The Bellator bantamweight belt is on the line this Friday night, and if reigning champion, Zach Makovsky has his way, it will stay firmly affixed to his waist. I recently grabbed a quick interview with Zach and got his thoughts on a variety of topics, including his upcoming bout with Eduardo Dantas and how he feels about the Twitter movement to get Mark Hunt as a replacement for Alistair Overeem at UFC 146.
Stephie Daniels: You've got the title fight coming up this Friday. How are you feeling this last couple days leading up to it?
Zach Makovsky: I'm feeling good. Everything is winding down, and the hard part is all over. Now I get to see if all my hard work pays off and have some fun in there.
Stephie Daniels: Would you say that this is the toughest fight of your career thus far?
Zach Makovsky: I think so. He's probably one of the bigger names that I'll have fought and he's been looking phenomenal. He comes from an unbelievable team and he's pretty well rounded, so this should be a very tough fight.
Stephie Daniels: Do you think he has any weaknesses in his game?
Zach Makovsky: I don't think he has too many weaknesses. He's very capable of fighting everywhere. I think if there's an area that I have a clear advantage over him, it would be my wrestling. I've been wrestling since I was six years old. Him and his team aren't really known for their wrestling, and that just kind of puts the fight where I want it to be, which is on the ground or standing, but he's still great in both those areas. It's kind of like picking your poison. There's no easy road, and I think it will be tough everywhere.
Stephie Daniels: How has your training camp been?
Zach Makovsky: My training camp has been good. I'm pretty much always in training, so I don't really have a defined camp. I've upped the intensity a little bit, and I do more specific stuff and extra conditioning, but I'm pretty much just training like I always do. I had a couple bumps and bruises along the way, but that's normal, and the last couple weeks I've been starting to feel good. I'm ready.
Stephie Daniels: Has Eddie Alvarez left Philly Fight Factory permanently, and is his presence missed in the gym?
Zach Makovsky: I think he decided to move on to a different team and camp. I think a big factor was that he switched managers. Now he's managed by Glenn Robinson, who manages a lot of the guys down at the Blackzilians camp. As far as I know, he's been down there training for the last month or so. I did get to train with him a couple times for this camp when he was back in Philadelphia, but he's been in Florida for the most part. From what I hear, he really likes it down there.
We are missing him. It's always great to have Eddie around. He's a phenomenal fighter and has been fighting at the highest level for a while, so it's nice to have him around. We still have a great team, and I have a great group of guys around me, even without Eddie. I still talk to him on a somewhat regular basis. Would I like to have him here more? Absolutely, but it is what it is.
Stephie Daniels: How do you see the bantamweight tournament playing out?
Zach Makovsky: It's hard to say. It was my first time getting to see some of these fights at Bellator 64, this last Friday. The only one who I've seen fight before was Ueda, who ended up losing to Travis Marx. He holds a win over Dantas, but it was a very close decision. I think Dantas got a point deducted in that fight, otherwise he probably could've won that decision.
I think those guys looked good. The rest of the guys returning are all from the last tournament they had. Ed West is fighting Marcos Galvao and Vila is fighting Nogueira, so those are great match-ups. I think that side of the bracket is maybe a little more talented. I think the winner of Ed West and Galvao might go on to win the whole thing, but who knows. Anything could happen.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on big guys making huge weight cuts to fight in divisions that they probably aren't physically suited for?
Zach Makovsky: I'm pretty much used to it. I've been wrestling my whole life, and actually had my first weight cutting experience in the second grade, which was no fun.
Stephie Daniels: Elaborate on that second grade weight cut.
Zach Makovsky: I started wrestling in first grade at 48 pounds. That was my weight class. My second year was maybe at 52 pounds. I remember I was over weight for some reason, so I didn't eat dinner that night, and the day of the match I was still a little over. I got put in layers of sweat pants and shirts, and they had me jumping rope in the corner while they turned on the hot showers to make it like a steam room, and I made it, but maybe it was a little too early on to being doing that stuff [laughs]. The town I lived in was very big on wrestling, so I was in it early.
Stephie Daniels: What's your "go to" food after weigh ins?
Zach Makovsky: I always rehydrate first. I don't immediately go eat. I normally wait a couple hours, and then, if there's a PF Chang's in the area, that's kind of my tradition. I've never been defeated in any competition after eating at PF Chang's. Ever since my fifth fight, I've been going to PF Chang's. The last fight I lost was in Japan, and it was because they didn't have a PF Chang's there. My last grappling match that I lost was when I competed in Poland, and they didn't have one there, either. It seems that when I eat there, I do well.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on the current social media movement to get Mark Hunt in as a replacement for Alistair Overeem for UFC 146?
Zach Makovsky: Seeing that these kind of situations happen...I just wish people didn't feel like they needed something extra to compete, but I'm sure it's more prevalent than just the people that get caught, and I don't think Overeem should be allowed to fight.
I think it would definitely be an interesting fight. I don't know that Hunt has necessarily earned a shot at the title, but I think it would be an interesting fight. I think there's a possibility he could win it, but I think Dos Santos is probably too fast for him, and maybe hits a little too hard, but there's no question that if Hunt catches him, he's going to hurt him.
Follow Zach via his Twitter, @ZachFunSize