Former UFC middleweight Chris Camozzi has put his MMA career on hold to sign with GLORY Kickboxing.
Camozzi, 30, broke the news to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin confirmed to MMA Plus that Camozzi is signed to a multi-fight contract.
“I’m not leaving MMA, but I am going to make a little bit of a switch–to GLORY kickboxing,” Camozzi said. “I’m pretty excited about that. I’ve always been a huge fan of kickboxing. I’ve been a big fan of GLORY. Anybody that follows me knows that I go to a ton of their shows. So we finally came to a deal and I’m excited to start my kickboxing career and put MMA on the side a little bit.”
— Chris Camozzi (@ChrisCamozzi) July 24, 2017
The 11-year veteran was asked about the reason for the switch to kickboxing.
“Why not,” he said. “Anybody that sees my style, all of my losses in MMA have come from getting wrestled and grappling. I’m going to continue to be a martial artist. I’m going to continue to train those things, but I’m going to put a big focus on kickboxing. I love it. I’ve been doing it, God, I don’t know, 13, 14 years now. It’s just time to try it out. GLORY wasn’t around when I first started. So there wasn’t the option of kickboxing. In Colorado it was all MMA.
Holding a 23-14 career record in MMA, the Colorado native lost his last three fights in the Octagon and finished with a 9-10 record in the UFC. Camozzi revealed that he had no remaining fights on his UFC contract and was looking for a different kind of challenge going forward.
“They [UFC] kind of knew that we were going to explore some options, so we parted ways. They were always great to me. They wished me well and we are going to move on.”
Camozzi isn’t done with MMA altogether, though.
“We’ll see,” he said, when asked about when he’d fight in MMA again. “I’m going to put the focus on GLORY now. I still have a deep love for MMA and we will see where I go from there. There are a lot of other organizations out there now besides the UFC now. For right here, right now it’s kickboxing.”
Aside from being a fan of GLORY, Camozzi became familiar with the promotion through his Factory-X teammate Dustin Jacoby, who competes in GLORY’s middleweight division. Camozzi has cornered Jacoby several times. And he also met Franklin several times since the two of them both live in Denver, Colo. The interest in him fighting for GLORY, Camozzi says, was “mutual.”
“I’ve gotten to know everybody there for the last couple of years,” he explained. “They are all good people. It’s a great organization and they have some killers over there.”
“We are very excited to have Chris in GLORY,” Franklin told MMA Plus. “He’s a stand-up fighter and a stand-up guy. In the UFC he’s won fights with his striking, so it made sense to bring him into a stand-up organization like GLORY.”
Camozzi said he didn’t negotiate with any other kickboxing promotions before signing with GLORY.
“GLORY is the only one as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I don’t think most people can even name other kickboxing organizations. I feel like GLORY brings in the best fighters from around the world and they do it right. Their shows are awesome to go to. The production of everything is great. It was just a good fit.”
The former UFC middleweight said a December date is a possibility for his GLORY debut, but “nothing is set yet,” he explained. As for an opponent, the fighter who once took on Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza on two-week notice said he’ll “take on all comers.”
“I never turned down fights in the UFC. GLORY knows that about me. I won’t be in there if I’m not going to fight the best. So whoever they want to give me I’m down.”