Zach Makovsky on beating UFC champ: 'It would definitely take a special effort'


zach-makovsky

Zach Makovsky knows UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson isn’t unbeatable, but he’s fully aware it will take a lot to knock “Mighty Mouse” off his throne.

“Anybody can be knocked down,” Makovsky told MMAjunkie. “He is looking pretty phenomenal. Every time I watch him fight, he’s so well-rounded and good at everything. He just controls everyone he fights, so it would definitely take a special effort to bring him down.”

Should he win his next fight against Jussier Formiga (16-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 47, Makovsky (18-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) will be close to a title shot at 125 pounds. The event goes down Aug. 16 from Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center and airs live on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on the same channel and UFC Fight Pass.

Since joining the UFC roster in December, Makovsky has reeled off two consecutive victories against respected competitors Josh Sampo and Scott Jorgensen. The latter was easily his most notable performance to date, and one that made “Fun Size” realize he belongs in the cage with the best fighters in the world.

“This is where everyone wants to be – in the UFC,” Makovsky said. “Being talked about amongst the best guys in the world, it’s thrilling for me. I’ve worked very hard for a long time to get here, and I’m thrilled.”

While Makovsky’s UFC run has gone as planned thus far, things weren’t always so smooth for the 32-year-old. A little more than two years ago, Makovsky was the Bellator MMA bantamweight champion. Dropping the belt, paired with back-to-back losses, forced him out of the promotion, which ultimately sparked his drop to flyweight.

Losing the championship and his job could have caused Makovsky to get down, but instead, he used the situation as a learning experience and springboard into the next chapter of his career, which currently sees him on a 4-0 run.

“After I lost two in a row and had my exit from Bellator, I dropped to flyweight and just refocused and wanted to keep learning and keep my skills evolving,” Makovsky said. “I can’t just come in with the same game plan all the time. I have to evolve. Maybe it took some time to get comfortable to do different things, but the time I’ve had to change since then and implement those skills is what’s making the difference now.”

While his first two UFC fights were stern challenges, Makovsky will take another leap in competition for his next bout against Formiga,the No. 6-ranked flyweight in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, at UFC Fight Night 47.

The Brazilian is a grappling specialist who has earned half of his professional wins by submission, meaning he’s a dangerous foe for anyone on the mat. Makovsky primarily competes with a wrestling-orientated style, which would put him right in the danger zone for Formiga’s offense.

Knowing there’s a strong likelihood the fight will hit the ground at some point, Makovsky is aware he must mind his p’s and q’s with his submission defense. However, he also says he won’t be afraid to push forward with his own offensive attack at opportune moments.

“I think my jiu-jitsu game is good,” Makovsky said. “He’s definitely more credentialed in jiu-jitsu and a black belt under Nova Uniao, so there’s no question he’s good and that’s where he’s stood out in his fights. … The key is to keep him defensive. If I put him on his back and put him on the defense, then the chance of him attacking and catching me with something is less.”

Makovsky fancies himself as the more well rounded fighter when compared to Formiga, but as a veteran of 22 professional fights, the American says he’s learnt a major factor comes down to who shows up on fight night.

“It’s MMA, it’s how you put it together that’s all that matters,” Makovsky said. “I plan on being able to fight with him everywhere and winning the fight everywhere.”

A victory over Formiga would put Makovsky near the front of the queue in terms of flyweight contenders, as it would mark his third consecutive victory under the UFC banner and fifth overall. While Johnson already has a title defense lined up against Chris Cariaso at UFC 177, Makovsky fights just two weeks before and believes he has the opportunity to make a statement as to why he should fight the champion next.

“That’s what I’m shooting for and that’s where I’m trying to get,” Makovsky said of earning a title shot. “I would love a chance to fight him (Johnson).”

For more on UFC Fight Night 47, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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