C.B. Dollaway knows what a huge opportunity he will have in front of himself this Saturday night when he takes on former college wrestling rival Mike Massenzio during the live broadcast of UFC 92 and looks to take full advantage of it. Dollaway told FiveOuncesOfPain.com in an exclusive interview conducted just days before his fight with Massenzio that he would be looking to ‘pull off something big’ to separate himself from the pack of what will be one of the most stacked mixed martial arts cards to date.
The bout with Massenzio could be considered a grudge match of sorts as the two fighters are no strangers when it comes to competing against one another in combat. Just a few years back Dollaway was able to pin Massenzio to win the JUCO national championships in what was a closely contested battle before the end came. Massenzio has been vocal about his urge to avenge the former loss and Dollaway couldn’t be happier to oblige his request.
The fact that both men will be coming into the fight with extensive wrestling backgrounds is in no way a guarantee that the majority of the action will take place on the mat. Often times in MMA the mutual experience in one element of the game will force the combatants to focus on areas that they are not as familiar with. Dollaway not only anticipates this but he embraces it and looks forward to having the opportunity to showcase his growing striking arsenal in front of a massive audience.
Dollaway bounced back following his disappointing armbar loss to Amir Sadollah at The Ultimate Fighter season seven finals with a highlight reel Peruvian necktie submission victory over outcast season seven finalist Jesse Taylor and he looks to bring that momentum into the octagon with him on Saturday night.
Cory Brady: How are you feeling physically going into your fight with Mike Massenzio?
C.B. Dollaway: I feel great. I’m a hundred percent ready to go. I went through a really tough training camp. I was training a lot with Ryan Bader. We were kind of doing our training camps simultaneously so it worked out really good.
Cory Brady: So was Ryan able to continue train with you after becoming the “Ultimate Fighter” or has he taken some time off since his win?
C.B. Dollaway: Well after his fight he took some time off but there are a bunch of other really good guys that I have been training with. I’ve been working a lot with Aaron Simpson. He’s a two time All-American at Arizona State. Aaron was actually my wrestling coach while I was there. He really mimics Mike Massenizio’s style being that he’s a wrestler. So I’ve had a lot of really good guys to work out with for this fight.
Cory Brady: Will you be going into this fight with a certain level of confidence because of your previous wrestling win over Massenzio at the JUCO Nationals?
C.B. Dollaway: I’ll have a pretty good level of confidence going in but it was a pretty close up until I pinned him. I think that the the two years that I went on to wrestle in Division I really helped my wrestling a lot. Mike didn’t really wrestle after our match. He did start fighting at that point but I think he’s just kind of been using his wrestling background to win his fights. He has yet to face a top level wrestler in MMA.
Cory Brady: What do you feel are some of the advantages you will have over Massenzio as far as the MMA goes?
C.B. Dollaway: I think I have a lot more rounds under my belt as far as the tough sparring goes. I come from a really good camp at Arizona Combat Sports and I get to work with top level guys every day. Day in and day out.
Cory Brady: Do you feel like the amount of action you have seen this year will be a factor in the fight?
C.B. Dollaway: I’ve had a lot of fights this year and I got a lot of experience on the show. This will be my ninth fight of the year. I’ve been really busy so I won’t have any ring rust or anything like that going into this fight. I think it will all play to my advantage.
Cory Brady: Can you tell me a little bit about how Arizona Combat Sports has helped to transition your wrestling background to work for you in mixed martial arts?
C.B. Dollaway: Basically they’ve helped me a lot with my stand up. I had a good level of knowledge about the ground game coming in so I wanted to get as well rounded as possible. I wanted to learn a little of everything. I’ve been working really hard on my stand up and my jiu-jitsu since coming to ACS. I think they’ve made me a well rounded fighter rather than just a pure wrestler. They have really focused on making me more complete and I think that’s going to pay off in the bigger scheme of things.
Cory Brady: It seems as if ACS has done really well at taking top level wrestlers from college and converting them into successful mixed martial artists.
C.B. Dollaway: Definitely and that’s where we have a tremendous advantage because we can control where the fight goes because of our wrestling background. Once you get the striking down that can be the difference. When you’re going up against a tough wrestler or jiu-jitsu guy, that can be the difference, is who can strike better. Hopefully that’s what pays off for me in this fight.
Cory Brady: So you may be looking to showcase your striking in this one?
C.B. Dollaway: I’m sure there will be times when this fight goes to the ground but I want to let my hands go. I’m definitely going to try to go for the knockout.
Cory Brady: How much more time would you like to develop before you feel like you may be ready to challenge for the title?
C.B. Dollaway: I just want to make sure that I feel prepared. I just want to kind of wait to see how it plays out. I want to see how much better I get in the next year or two.
Cory Brady: Will you be looking to make a statement in this fight to kind of stand out on a card that is as stacked as UFC 92 is?
C.B. Dollaway: I’ll definitely be looking to showcase something because you never know when you’ll have another opportunity like this again. I want to go out there and out on an exciting fight and try to pull something big off.
Cory Brady: In closing, is there anyone that you would like to thank?
C.B. Dollaway: I would like to thank Arizona Combat Sports, MTX Audio and LG Sports Marketing.