In 2013, Chris Camozzi was choked out by Ronaldo Souza. This past April, Camozzi was offered an extremely short notice rematch against "Jacare" when the jiu jitsu master's original opponent pulled out.
Camozzi jumped at the chance, even though it meant short-notice weight cutting, no training camp, and taking on a dangerous fighter who was a tough style match up for him. One reason was that Camozzi wanted back into the UFC.
In 2014 he was dropped from the promotion, but had gotten back on track with two consecutive wins. A call back up to the big leagues is always exciting, but Camozzi mostly wanted revenge on Souza.
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"I wanted that fight really bad," he tells FOX Sports.
"I wanted the rematch on every level. I want to fight anyone who beats me, again. When you lose to somebody it eats at you. You should want that back. I wanted to avenge that loss, clean up the record, and get a second shot."
Despite wanting it so badly, Camozzi insists that he didn't let any pressure get to him. "With short notice fights, there's almost not enough time to get stressed," he explains.
"At the same time, with the average fight you go in there prepared. A lot of people get more stressed out if they are not prepared. But I was training hard for fights so I felt pretty prepared."
Unfortunately, the Colorado kickboxer lost the rematch to Souza, once more by submission. Just because he didn't put a lot of pressure on himself, going in, doesn't mean that the defeat didn't sting, of course.
"It definitely stirs at your confidence a little bit losing to him again," he admits.
"At the same time, I never had a full camp to prepare for him. I never had a chance to bring in high level jiu jitsu guys his size for a full camp and prepare myself in every which way. I feel like with proper preparation and time, it could go a lot different, but when an opportunity comes up, you have to jump at it."
Camozzi got another opportunity to impress on the big stage, last month, with a fight against Tom Watson. The fight was a good one, and Camozzi won it, by decision.
He didn't get the victory without having to dig very deep in the third round, however. Despite doing well in the first two rounds and tagging Watson over and again, the tough and skilled Brit would not slow down.
In the final round, Camozzi had to tap his conditioning reserves as well as use new grappling skills, to pull it out. "I was [exhausted]," he acknowledges.
"I talked to my coaches about it after the fight. I usually have great cardio. I don't think I've been that tired in a fight, before."
Camozzi would do well to remember that conditioning is a bit like bravery. Bravery isn't the absence of fear.
Rather, it is having the stuff to push through fear. Similarly, conditioning at the highest level of athletic competition isn't always about simply not being tired.
Instead, great conditioning is having enough in the tank to keep pusing forward effectively precisely when you're feeling exhausted.
Camozzi did indeed keep going, even while tired, and he used good wrestling take downs to seal the deal in his favor. "I've definitely been working on my wrestling a lot for a year, now," he says.
"I hired a new wrestling coach, he was actually [former UFC heavyweight champion] Shane Carwin's coach. In the past, when I would get taken down is where I was losing fights. So, we've done a lot of work and it's going great. I hadn't gotten a chance to show it much before. It isn't like you're going to see me shoot in on 'Jacare.' So, this was the first time where those skills got to be televised."
It was also the first time Camozzi had been able to win in the UFC since 2013. Though he'd dominated on regional shows in order to get the call back, he says that nothing feels as good as getting a 'W' on the big show.
"Yeah, there's nothing like winning in the UFC," he ends.
"I'd won in smaller shows, recently, but it wasn't as exciting. I have higher goals than that. When you win, and at that level, you see all your hard work pay off. You see it all pay off in one night."