Mike Massenzio on his UFC 136 win and NY Comic Con appearance – Exclusive

Mike Massenzio weighs in for UFC 136. Photo credit: ProMMAnow.com

As he stood across the cage from Steve Cantwell (7-5) at UFC 136Mike Massenzio (13-5) knew that he had to win at all costs.

It had been widely speculated that jobs were on the line in this fight, and by the end of the first round, Massenzio’s looked to be the most in peril.

But despite losing the first round after getting rocked by a clean right from Cantwell, Massenzio had survived, and that was all that mattered. He still had a chance. 

Then, after making some adjustments to his striking game, Massenzio was able to take back control of the fight from Cantwell and win the second and third rounds on the judge’s scorecards.

Massenzio had won the decision and in the process had shown the world just how determined his fighting spirit is. 

ProMMAnow.com’s Josh Cross recently spoke with Massenzio about his UFC 136 win, what he was doing at the New York Comic Con and what’s next for the New Jersey native.

PRO MMA NOW: Going back to your UFC 136 win against Steve Cantwell, did you feel any pressure going into that fight that you had to win to probably stay with the organization?

MIKE MASSENZIO: You know I just kind of take it fight by fight. I’m blessed and very grateful to be in the UFC and I try not to think about any of that stuff. I try to keep that blocked out. My main focus was to fight Steve Cantwell and obviously my goal was to win and to win in a dominant fashion, and I felt that I did that.

PRO MMA NOW: Can you take us through the fight and talk about how you were able to make it through a tough first round and ultimately win the fight?

MIKE MASSENZIO: I would say that in the opening two or three minutes of the first round I felt like we were both trying to find our range, but I just felt like my timing was good. I felt really well. Things were going good for me, but I just made a little mistake. I dropped my hand a little bit and circled the wrong way being a lefty against a righty and so I kind of came back into his power. He just came up over the top and clipped me. Then it was just survival mode. I just had to dig down deep and find it in my soul to just keep pushing through and I weathered the storm. Going into the second round I just remembered saying, ‘I’m not going to let this happen. This is my fight.’ So I wanted to just come out and I wanted to put it on him. I felt that as I was doing that and pushing on him, he was breaking down more and more, so I just turned it into a brawl. I just tried to physically and mentally break him down.

PRO MMA NOW: What was going through your mind while you were waiting for the decision? Were you confident that you had won or were you nervous at all leaving it for the judges to score?

MIKE MASSENZIO: I wasn’t doubtful at all. You know anything can happen and you never want to leave it to the judges’ scorecards, but I felt in my heart that I had won the fight. I was really at peace with myself and I felt that I had put on a great performance. I went out there and pretty much for the first time in my career I stood and traded in a fight with a world-class striker. So I was very happy and pleased and I felt that it was going to go my way.

PRO MMA NOW: What would you say that this win meant for you and your career? Was it that it probably saved your job with the UFC or did it mean anything more to you than that?

MIKE MASSENZIO: Obviously winning keeps me in the UFC. It’s been my lifelong dream to fight for them, but the win went a lot deeper than that. I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve wrestled since I was four-years-old and I’ve had a lot of struggles. I really could have quit a long time ago, and a lot of guys probably would have given up, but I just kept pushing forward. Even with doubters and haters I just stayed focused and this fight meant a lot. This was really big for me especially when I had a lot of injuries. In 2008 I sat out for almost two years after my C.B. Dollaway fight, so this was definitely an emotional fight for me.

PRO MMA NOW: So what’s next for you after this win?

MIKE MASSENZIO: You know I want to fight as soon as possible. Even with the fight only being a week and a half ago I feel great. I’m healed up and I’m going to go back in the gym next week. Whatever they give me I’m going to take. I really don’t have anybody in particular that I want to fight. I’m not wanting to call anybody out and I’m not in any position to either. So whatever they’re going to do, I’m going to do it, and obviously each fight is one step closer to my goal.

PRO MMA NOW: Now you were in New York recently for the New York Comic Con. Can you talk about why you were there and what that experience was like?

MIKE MASSENZIO: I was at Comic Con signing autographs and taking pictures. I’m from this area so it was really good to meet a lot of people and see people who have been following me and my career. I was there with my main sponsor Palooka who has a comic book. So with their first issue coming out and obviously with my big comeback we just teamed up together to get my name out there as well as to promote their new comic book. It was just a great environment. I’ve never been to one of those things so it was definitely a great experience.

PRO MMA NOW: What would you say would be the best way for fans to keep track of what you’re up to and what you’ve got coming up?

MIKE MASSENZIO: Yeah I’ve got a Twitter (@MikeMassenzio). You can also check out my Facebook page, and then TeamIronHorseMMA.com is my gym. You can get all kinds of updates and stuff like that there.

PRO MMA NOW: Is there anyone you want to thank or sponsors you want to plug at all?

MIKE MASSENZIO: I definitely want to thank Palooka.com, Clinch Gear, Biodiagnostic Labs, and just everyone that has been supportive of me and who believed in me during my ups and downs. I also want to thank all of my coaches and all of my partners from Team Iron Horse MMA.

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