The year was 2003, and it was the beginning of a mixed martial arts career for a professional fighter from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Krzysztof Soszynski (21-9-1) made his debut into the sport seven years ago, and as with most professional fighters he has experienced ups and downs along the way.
Moving forward to 2007, Soszysnki has experienced a high level of success without many downs. In the past three years, he has produced seven wins with merely one loss.
With that in mind, he is now 31 fights into his career and continues to make strides in his game. Something had to change for his career to continue to prosper and he made the necessary changes along the way.
“The first two, three years in the sport, the mental aspect of it I had none. I was very negative and that all goes back to never being competive growing up. I was never confrontational and I had never been in a street fight, or never competed in an individual sport. So it took me a while to get it figured out in my head and that was through meeting with Shawn Tompkins and Bas Rutten. Two guys that are very positive and always making you think the best. Those guys really helped me along with my mental game,” Krzysztof explained.
“The second thing was, I didn’t just stay at one place and train. I didn’t just stay in Winnipeg to train under one team, I went and floated around. Trained with team Tompkins and through him I met Bas Rutten, through Bas I met Dan Henderson. I’ve had the chance to go a lot of places and train with some of the best fighters in world. Just making the right moves and training with the right people.”
Krzysztof Soszynski has placed the negativity behind himself and it showed in his last performance inside of the octagon at UFC 110. Stephan Bonnar was the opponent and leading up to the fight, he made it known that he was going to try and mentally break Krzysztof.
However, saying and doing can be two very different tasks.
During the fight Soszysnki was the one who appeared to mentally break his opponent, and at the beginning of each round round, Bonnar refused to touch gloves when Krzysztof signaled to do so.
"Going into that fight with Stephan Bonnar, I seen that he said he was going to break me and that I had been broken before. That’s true, I had been broken in the past before, but now it’s a lot different. I wanted to go in there and show him that I could go toe to toe with him. I did that, and I think it shocked and surprised him,” he said. “I feel that over the last 9-10 fights that I’ve had my mental game has been good. Regardless of wins or losses, I was always thinking positive things during those fights.”
It appears that the old saying, “Iron sharpens Iron” is indeed correct.
Case in point, Soszynski seems to just be getting warmed up with his career and that can be attributed to the high-level training partners and coaches he has surrounded himself with.
“I’ve been working with Lew Polley, Heath Sims, Mark Munoz and all his boys, Phil Davis at Alliance. I’m so fortunate to of been able to come out to California and train with so many great guys. With Munoz, Polley, Davis, Mo Lawall is also in that camp not to mention Dan Henderson at Team Quest.”
In addition to his high-caliber training partners helping him grow as a fighter, he also has a great striking coach guiding him as well.
“Ed Buckley is a fantastic coach and he’s the one that has gotten my kicking game to where it’s at. Before the Brandon Vera fight, I don’t think I had ever thrown a kick in a fight before. After that fight, we started working on putting my kicks together with my punches and it really showed in my last fight with Stephan Bonnar. We’ve been working on my kicks a lot and I’m able to kick to the head now, which I’ve never been able to do before. It’s nice to have an extra part added to my game. Each day I’m learning something new from my coaches and training partners and I’m so thankful to have those guys around.”
With that being said, the training and tutelage he had and continues to receive has payed huge dividends thus far and it showed at UFC 110 against Bonnar.
The light heavyweight came into the fight in extraordinary shape and it allowed him to be ultra aggressive in implementing his gameplan and possibly exploiting a few weaknesses of his opponent.
“From watching a lot of tape on him, his style is always the same in every fight. Very aggressive, always in your face and he has a nice overhand right, couple nice kicks, that spinning stuff he likes to do and he has a good ground game,” Krzysztof explained.
“But being in great conditioning shape is the key to this whole sport. Yeah, maybe you’re opponent has a little better skills but if you are physically ready to give 110% and push hard for the whole fight then the chances are that you’re going to win that fight. The shape I was in for the last fight was probably the best shape I’ve ever been in my life and I did exactly the same thing conditioning wise this time. Everything has gone according to plan and I’m ready in all the areas.”
If everything goes according to the plan Saturday night inside of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where the fight will take place, Soszynski will take another step forward in a sport that he truly loves.
“It’s just an honor to be fighting for such a great organization and slowly becoming a contender in the 205 lb. division and hopefully one day, contend for the title. The fact that all my fights in the UFC have been on pay-per-view and TV means that I’m doing something well and that I’m going to continue on,” he said. "It’s absolutely amazing and I have a model “hard work pays off” and I absolutely believe that. I believe that everything happens for a reason and you know my hard work and sacrifices that I’ve made are paying off. I want this sport to grow, become great and I want help be an ambassador for the sport.”