I had the chance to catch up with IFL lightweight phenom Chris Horodecki last week to talk about his upcoming IFL lightweight title fight, his current status with the IFL, whether or not he plans to test free agency when his contract is up and much more.
Adam Morgan: Can you tell us a little bit about the process of fighting before you were of legal age?
Chris Horodecki: Well, I started training really young in kickboxing when I was fifteen years old and it just kind of progressed from there. I was fighting older individuals way before I was of age so that’s how it all started. My first MMA fight was when I was fourteen and then after that when I was seventeen I had a fight for Krzysztof Soszynski’s promotion, Ultimate Cage Wars in
Adam Morgan: Did you ever have to lie about your age to fight?
Chris Horodecki: Yeah, in some of the amateur kickboxing fights just because of the age discrepancy and they wanted to keep it real tight.
Adam Morgan: Did your parents ever have any concerns about you fighting grown men before you were even eighteen?
Chris Horodecki: Yeah, you know, they did what any good parents would do. They’re always watching out for me. I’m sure that, right now, they’d rather have me working a regular job and doing the things that everyone else does but everybody takes different paths and I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing.
Adam Morgan: So even though they’d rather have you working a desk job somewhere they still support what you’re doing?
Chris Horodecki: That’s the thing is that I have a really great support group behind me and I’m really thankful for that. I’ve got a great groups of friends that are with me win, lose, draw, they don’t care about the results of fights or anything, they’re with me until the end. As for my family, I couldn’t ask for more. Plus my team, Team Tompkins here in
Adam Morgan: Did your pursuit of combat sports at a young age ever affect your schooling?
Chris Horodecki: No, actually, I was really good in school. I just took a kind of different direction in terms of my priorities. I always say that school came first but in my heart I knew that competing and martial arts was always my love. I’d lie to myself and my folks and say “Oh yeah, school scores, school scores,” but really I just loved it so much that kind of one thing led to another.
Adam Morgan: So you looked at is as some kids played football or soccer or whatever and you fought?
Chris Horodecki: Exactly. That’s just the way I look at it. I never looked at myself as a tough guy or a bully or anything. It was just that I’ve got my sport, you’ve got yours. You play ball and I fight, and that’s kind of how it works.
Adam Morgan: A lot of the fans out there view you as sort of a cocky fighter. Would you classify yourself as a cocky fighter or is there just a certain sense of confidence you have to have when you get into the ring?
Chris Horodecki: I think it’s confidence. I enjoy what I’m doing, I really do. A lot of people get a lot of anxiety when they fight and they stress but I enjoy this. I like what I’m doing out there, and I’m really confident. I’m confident in my training and my preparation and I’m really confident in the way I approach each fight and that’s why everything’s gone the way it has.
Adam Morgan: There’s been a little bit of turnover with your IFL team, the Anacondas. Bas Rutten went to work full time for the IFL as a commentator and personality, Shawn Tompkins took a full time instructing job. Does it hurt the team when there is so much turnover between coaches?
Chris Horodecki: For me, Shawn’s always been the main man. He’s the guy that brought me up through the sport and I owe him so much. He’s like a brother and a father to me so there really hasn’t been any transition for me. With Bas it was just a pleasure to be with him and have him there with me, he’s such a motivational person and very inspiring but when it comes down to my training regimen, it’s all up to Shawn.
Bas puts all his faith in this guy and it’s the exact same training method. It’s nothing different, but as I said, Bas is just so, so busy and he wanted to pursue the reason why he came to America in the first place and that was to make people laugh and be on TV so you’ve got to let the man do what he’s going to do.
Adam Morgan: You’re fighting Shad Lierly at IFL World Grand Prix on December 29th for the IFL lightweight title. You’ve fought him once before in what is widely considered one of the best fights, if not the best fight, in IFL history. Do you expect this one to be a war like last time?
Chris Horodecki: Yeah, I do. I don’t know if Shad’s gameplan is going to be the same as it was. He’s a tough, scrappy guy and he’s got a lot of heart. I’m sure he’s going to approach the fight maybe a little differently. Definitely when you’ve got a guy like him, he’s tough a and he’s got a chin, you’re going to expect a hell of a fight.
Adam Morgan: Do you expect him to try to shoot in more for the takedown this fight as compared to last time when most of the fight was spent standing?
Chris Horodecki: There’s a good possibility that he’s going to change his gameplan just because even though it was such a great fight last time, I think it went really in my favor. I think he’s definitely going to be thinking of a different way to approach it.
Adam Morgan: Who’s a tougher guy to fight a second time, Bart Palaszewski or Shad Lierly?
Chris Horodecki: They’re both tough, tough fights. Both have got so much heart and determination, so I give it a straight draw.
Adam Morgan: Are you excited about the IFL extending your contract through the 2008 season?
Chris Horodecki: Yeah definitely. I think I’ve found a home there and I think I’m an exciting person that the league can showcase and I like the way that they treat me. I wish for nothing but the best things and it’s been a great, great year and 2008’s going to be even bigger.
Adam Morgan: Do you have any predictions for the team competition in 2008?
Chris Horodecki: Everything’s a big question mark. I don’t know how they’re deciding it, I don’t know what the format’s going to be, it could be many different things. I’m really just worried about December 29th and I’m sure our team…myself, Jay Hieron, Alex (Schoenhauer), and Benji (Radach), we’re all extended through next year so we’ll all be together again. In terms of how the team’s going to look, I have no idea what’s going on or who our coach is for sure. It’s MMA and I’m just going with the flow.
Adam Morgan: Is that something that bothers you, that the IFL hasn’t set a schedule for 2008 or are you pretty confident that they’ll get it worked out?
Chris Horodecki: I’m pretty confident because they have to. They don’t have a choice. You’ve got to have a format to be successful, right? So I’m sure they do but I just haven’t looked into it. They haven’t made any releases, we’re not for sure who the coach is going to be but I’m very confident in the way they’re going to prepare and they’ll make it happen.
Adam Morgan: Do you see yourself staying with the IFL long term or do you plan on testing free agency when the time comes?
Chris Horodecki: I’m honoring the league that I’m competing for so I’m going to give IFL fans the best, best year they’ve ever seen. I really like competing for them and everything’s up in the air. I really enjoy it, I wish for nothing but the best and I hope the league shapes and we take it to the top.
Adam Morgan: Any sponsors or anybody you want to thank before we go?
Chris Horodecki: Absolutely. I want to thank, first and foremost, Shawn Tompkins, my trainer. Everything I owe to him. I want to thank MMA Authentic, new gear on the market, it’s awesome you guys gotta check it out. Xtreme Couture, the best gyms in Vegas, the most promising gym right now in the world. I want to thank everybody back home, my friends, my family, thank my conditioning coach Scott Payton and everyone that supports me, all my fans. December 29th, IFL’s got a big show, it’s the IFL Grand Prix, don’t miss it, you’re going to enjoy it.