Elvis Mutapcic loves a challenge.
So when Maximum Fighting Championship started promoting its Middleweight titleholder as the "World's Most Dangerous Middleweight" in advance of Mutapcic's upcoming title defense against Sam Alvey this Friday night (Feb. 15, 2013), he used it as motivation.
If you don't think he's one of the most dangerous middleweights in the world, he'd like to change your mind.
Mutapcic has looked ferocious in his young career thus far, destroying recent TUF Brazil middleweight winner Cezar Ferreira in just 25 seconds and stopping both of his MFC opponents, claiming the vacant MFC title after leg kicking Joseph Henle so hard in his last bout that he was forced to stop due to a knee injury.
"The King" spoke to MMAmania.com during a guest appearance on The Verbal Submission about not being a true champion until he defends against Alvey, improving on his title-winning performance and potentially becoming a free agent in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How does it feel right now, defending a title compared to challenging for the vacant title before?
Elvis Mutapcic: They say you're not a true champion until you defend it. It feels good, but it feels the same. There hasn't been a whole lot of added pressure, I just don't consider myself the champ until I defend it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It had to feel great to have the title wrapped around your waist. Why do you think it is that fighters can't truly appreciate it until they defend the belt?
Elvis Mutapcic: Well, like you said, it's great getting the strap, but everybody can get lucky once. Defending it puts it out there that you actually are the champion and you reassure and show people that you're here and "this is mine."
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's start with your last fight. Even though you went out there and took care of business, winning the fight after landing some brutal leg kicks. Despite the stoppage victory, you actually weren't that happy with your last performance. Why is that?
Elvis Mutapcic: It was just the way I performed. I'm capable of a lot more than I showed out there in my last fight. I guess I was being hesitant and I wasn't closing the distance right. I guess I didn't feel very threatened by Henle's power. I didn't feel he had the knockout power to finish me and I don't think I performed great. I could have been more aggressive. I think he won the second round which shouldn't have happened. He was fighting smart.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You won the title after injuring Henle's knee with a pretty brutal low kick. Would you have rather knocked him out cold with a head kick if you could go back in time?
Elvis Mutapcic: Absolutely. I never want to injure a contender for a long period of time. That's not how guys make money. If a guy is across the cage from me, I'll do what it takes to win the fight, but you never want to see that.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're facing Sam Alvey this Friday night, but MFC is promoting you as the World's Most Dangerous Middleweight. They have a case considering what you've been pulling off as of late, but do you feel like that adds a lot of extra pressure?
Elvis Mutapcic: Not at all. If MFC thinks I'm the world's most dangerous middleweight, that's great and all, but that's in their eyes. Until I prove so, I consider myself a middleweight champion. Instead, the title gives me motivation to push harder and it gives me another goal, to get people other than MFC to think that's the truth. A lot of guys get caught up in their hype but to me, I try to feed off of it and use every opportunity I can to motivate myself.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're facing another veteran of The Ultimate Fighter this Friday night. From what I've read, you actually tried out for The Ultimate Fighter twice in the past and didn't advance past the first round of screening which is pretty crazy considering the skills you possess. Now that you're taking these TUF alumni out, does that motivate you to beat them up and prove to the TUF executives that they never should have let you go in the first place?
Elvis Mutapcic: It definitely is a sweet feeling knowing I got passed up and now I get to show the world, "Look what I can do!" I'm not saying there isn't a lot of great fighters on the show or that have come off the show, but they look for personality and they're just trying to make a TV show. That's not me. The only part of me is that I'll fight my behind off whenever I step into the cage. It's definitely a sweet feeling to beat those guys.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Sam Alvey fought on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter as a welterweight and didn't have the best results. He's had prior history of success in Bellator as a middleweight, defeating Karl Amoussou and giving Vitor Vianna a run for his money. Do you think size could be important in this fight?
Elvis Mutapcic: Absolutely not. Alvey cut a huge amount of weight to make welterweight and that's one of the reasons he didn't perform as everyone expected him to. I think he's more dangerous than what he showed on TUF. People might think this is an easier fight for me, but I'm not expecting anything but the best Sam Alvey, the guy who gave fighters hell in Bellator and I'd be disrespecting myself if I wasn't bracing for the best Sam Alvey. I'm expecting a guy that's even better than the one from Bellator. If not, I'd be a fool. Fighters improve every day.
I'm out there to do my job and that's to knock his head off his shoulders.