MMA Sport issue
10 interview exclusive with Mac Danzig
Stars like Matt Serra,
Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Joe Stevenson and Keith
Jardine came from The Ultimate Fighter reality show and
now you can add one more...Mac Danzig. We caught up with
The Ultimate Fighter 6 winner.
Congratulations on winning The Ultimate Fighter season
6, how has life changed for you since the show?
Mac: I guess the biggest change has been all the media
attention... I get recognized in public all the time.
I'm not really into all that, so it's taken me by surprise,
but it's great to see and meet the fans on a regular basis.
I love them. A lot of the fans are really cool people.
What was the hardest thing about living in the TUF house?
Mac: Just the overall lack of freedom. It was hard not
being able to leave the house and being stuck around people
who I really didn't get along with. Many times I just
wanted to take a walk outside, but if you left the property,
you'd get kicked off. Another hard thing was not being
able to communicate with my family. I spent a lot of time
worrying about whether or not everything was ok back home.
Who was the most annoying person and why?
Mac: To me, probably Richie. He and I just had completely
different personalities and I wasn't into his vibe. A
lot of the other guys couldn't stand him either, but I
was the only one who really voiced my opinion... It's
all good now, though.
Were you content about the way you came across on the
Mac: Not really. But at the same time, it could have been
a lot worse. At this point, I'm not really worried about
what people think of me. I know who I am. My true friends
and family know as well, and that's all that matters.
That being said, I've gotten a lot of positive feedback
from the fans, which feels really good.
Would you do the experience again?
Mac: Absolutely not. The only way I'd do "The Ultimate
Fighter" again would be as a coach.
What have you been doing since your victory over Tommy
Mac: Just relaxing and taking care of some personal family
stuff. I'm planning on taking some trips next month if
I have the time.
What does Mac Danzig do for fun?
Mac: I'm really into photography and nature. I like to
get out of the city whenever I can and enjoy the wilderness.
Road trips are a lot of fun. I'm also into independent
films and music.
You won the competition at the welterweight division,
you've elected to move down to lightweight now?
Mac: I've always been a lightweight fighter. That's the
weight class I've fought most of my career in. I never
had any intentions of staying at welterweight past the
show. Those guys are too big for me.
DOWN EACH TUF 6 FIGHT
Joey Scarola: This fight was the very
first fight on the show and happened just 4 days into
the whole experience. I didn't have much nervousness going
in because once Hughes asked me to fight first, I figured
'Hey, this is what I'm here for, let's do it.' I had seen
Joey spar in the evaluations and I wasn't sweating his
stand-up. I figured I'd knock him out, but like most guys,
he shot-in on me and once we got to the ground, I knew
I'd do well there too. There is a huge difference in effective
grappling for MMA and sport-style BJJ. Joey didn't like
the strikes on the ground and that's what set up the triangle
I was confident going in. John's style played right into
my hands. My biggest strength is countering someone who's
just looking for takedowns. This was one of those fights
where I never worried about my cardio, or had any thoughts
during the fight other than technique and the task at
hand. That's a good feeling, and the fight went flawlessly.
2: I was more nervous for this fight than any
other fight in my career. It actually took place on the
very last day of the show's taping. Every single minute
of the six weeks, all you can think about is going home,
but the four semi-finalists couldn't relax until the very
last day, because the biggest fight of our lives was happening
right then. I also didn't want to lose to someone I just
beat in convincing fashion a couple weeks earlier. All
the stresses of the show cumulated into that one morning
and I think it really showed during the fight. I was very
cautious not to get caught with any of his wild strikes.
I really thought the fight sucked and I wasn't happy with
it while it was happening but I did what I had to do to
secure a win. I felt I had him beat mentally, as was the
case with Joey and then Tommy in the finals.
Having the benefit of training with Tommy for six weeks
with Team Hughes, I knew his biggest weakness was being
on his back. I really felt that I could beat him in any
area of the fight, but if I got a takedown, it would be
over quick. All the talk he did about how much stronger
he supposedly was than me and how he was going to overpower
me never came to fruition. I think Tommy has a lot to
learn about fighting in general. I always thought that
we were friends but I guess he never liked me, or at least
he convinced himself that he didn't like me to motivate
himself for the fight. That doesn't make much sense to
me. I never like to have any ill feelings towards the
person I fight. That's bad energy you don't need. He wouldn't
shake hands with me or say 'hi' the week of the fight,
even though we had been roommates for six weeks. He had
this whole "tough guy" routine. I think he's
just immature. Whatever his problem is, it kinda pissed
me off, and I brought a little bit of that anger into
the fight. All the strength in the world won't help you
if you don't have the technique to back it up. The fight
went just the way I planned and it was a huge relief to
put an end to that chapter of my life.
Mmasports: You've been around for a while; it's
been a long road for you, just how tough was it to get
here? Were there times when you wanted to give your MMA
Mac: Yes, there were many times that I considered leaving
MMA. I got to the point where I could barely survive working
a part time job and training full time. It's rough enough
to be a fighter for a long time, but when you're broke
for years and years, it's hard to keep the love sometimes.
There are some organizations out there that aren't good
for the sport. They will pay fighters garbage and expect
everything in return. I got stuck in a contract with one
of those organizations and I paid for it. I think it's
all a part of the journey and you have to take the good
with the bad. I've been at the lowest point with MMA and
I think that's a valuable thing to go through. I think
it gives me the advantage of not taking my current success
Tell us a little bit about the journey you've taken to
get to this point?
Mac: I've always been the type of person who dedicates
themselves completely to one goal. Whenever there was
something I felt passionate about, it consumed me. Fighting
became my passion after the first 6 months of training
and after a year, when a friend of mine (who was also
fighting at the time) decided to move to Los Angeles to
pursue full time training, I followed suit. His Aunt offered
me her garage for a few weeks until I found a place. I
had quit my job in Pennsylvania and drove to California
with a few of my possessions. I struggled just to make
enough money to eat at first, but with the help of fellow
fighters who helped me find work and my dedication to
training, things slowly got better over the years. Although
I didn't get as many fights early on as I would have liked
to, I trained consistently all the time, so I was always
progressing. I had some bad experiences with an organization
that held me under an exclusive contract, and didn't let
me take better opportunities that were offered, but once
I got out of that situation, things worked out. Now here
I am, 7 years after I started, with a great spot in the
biggest MMA organization in the world. I couldn't be happier.
What advice would you give to an MMA fighter trying to
make a name for themselves?
Mac: Just be yourself and keep fighting as much as you
can when you're starting out. Don't go out of your way
to try and market yourself by being someone you're not.
But most of all, don't let any fight organization or manager
take advantage of you. Remember, it's your name and health
on the line every time you step into the ring, not theirs.
Don't ever let anyone make you feel like they're doing
you a favor. A lot of people will act as if they're giving
you the opportunity of a lifetime, when all they're really
doing is taking advantage of you.
What's next for you? Do you know when you are fighting
Mac: I'm not sure when exactly my next fight will be,
or against who. All I know is that I have three fights
scheduled for the year. There are so many highly skilled
fighters in the lightweight division, I don't think I'll
ever have an easy fight again in my career.
Is there anyone in particular you'd like to fight?
Mac: No, I just want to fight great fighters and have
great matches. I'll fight whoever they put in front of
Now that you're fighting at the top level, what are your
Mac: I'd like to become world champion one day, but really
all I want is to become the best fighter my potential
will allow me to be, while making a living doing it.
Any last comments?
Mac: I want to give a sincere thank you to all of my fans.
The support each and every one of you sends means so much
to me... I plan on making all of you proud in the years