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First Round Draft Pick; Calvin Kattar: ‘I like punching people’

Calvin KattarAt just twenty one years old Calvin Kattar is quickly positioning himself to play a role in the wave of the future in MMA’s lightweight division.

Kattar jumped into the fight game at an incredibly raw 19 years old and has since racked up an impressive record of 6-1 in just over two years. Known as a finishing machine that keeps up a ferocious pace, every single one on Calvin’s professional bouts have ended in the opening round. Six victories; four knockouts and two strangulations.

Kattar’s sole defeat in his still budding mixed martial arts career came to a man that was technically old enough to be his father with four times the experience in the cage in James “Binky” Jones. Although Kattar came up on the short end of the stick in that bout, it has served as blessing for the up and coming knockout artist who has never looked better in his three victories he has compiled since that defeat. recently caught up with Calvin to discuss his taste for punching people in he face, what it’s like being compared to boxing’s Mickey Ward and much more.

FiveOuncesOfPain: I know you wrestled during high school, but when did the wheels in your head start turning as far as deciding that you wanted to fight for a living?

Calvin Kattar: I took a semester off of school in college and I really missed the feeling of competing and wrestling. Just the feeling of competition. Shortly after that I saw my sister’s friend Dave George take a fight. Immediately after the fight I was all amped up and I found out where he trained, and I started training. Six months later I took my first fight and I’ve been chasing that dream ever since.

FiveOuncesOfPain: Would you say you were a fairly scrappy kid growing up? Did you like to fight?

Calvin Kattar: I was a scrappy kid, but to tell you the truth I really didn’t get into too many scraps, but I had a few. I always had big brothers so I never got messed with too much until they left high school. Then I had to prove myself right around my junior year. So, from my junior year on I started showing what I could do.

FiveOuncesOfPain: Were you always having to prove yourself to your brothers? Would they pick on you a little bit growing up?

Calvin Kattar: The always picked on me, and I think that’s why I was never pinned during varsity wrestling because my one brother was like 250 pounds and he’d lay on me. You know, it worked, and I’d have to fight off of my back. I got really used to fighting off of my back early on. Of course I was always getting it from my older sisters’ friends. I used to have it a little rough, not too rough, but they would always pick on me a lot.

FiveOuncesOfPain: In your EliteXC: Primetime bout you faced a guy that was theoretically old enough to be your dad in James “Binky” Jones? Was that a little awkward for you at all?

Calvin Kattar: Well you know, not really because the first three fight I fought were against guys that were all in their thirties. So that was just kind of normal. I thought it was weird to fight someone my age after that [laughs]. I learned a lot about how to prepare for a fight in that one. I made a lot of mistakes getting ready for the fight, but I learned a lot. I think that loss was a real learning lesson. I think that I gained a lot more than I lost that night. I think of myself as an all new fighter, and I just keep that loss in the back of my head for preparing for fights in the future.

FiveOuncesOfPain: I heard that you’re going to be competing at the September 11 American Steel Cagefighting show in New Hampshire, is there any word on who you may be facing?

Calvin Kattar: Andrew Montanez. I just got back from Tennessee so I don’t know too much about him right now but I’m doing my research on him. He looks like he has a lot of fights, so he’s not new to the cage. He looks like a pretty well rounded fighter. I would imagine he’s going to try to take me to the ground because of my record. He’s also got some good stand-up so I think it’s going to be a war anywhere it goes.

FiveOuncesOfPain: I’ve already seen you being compared to the likes of boxing’s Mickey Ward. How does that make you feel when you hear people saying things like that?

Calvin Kattar: Well of course I’m absolutely honored. Mickey Ward is just an animal. I don’t really believe the hype though, you know what I mean, I just go out there and fight. I’ve been compared to a lot of things; some good and some bad [laughs]. I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t believe what everybody says, I just try to go out there and fight. Once you start believing all the hype and everything, that’s when you get knocked out. But Mickey Ward’s an animal. If I can be compared to anyone, he’s not a bad person to be compared to. I don’t really buy into all of the hype though. People say a lot of things. I don’t see it. I’m actually trying to set up some training with him holding the mitts for me hopefully.

FiveOuncesOfPain: You have a wrestling background but most of your wins have come by knockout, did you do any form of boxing growing up, or has the striking aspect of MMA been coming fairly natural to you?

Calvin Kattar: Striking just kind of came naturally to me. I like punching people. If you can’t take it, you shouldn’t give it, so I’ve taken my fair share of shots. Hopefully not too many in the future in a cage or ring. Yeah, it just kind of came natural to me. I just try to duck when they throw, and hit them when they’re not.

FiveOuncesOfPain: I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve finished every one of your victories, is it important that you are known as the kind of fighter that finishes his fights?

Calvin Kattar: Oh yeah, I believe in that a lot. I don’t like leaving anything to the judges. I like to have absolutely no discrepancy on whether I beat them or not. I like to finish fights, no doubt about it. There’s just a certain finality to the finish where nothing can really be said from the other end afterwords. No excuses can be offered up.

FiveOuncesOfPain: Do you feel like you’re ready to take that next step up in competition and fight for the UFC, WEC or Strikeforce right now, or would you prefer to get a couple more fights under your belt first?

Calvin Kattar: I’m just trying to build my record up right now and get some experience. It’s all about the experience right now. I’m just mainly focused on my training right now, and getting it up to par. I really want to make sure that I reach certain points in Jiu-Jitsu and boxing. I don’t want to go out there and get beat and sent back home. I want to go out there and make a name for myself. I’m in no rush. My fourth fight was in the EliteXC, which was a bigger show. It was an awesome experience and I’m excited to go back, but I’m sure as hell not going to make that move when I’m not ready. I want to make sure that I’m really ready this time and hit the scene hard.

FiveOuncesOfPain: I think you’re right. I was talking to Jon Fitch recently and he told me that if there was one thing he could do different in his fighting career, it would have been to take things a little bit slower in the beginning.

Calvin Kattar: I agree. It seems like you rush into anything you’re either missing things or making mistakes. Who says you have to rush into MMA? I’m only 21 years old. I’m not even near my prime yet. There will always be fights, I just want to make sure I get all of the training in. That’s the most important part of it.

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