UFC middleweight Costa Philippou is an imposing force inside the Octagon. The 12-2 powerhouse, who is coming off a knockout of Tim Boetsch, throws with bad intent and has the grappling background to make opponents think twice before rushing in to attempt a takedown.
Philippou will have to test both areas of his attack in a matter of weeks when he meets Ronaldo Souza (17-3) at UFC on FX 8. Though on paper he should have an advantage when it comes to striking, Philippou isn’t entering the affair with an air of superiority in the stand-up department.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter, and he’s improved a lot. I’d say he’s the most complete fighter I’ve had to face so far,” assessed Philippou in a recent interview with MMAJunkie. “His striking skills are great. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he’s a boxer. His takedowns are not as great as a wrestler. But he has the jiu-jitsu, so he doesn’t care.”
Souza is seen by many as one of the top submission specialists at 185 pounds if not the cream of the crop. Philippou is also well-aware of what “Jacare” has to offer on the ground, though he isn’t afraid to go there if necessary based on his time working alongside the likes of Matt Serra and Chris Weidman in the gym.
“I’m not going to be at (Souza’s) level, but I’m not going to be in a jiu-jitsu fight with him,” explained Philippou. “Even if he does take me down, and he keeps me down, it’s MMA. I’m not worried about that. I’m confident enough that I’m going to defend and get on my feet, and then he has to do it all over again.”
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY