot of people don’t know who he is, and that’s fine. I’m so grateful to be in the position I am. The guy’s a genius.”
Danzig figures he has at least six years left to become the best fighter he can be. He’s already a good one, but he believes he hasn’t yet reached his potential.
“I’m the first one willing to admit that I accepted mediocrity at some point,” Danzig said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve accomplished a lot. It’s really nice up here.’ I climbed the mountain like three quarters of the way. But it’s really, really hard. That last quarter of the mountain is really, really hard to climb. Do you want to stand here and look down and be like, ‘Wow, I made it really high. This is cool,’ and just give up there? Or do you want to dare to be great? … I’m going to become a world champion. That’s the difference. I’m at the point in my career where it’s all or nothing now.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:32:17).