UFC 140: John Makdessi Ready to Get Past Dennis Hallman

Leon HorneAnalyst IDecember 7, 2011

Photo provided by Zuffa llc., UFC.com
Photo provided by Zuffa llc., UFC.com

John "The Bull" Makdessi (9-0-0) a product of Tristar gym, the home of Georges St-Pierre, has taken full advantage of the opportunity afforded to him in his first two UFC fights. A spinning-back-fist-knockout victory over Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck alumnus Kyle Watson in front of a record breaking 55,000 fans at Toronto's Rogers Centre for UFC 129 signaled this young lightweight's arrival in one of the toughest divisions in the sport.

"It was textbook perfect, I was happy I was able to showcase that in the fight," Makdessi said on his spinning-back-fist knockout of Watson.

Makdessi is ready to continue building on his momentum as he is slated to take on mixed martial arts veteran Dennis Hallman in Toronto once again for UFC 140 this December 10.

Makdessi has showcased his stand up thus far in the UFC and now he has a chance to go up against one of the better wrestlers and submission guys in Hallman.

"I've fought some good wrestler before" Makdessi told Bleacher Report. "Fighting is fighting, everything I train at the gym with great grapplers, I had Mark Bocek come down, he's an excellent ground guy and I spar with him."

Makdessi does come from a kickboxing base and despite not having seen his grappling skills, he feels he is ready to go wherever the fight goes. Tristar training partner and MFC fighter Kajan Johnson doesn't even know if Makdessi will have to showcase his ground skills because his takedown defense is so good.

"Makdessi wins [against Hallman] for sure, he's looking really good, his takedown defense is retarded," Johnson told Bleacher Report. "When I do go against him man, that guy's legs are so heavy, it's unreal."

Although he works his ground game extensively and is ready to go wherever the fight takes him, he is a stand up fighter at heart.

"I can do Jiu-Jitsu every day for the next 10 years and I know that in my heart I am a striker," Makdessi said. "I'm there to entertain the crowd and you do what you're good at I guess."

"I always want to give a good exciting fight for the fans," Makdessi said.

Looking for the knockout at all costs isn't want Makdessi is all about. He wants to fight smart, but if he sees an opening he'll take it and his attitude and style of fighting is one that the fans will always appreciate. The same cannot be said for some of the other styles out there.

"A lot of guys they stall you know? That's why me I find it frustrating," Makdessi said.

When asked about bringing in rules like the yellow card that used to exist in Pride Fighting Championships, Makdessi agreed.

"It makes sense, if it makes a fight more exciting, if it pushes the pace and gives the fans what they want, of course why not?"

Obviously grappling has its place in the sport and if you are a true fan of mixed martial arts you have to appreciate the art of grappling. When a grappler is working towards getting dominant positions to do damage or look for submissions, there is obviously no problem.

Makdessi was getting at the situations where a solid wrestler, for example, just holds you down and does nothing to inflict damage or look for the finish. This depends on the referee because some refs will allow guys to stall a lot longer than others.

This hasn't been a problem yet for Makdessi thus far, sporting seven finishes in his nine victories and I'm sure he expects to keep it that way as he continues to build himself in the UFC and work towards an eventual title shot.

The lightweight division is a bit of a log jam right now with a lot of guys hovering around the top looking for a shot at UFC gold, but that doesn't phase Makdessi.

"My management team, that's their job, my job is to train and to fight," said Makdessi. "They know my goals."

Makdessi is going to keep winning and taking the fights his management sets up for him, which will eventually lead to his shot for the top.

"Right now my focus is on Dennis Hallman," Makdessi said.

It is still early in his UFC career and in life it is usually a good thing to worry about the task at hand as oppose to thinking too far ahead.

The bottom line is, if Makdessi keeps winning and continues to do it in the way that he wants, which is to put on exciting fights, the UFC will notice and the fans will appreciate it. It won't be too long before we see him in the upper echelons of the division.

"I really appreciate everybody's support, every time I fight they are always in my heart," Makdessi said to the fans, sponsors and everyone who has supported him throughout his career.


Leon Horne is a writer for Bleacher Report and is part of the B/R MMA interview team