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UFC on FOX 26 winner John Makdessi seeks 'inner peace' after years of uncertainty


WINNIPEG – John Makdessi wears his emotions on his sleeve, as was evident in his post-fight outburst toward Abel Trujillo following his victory at UFC on FOX 26.

Makdessi (15-6 MMA, 8-6 UFC) told Trujillo (15-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) to show respect after his opponent initially refused to embrace after their three-round lightweight fight, which Makdessi won by unanimous decision on Saturday’s card at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

After the fight, Makdessi explained exactly why he was frustrated with the situation, simply chalking it up to the need to “let go of some steam.”

“I’m an emotional guy,” Makdessi told reporters. “I do things with my heart. I’ve been doing martial arts since age 6. I had some ups and downs. It was a tough couple years for me. People just see the fighting and on the cameras, but they don’t know the fighter’s life is a very lonely life. You’re in your head a lot. It’s a very tough road. It was just very emotional. A lot of emotions; that’s it. Abel was talking a lot of stuff. I just had to let go of some steam.”

Makdessi’s victory marked his return to the octagon from a more than one-year layoff. In his last fight, the Canadian suffered a “Knockout of the Year” contender vs. Lando Vannata at UFC 206. Following that fight, Makdessi opted to change gyms from Tristar in Montreal to Roufusport Training Center in Milwaukee. He admits he had doubts about the move, but the result proved his decision was correct.

“I had a lot of struggle, a lot of doubts and a lot of uncertainty,” Makdessi said. “I’m just very happy I connected with Duke (Roufus). He has a lot of experience, a bunch of great guys with good spirits and glad I have a connection with my new team.”

Makdessi said his doubts spread beyond just the switch in training camps. He’s had an up-and-down run in the UFC and said he had a lot of questions about what he’s truly capable of. He said he’s working daily to become stronger mentally and said many of his followers have never seen his true difficulties.

“The only thing I can do is live day by day and be the best I can be every day,” Makdessi said. “Personal growth, I’m in my 30s now. I don’t think the same as when I was in my 20s. I don’t think the same as when I was in my teenage years. My goal is to try to find inner peace, and I can separate personal and my fighting career. It kind of consumed me. Fighting and training can really play with your mind.”

Coming off the win over Trujillo, though, Makdessi said he wants to test himself. He’s got some big moments in the octagon but has also fallen short in his most significant fights vs. big names. He wants the chance to challenge a top-tier fighter once more and hopefully make a run at the belt before all is said and done.

“Three fights a year is good to try to get back to the title,” Makdessi said. “Hopefully by the age of 35 or something, we’ll see what happens, maybe I can be a champion. I’m not in this sport to just come for a paycheck. It’s not about the money. The money’s a bonus.

“For me, I want my legacy. I fight for my legacy.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 26, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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