There are times when we watch a fighter early in their career and you can literally see that they just don’t entirely believe in their skillset as a fighter….just yet.
Then…one night they go out there & they put on a brilliant performance against someone good….and everyone realizes it, but them.
Then….they fight again, and they have yet another solid performance. At that moment, everyone notices it and that’s when their friends and coaches start to treat them differently.
That is the Camozzi story.
If the name sounds familiar, then you’re probably thinking about UFC Middleweight, Chris Camozzi.
This story is not about Chris Camozzi….this story is about Brian Camozzi….the younger brother of Chris Camozzi, and one of the best all-around fighters that you’ve never heard of….till now.
Training out of the esteemed Factory X gym in Englewood, Brian Camozzi’s head coach, Marc Montoya describes the evolution of young Brian as a “long evolutionary process”. It almost seemed as though Brian was just “going through the motions” of the grueling business of MMA fighting.
Sure, he was in the gym regularly and if you’d stop in there, many times you’d see Brian working on his technique quietly in solitude. I distinctly remember seeing that almost everytime I came into Factory X….there was Brian working on his technique by himself…on the bags and off of them too. His demeanor was always quiet and very calm, but his motions were very calculated and his footwork was always being worked on.
Then it happened….that complete shift in mindset and brilliant execution of a new, confident and highly skilled fighter was about to unfold in front of everyone. Brian fought (now current teammate) Josh Cavan on a cold Friday night in Denver in front of a packed house at PFC 5. It was Examiner’s pick for Fight of the Year in 2014 and it was incredibly entertaining with amazing back and forth action by both men. Both fighters put on an electrifying display of heart, toughness, great coaching and execution of their gameplans.
But to me watching Brian Camozzi that night….he was different. His performance that night was a much bigger picture than just a good night at the fights.
This was Brian Camozzi’s announcement to the rest of Colorado that he is now here to compete against the best guys Colorado has and he’s bringing a big bag of skills for everyone to see.
You see, Camozzi is known as being one of the most technical strikers in Colorado. However, we watched Brian become a nasty submission artist that night. Even though Cavan initiated the takedown game…it was Camozzi that was on the attack from the bottom position. He was allowing the “flow” of ground fighting to take over. Here I was expecting to watch a striking ninja, and instead, I was watching an incredibly well versed ground fighter going from one submission attempt to another in rapid succession. Camozzi lost a very controversial split decision but looked incredible that night. Even though he allegedly lost that fight on paper…Camozzi broke through with an all-world performance.
Fast forward 7 months….and Camozzi gets the call to take on another good ground fighter in Brian Maronek as SCL’s Main Event for a shot at newly crowned 170 lb champion, Matt Cox’s title down the road.
And then it happened again…. Camozzi yet again showed us something different. He looked much more serious coming into the cage than he’d ever looked before. You could see the transformation in his eyes…..and you could feel the tension in his air, it was absolutely palpable. He was fired up like never before and went out there and scored one of the most devastating and frightening knockouts we’ve ever seen in Colorado within the first 90 seconds of the fight. Immediately after the knockout, Camozzi ran across the cage screaming in a primal elation and punched the cage padding HARD! It was absolutely crystal clear to everyone in the crowd at that very moment….this was a new Brian Camozzi…a very confident and dangerous Brian Camozzi at that.
Fast forward again another 8 months this time and Camozzi was now offered the SCL 170lb title shot against the reigning champion, Matt Cox.
Camozzi was actually much smaller than the champion Cox when they stepped into the cage that night. It almost looked as though the two were in different weight classes. However, in this day and age, size means nothing anymore in regards to a fight when you have speed, skills, technique and of course experience on your side.
Camozzi stepped into the cage again with that same look in his eyes that we’d seen in his last fight, and yet again shined brilliantly with a very high level armbar finish of the champion, Matt Cox within the first 70 seconds of the fight. Again he did it and yet again putting his ever developing ground game (under the tutelage of Professors: Chase Hackett & former Navy Special Clearance Team veteran and Dean Lister Black Belt, J.J. Pugsley) on display to take the 170lb SCL title. Keep in mind, Camozzi was known as a striker….but now he makes that same statement of not being “just a striker”…he’s now a confident, modern day mixed martial artist….and he is damn good at it.
Remember seeing GSP fight back when he was climbing the ranks? Remember how his performances became exponentially better everytime he fought…..this is exactly what we are seeing from Brian Camozzi right now as he begins his climb. His climb is not only a climb into that “next level”, but his climb will be dominant in that level as long as he believes in himself….and our Colorado MMA community will have a front row seat to see his natural progression take shape.
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