After fighting professionally for seven years at lightweight with much success, Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki is set to make his featherweight debut at Bellator 64 in Windsor on April 6th.
The former IFL and WEC contender is 18-3 in his career at lightweight, but has decided to make the shift to 145 pounds for his upcoming fight against Mike "The Marine" Richman. In my opinion, it is a very wise and exciting decision for the future of this young, elite fighter.
I was able to chat with Horodecki last week at the Adrenaline Training Center in London, Ontario.
"First fight at featherweight, yes. All my fights have been at 155 but I need to make that transition, you know. I feel making 155 was too easy and, you know what, these guys at 155 are getting really, really big. There's no reason I shouldn't be a contender at 145." Horodecki told Bleacher Report MMA.
Horodecki is and has been a top contender in Canada at 155 pounds throughout his seven-year professional career. During his time in the IFL and WEC, he also tangled with some of the best lightweights in the world, such as Anthony Njoukuani, Danny Downes and UFC contender Donald Cerrone.
In his next fight on April 6th, he faces Minnesota native, former cast member of the UFC's The Ultimate Fighter and U.S. Marine Mike Richman. Facing the United States' elite tough guys is nothing new to Horodecki.
"Actually, my last opponent, Mike Corey, is a Marine or former Marine with the military, and I have also had another Marine in the IFL, Josh Odom, that I competed against."
This time it will be a bit different for the London, Ontario native and part owner of Adrenaline Training Center.
"I've done pretty well, they keep lining me up with these Marines, but this time they're on our territory on Canadian soil so I got my fans with me."
Horodecki defeated Odom via unanimous decision, and fought Corey to a controversial draw last November in a fight that many thought he had done enough to win. He remains undefeated against the United States servicemen.
Corey has since dropped down to featherweight as well, and is currently in the second round of the Bellator FW tournament. Horodecki is watching the tournament closely, and shared his thoughts on who he thinks may come out on top.
"A close friend of mine, Ronnie Mann, was fighting in that tournament, fought Mike Corey, who I was training with the week previous so it was kinda a tough one to watch, but Mike did really good, he's a grinder. He's got a tough fight next as he's fighting Daniel Strauss in Windsor. It's going to be on the same card as me. He's kind of the sleeper right now"
Corey trains at Team Curran in Chicago with head trainer and MMA veteran Jeff Curran, as well as current Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran, who recently won the title with an incredible highlight reel knockout of Joe Waren.
Team Curran shares a great training relationship with Horodecki and Team Tompkins, dating back a few years. Horodecki touched on the history of that valuable relationship.
"We've been training together for the past seven or eight years, going back and forth. When Shawn moved to Las Vegas it kind of slowed down a bit. But now we've decided to get the team going again, the connection and myself and Mark Hominick made the trip out last week."
"It's great to have that alliance again. We are going out there again in a week, and then Jeff Curran's coming back and he's gonna be cornering myself in my fight at Bellator in Windsor. He's also going to be cornering Mark Hominick in UFC Atlanta in April."
I'm looking forward to Horodecki's debut on April 6th, and a steady climb up the featherweight division in 2012.
Photography Courtesy of Randi Lotsberg Photography/MMAOntario
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, MMA Editor at CKSN.ca and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca