Saturday March 2nd, 2013 is a big date for Chris Chapman. That evening, in front of an estimated 2500 screaming fans, he will be facing David Swanson for the currently vacant Hard Knocks Amateur Lightweight Champion Title Belt (155 lbs). This Co-Main Event will be the second last fight of the night, which means the fans will be primed for some great fight action by then. Chapman & Swanson will be there to deliver.
Chapman, fighting out of Arashi-do in Red Deer, AB has amassed an impressive 4-1 Amateur record at an early age of 20. Needless to say, there is a lot of time left, and a lot of room to grow for Chris, if he continues to train in MMA. This title fight on March 2nd could have an impact on his MMA career direction, so we wanted to ask him some questions leading up to the fight.
HK: Chris, thank you for taking time to answer my questions. What does this upcoming Title fight mean to you? Will it have any weight on your decisions to turn pro, or will you be competing at the Amateur level for a while longer regardless of what happens?
Chris: Fighting for the School of Hard Knocks Title means a lot to me. I feel very honoured that Sarah and Ari picked me to fight for it, when they could have picked so many other fighters. After this fight I probably will turn Pro, or I may have one more amateur fight. I want to be fully ready for my first Pro fight.
HK: What was your first Martial Art? And how did you transition into MMA?
Chris: I didn’t start with a Karate background or anything like that. I started training MMA from day one, with Jason Macdonald at Pure Fitness in Red Deer.
HK: Adding training for a fight to any day can get busy quickly. What is an ordinary training day like for you? Please give us some insight as to what your schedule is like on a daily basis.
Chris: My average training days usually start with me doing cardio or weights (I usually switch that up every other day), and then I’ll eat, nap, and then go to Arashi-do and train with the team for 2-3 hours at night.
HK: Tell us about training at your club Arshido in Red Deer, AB. There are a number of successful fighters at that club, so what do you think they are doing differently over there?
Chris: I don’t think we do anything different at Arashi-do than the other gyms do. We are more than just training partners, though. We always hang out with each other, so it’s more of a family environment. That makes us a lot more comfortable around each other, so we clique more, and it’s easier to train and get better.
HK: What have you been working on lately to step up your fight game? Any particular skills or physical conditioning you are focusing on right now?
Chris: Techniques I’ve been working on lately are wrestling and weight lifting, I think those two parts of MMA are the hardest, so why not train them and get better? But I have been rolling with the BJJ team a lot this camp, as well as sparring with our high-level Muay Thai team.
HK: What keeps you motivated to fight? Is it love for the sport, or the lifestyle?
Chris: What keeps me motivated is that I am told that I’m going to go far in this sport by all of my team mates every day. So that motivates me a lot when guys like Ryan Machan, Advin Omic, Josh Machan, both Mike & Tyler Davis, George Belanger; guys who are up there, and know what it takes to win. I love this sport!
HK: Of your 4 wins inside the cage, 2 of your fights went 3 gruelling rounds and you won a decision, and the other 2 you scored KO wins right after the starting bell in the First Round. Can you explain the reason behind that? Or, can you explain how you match up against different styles of fighters?
Chris: I always go into a fight to finish it, that’s why I have 2 KO wins really quick. But the guys that I fight aren’t easy, so that’s why I have 2 decision wins as well. Going to a decision sucks, so why not try and finish it?
HK: Your Opponent at HK31, David Swanson, has almost the same experience as you with a 3-1 record. However, he hasn’t fought for almost a year now. What do you think are his greatest assets as a fighter, and what is your game plan to counter those strengths?
Chris: David’s greatest assets are that he trains at a great gym at WAMMA, and he trains with some of the best in the country. We haven’t really seen much of his striking game since everyone tries to take him down, so I’m assuming he’s very well rounded.
HK: Any predictions on how this fight is going to end?
Chris: I predict this fight is going to be my toughest fight to date. He’s 3-1 and hasn’t fought in almost a year, so he’s going to be hungry. Plus, it’s for a title belt, so I’m very excited for this fight. We’re both going to come out and try and punch each other in the face, so its going to be fun! I do believe I’m going to win this title and bring it back to Red Deer on March 2nd, though.
HK: Any shout-outs you would like to make going into this fight?
Chris: I want to thank my parents; since day one they have given me all of their support! My girlfriend; for putting up with my shenanigans throughout fight camps. And, my sponsors: Hype Fight Store in Calgary, Chalked Iron, Death Hug, Damage Control mouth guards, Hicks Supervision, & Jaco Clothing. Thank you everyone!
Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions, Chris, and good luck in your Lightweight Title Fight coming up at HK31 in Estevan! I would also like to wish ALL of our fighters good luck and good training for March 2nd. On another note, since you’re finished reading this, I’d also like to point your attention to an article about a Las Vegas fighter, Rolando “The King” Cespedes, who is coming to Hard Knocks 32in Calgary 0n April 26th. It’s from MMA-LAtino website, so I hope your Spanish is up to par. Here is the link http://www.mma-latino.com/peleador-cubano-rolando-king-cespedes-anuncia-pelea-para-abril.htm
Shane @ Hard Knocks Fighting