Who's ready to get "Hammered?"
After a frustrating 2-2 run in the WEC, Chris Horodecki makes his television return tonight at Bellator 47 in his home province of Ontario.
He accepted a fight with the promotion on very short notice after a myriad of coincidental circumstances left him available while Bellator was looking to replace a scrapped title fight.
"The Polish Hammer," just 23 years old, is still considered a solid prospect in the lightweight division and he's looking to get back in the public eye with a stellar performance tonight against promising California grappler Chris Saunders.
Horodecki is a Shawn Tompkins disciple and he plans on spreading the word tonight. He spoke with MMAmania.com about how this opportunity fell into his lap, his goals for 2011 and what he plans on doing to Chris Saunders tonight.Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): First question Chris, you were scheduled for that Border Wars fight and that fight fell through and this Bellator fight almost fell into your lap after Patricio Freire got injured and couldn't fight Joe Warren for the title. Can you talk about how it all happened?
Chris Horodecki: Yeah, it was kind of a whirlwind of events that went down with the Border Wars show. I had about four opponents drop out and it was kind of a whole lot of misfortune happening. It got to the point where the commission basically said, "screw the fight," because they went through so many opponents to approve and everything was falling through. My fight got called off the Monday before. Fortunately for me, the next day I was able to get onto the Bellator card and get set go for this show. One door closes and another door opens. I'm a firm believer in that and that's what gonna happen with the show on Saturday.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Had Bellator talked to you at all before the injuries happened or was this just a perfect timing window for you?
Chris Horodecki: It was perfect timing. I'd been in contact with Bellator before but I was going to fight on the Border Wars show because a friend of mine was promoting the card and also I had a lot of teammates on the card. I had about five of my teammates from my Adrenaline gym in London, Ontario and from Tapout Las Vegas with me on the card. It hit really close to home and it was really good. This things happened and I'm in love with it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Because you were preparing for a fight that was scheduled to happen a week ago, I would assume you're still in excellent physical condition. Do you feel this will be a big advantage for you?
Chris Horodecki: Absolutely. I'm ready to roll, ready to fight. This extra week is not going to benefit Chris Saunders in any way, it's definitely not going to be in his favor. I'm hungrier than ever. I can't wait to be in the ring and get down to business.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk about your last fight? You took four months off after your last fight in the WEC and you went out there against David Castillo and took care of business. Can you talk about getting back on track?
Chris Horodecki: Yep. It was something where I wanted to get out there and make a statement for sure after my last fight with the WEC. I wanted to come back and I got the opportunity to fight in my home province of Ontario in front of my friends, my family. My grandfather and father were there so it was a real pleasure to do that, go out there and submit one of Jeremy Horn's guys. I feel really good about that and I just want to keep riding that momentum. That was the first card in Ontario, in Casino Rama and now I'm back again in the same arena and really excited.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk about fighting in your backyard? I know you started your career fighting in Quebec and then you spent the rest of your career fighting in the United States with the IFL and other orgs. Obviously the last fight was in Ontario and you're getting another opportunity to fight in Ontario again. What was that like?
Chris Horodecki: Perfect man, it's perfect because being the "away team" for so many years, having to travel and be all over the place, trying to get those fights in. Having that ability to have friends and family come, finish my camp in my house and then drive over to the arena, it's awesome. It's a great feeling. I'm really at peace and I'm really comfortable right now. I just couldn't be more excited. It's been a long time coming. I've been involved in this sport for 11 years and I'm so happy we finally got to this after so many years of being the "away team."
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now you're scheduled to go in there against Chris Saunders, who's a really talented young prospect. He doesn't have your type of experience, but what are your thoughts on him as an opponent?
Chris Horodecki: He's a tough guy. I've seen his fights. He's got strength on his feet and he's got a pretty well-rounded game but like you said, he hasnt' fought anyone like me and I'm gonna show it come fight time. He's coming to my backyard and I've got a lot to defend here and I'm up for it man.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): He's got a very good ground game, at least from the video I've watched of him. What's your confidence in the ground game if you happen to go onto the canvas against him?
Chris Horodecki: I'm very confident. I've been working hard, working diligently on the ground every day. That's what I've been working on. Improve, improve, improve and if the fight hits the mat, I see myself winning even there.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Would you prefer it if the fight were standing?
Chris Horodecki: I'll take this fight wherever. I feel I'm better stand-up, better ground, better everywhere so that's what I'm gonna do to him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now you've only just signed with Bellator for a week or so. Do you have any long-term plans with them or is this just a one-time deal?
Chris Horodecki: Right now, I'm on a two-fight deal. I'm just happy to be part of the show, happy to be part of this card and I'll take it from here. Right now I'm thinking short-term, my opponent on Saturday and after that, we'll think about the future later.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you said your just thinking about Saturday, but going long-term a bit, what is your end-game goal for 2011? I know you said you wanted to fight about four times this year. This would be your second fight.
Chris Horodecki: I just wanna keep busy, keep active. I've already got a fight set for September with Freedom Fights in Ontario for a championship belt. I've already got a pretty busy year planned. I'm keeping active and that's what I want, just to keep winning and keep making statements. That's the name of the game.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): This fight is going to be aired live on The Score in Canada and MTV2 in the US. How does it feel to be back on a nationally televised fight card again?
Chris Horodecki: It's huge. I've always been someone that likes to compete and be on TV, be in the public eye. It's something I've worked towards and it's somewhere I'm supposed to be. I'm just glad to be back, man. Just glad to be back. This is where I'm at.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I want to talk about your gym a little bit. Team Tompkins, all the top guys training out of there have had some major success recently. Sam Stout had a Knockout of the Night, George Roop had the big upset of Josh Grispi, Ronnie Mann is killing it in Bellator and even Mark Hominick pushed Jose Aldo to the limit with a great performance, making him look human at UFC 129. Can you talk about the success that you guys have had recently and what your confidence level is like?
Chris Horodecki: Oh it's great. We've just been going back to basics, keeping what we always do, training hard in the gym and putting the work in. We've been filling the holes in our game, getting better and better and I think people are seeing the results now. We're known primarily as a striking team but we can work on the ground. We're just getting more well-rounded and the coaches are doing great things for us. We've got great assistant coaches working our jiu-jitsu, wrestling and strength and conditioning. I'm just improving and trucking along and hoping to feed off the success of my teammates. I'm hoping for big things.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I know you've been with Shawn Tompkins since you were about 13 years old. Can you talk about what that relationship's been like. I know you guys are really close.
Chris Horodecki: Absolutely. He's like a big brother to me, a father figure to me. I know him very, very well. I'm at his gym for almost half of the year. Shawn's been inspirational to me and I owe him everything. He's done everything for me, brought me up in martial arts, gave me the tools to be the man I am. He's definitely one of my mentors.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): My final question is how do you see the fight playing out? How do you see it finishing?
Chris Horodecki: I'm expecting to see my hand raised and I'm hoping it's a KO. There's nothing sweeter than getting the knockout.
Chris would like to thank everyone at the Tapout Training Center in Las Vegas and the Adrenaline Training Center in London, Ontario, all of his training partners and friends as well as his fans.