As Strikeforce prepares to descend upon Cincinnati and showcase the semi-finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix a local fighter looks to capitalize on the opportunity to showcase his skills in his back yard.
Chris Mierzwiak is slated to battle Dominique Steele on the preliminary card that takes place at the U.S. Bank Arena this Saturday. Mierzwiak is a product of Team Jorge Gurgel and has a 2-0 professional record to go along with an impressive 7-2 mark as an amateur.
Chris took some time to answer a few questions as he looks to notch another win and further his MMA career. Mierzwiak is managed by the good folks at the Matthew Wellington Group and you can check out his profile on their website at www.mwgmma.com.
Pro MMA Now: How as your training changed coming through the amateur ranks and progressing into an undefeated professional record up to this point?
Chris Mierzwiak: My training has pretty much stayed the same since I started at JG. Everyday of the week I have two practices. Some days I take classes to continue learning technique and other days are more focused on live rounds and conditioning. I’d say the one thing that has changed the most is my schedule outside training.The bulk of my time training there the last three years I was a full time student taking classes at Miami University. So on top of my training I was driving 45 minutes each way daily. After I graduated I moved a lot closer so it’s easier for me to stay longer when necessary.
Pro MMA Now: Your last two fights have been with one of Kentucky’s best promotions in Absolute Action MMA. With their level of professionalism and exposure do you feel those two fights have helped garner some attention and if so do you feel that they assisted in preparing you for your chance for the national exposure?
Chris Mierzwiak: Fighting for Absolute Action has been great. They always have big crowds and my competition there have been tough guys. As far as comparing it to how Strikeforce is going to be, I really have no clue. This is a big step and I’ve never had this much exposure. No matter who I’m fighting for right now, whether it’s AAMMA or Strikeforce, I think im in the same position of climbing the ladder and working my career up to my end goal.
Pro MMA Now: Your opponent is also an Absolute Action MMA vet with his last outing being a very impressive win over George Oiler. How familiar are you with Dominique Steele and what are your expectations of his game plan
Chris Mierzwiak: I’ve seen Dom fight a few times and I know he’s a tough and athletic guy. He comes out explosive off the right off the bat and I know that he can be very dangerous if he gets into a dominant position. I don’t expect anything different from him this fight.
Pro MMA Now: Those that know speak of your high level of training and we know of the great talent at JG. Tell us what your training camp has consisted of and how you feel going into the fight.
Chris Mierzwiak: I’ve been preparing for this fight for awhile now. My training camp has been pretty consistent with how things have been run in the past. I will say that I’ve added a little more conditioning to this camp than I have in the past.
Pro MMA Now: As the local guy on the card fighting a local guy, do you feel any pressure representing the area on such a huge stage?
Chris Mierzwiak: I haven’t really felt any added pressure for this fight. I always try to stay relaxed and calm going into fights and this one hasn’t really been different. I know it’s a huge opportunity to further myself but for now I just want to keep my mind off of that portion and focus on going out there and fighting to my full potential.
Pro MMA Now : Tell us about your sponsors, gym and anyone you would like to thank and promote.
Chris Mierzwiak: I’d really like to thank all my coaches and training partners at JG. My jiu jitsu and overall technique coaches Jorge Gurgel and Jon Stutzman have really given me the tools I need to do well in this sport. I’d also like to thank my sadistic conditioning coach for this camp, Matt Dunlap. He’s really helped get me in shape so I can implement those tools no matter how long the fight goes. Before I had him put me through work outs I had never thrown up from any kind of conditioning. I’d also like to thank my sponsors JG MMA, Ayash Inc. and Powerstation Gym.