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· On The Spot ~ Chris Lozano

· Article author: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Posted on 09/28 at 06:45 AM

This week, Cleveland, Ohio’s Chris “The Assassin” Lozano will make his debut for Bellator Fighting Championships. He will be taking on UFC veteran Yoshiyuki Yoshida in an important tournament elimination bout. Lozano might seem like just another regional fighter on paper, sporting just a 5-0 record. However, many in the business have already started drawing up big things for Lozano. Even before signing with Bellator, Lozano was named as one of the top welterweight prospects in the sport. 

Lozano has stopped his first four opponents by first round knockout, and recently overwhelmed UFC/Pride vet Jason Dent, earning another TKO victory. With his future bright and talent ceiling up in the clouds, Chris is unexpectedly grounded. He freely admits that his family and friends have played a big role in shaping him, not only as a fighter, but as a man. “The Assassin” took a break at the conclusion of his training camp to talk with MMA Spot about his up coming bout with Yoshida, the origins of his nickname, and what he is fighting for when the cage door shuts.

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Yount: How are you feeling ahead of your big debut with Bellator?
Lozano:
I'm feeling like I'm approaching one of the biggest opportunities of my life. There are many emotions in this type of situation, but excited and determined are the most felt.

Yount: What are preparing for when training for Yoshida?
Lozano:
Preparing for him. His strengths, his weaknesses, etc. Everything about the man I am preparing for. I feel like I already know him personally.

Yount: As a tough puncher, how do you see this fight going?
Lozano: I see it going thousands of different ways when I try to visualize it. I've played out every scenario in my head, but the one I believe most likely to happen is Yoshida unconscious when the fight is over.

Yount: What are your thoughts on Bellator as a whole?
Lozano: Bellator is an outstanding organization to fight for and emerging as staple in MMA. They are stacked with talent and signing new talent every day. They have come along way and I believe they have become one of the top organizations. It truly is an honor to compete amongst some of the best in the world.

Yount: Was there something about them and their offer that intrigued you?
Lozano:
The chance to fight the guys in their welterweight division. They have amazing talent there. I want to fight the best. Also, that chance to win $100,000. There are not a lot of opportunities for guys like me and other aspiring fighters to make that kind of money fighting. I have a family, a sick brother, a mother who deserves a better life than what she is living now. This is my chance to change my life and my family's. Everything about fighting for Bellator intrigued me. It is truly a dream come true.

Yount: What are your thoughts on the welterweight division in Bellator?
Lozano: STACKED! Dan Hornbuckle is a guy I have watched video on and admired for a long time. Ben Askren is one of the best wrestlers to ever come out of college and transitioned beautifully into MMA. Rick Hawn and Yoshida are judo Olympians. Lyman Good is one of the best welterweights on the planet right now! There are so many good guys in that division, I am totally honored to be a part of it.

Yount: Any of the other welterweights that you'd like to face above the others?
Lozano: Lyman Good because he is the champion. The champ always has a target on his back. I want that title and I will stop at nothing to get to it.

Yount: Where are you from? What kinds of sports did you play coming up?
Lozano: I'm from Cleveland, Ohio. Growing up I played football and I wrestled. My mother put me in tae kwon do because I was into fighting my whole life. I learned how to box at an early age, but really focused on getting better after high school.

Yount: At what point did you know you wanted to fight for a living?
Lozano:
I've always enjoyed sports and combat. Fighting for me was a natural thing because of the neighborhoods I grew up in. It was like swimming to kids in the suburbs. Summer time came around and people were playing basketball, football, or fighting in the neighborhood. I knew I had a talent because I never lost many fights. I thank my brother for that. He made me tough as nails and I love him for that. The older I got, the tougher I got. Once I started wrestling, boxing, and taking tae kwon do, I began to do well. That's when I knew I wanted to make a living doing something I was good at and that I enjoyed.

Yount: What is your combat sports background?
Lozano:
Boxing, wrestling, and tae kwo ndo.

Yount: Tae kwon do gets a bad rap in the sport sometimes, do you feel that it has been a good striking base? What are it's advantages in MMA?
Lozano:
I definitely think tae kwon do gave me a great kicking/striking base. I think guys who only know how to use tae kwon do are at a disadvantage because the hand striking techniques are not good for the sport of MMA. If you know how to box, are good with your tae kwon do kicks, and can put them together, then that makes you a deadly stand up fighter. Tae kwon do kicks like the spinning back kick, wheel kick, and front push kick are all great weapons in the cage.

Yount: Can you explain the nickname "The Assassin"?
Lozano:
I took the name The Assassin from the late and great Eddie "The Assassin" Johnson. Eddie was a linebacker for the Browns in the 80's and early 90's, and he was my best friend's father. Eddie was the greatest role model, mentor, teacher, and male example I ever had. Much of the man I am today is because of Eddie. My name is to honor the greatest man I ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Yount: You're signed to Stars MMA, with Ron Foster and others. Can you explain how all that came about?
Lozano:
I had dealt with tons of managers trying to get me to sign crappy deals just so they could get a pay check from the percentage they make. I promised myself I wouldn't be taken advantage of like so many other fighters, and that I wouldn't sign with anyone until I knew they were legit in their craft and a good person. Life has taught me how to recognize fake people and it doesn't take me long to figure someone out. Ron is just genuinely a good person. While all these other managers were talking about what they could do, Ron was making things happen for me and my teammates.

He's the kind of manager you want. He's truly connected in the MMA world, he makes things happen, and he takes pride in himself and what he does. Most importantly, Ron will not allow you to do something he, or yourself, is not comfortable with. Ron came to me with many offers, offers no other manager could make happen for me, and he sat down with me and helped me make the best decision for my career. I checked him out and spoke to fighters like Jorge Masvidal, Hector Lombard, and Crazy Horse, people that knew him personally, and they all had nothing but great things to say about Ron Foster and Stars MMA. I'm a good judge of character and I chose my management team carefully and wisely.

Yount: Who has been your biggest mentor while working up through the sport?
Lozano: As a child, it was Eddie Johnson. As a man, the person I trust the most when it comes to my career is my coach, Marcus Marinelli. Marcus and I met years ago. He is not only a coach, but he is also my friend. He is a man based and grounded in principles. I never knew a person as loyal to others as Marcus until I met him. Growing up amongst so many negatives, there weren't a lot of people that I met with the qualities of Marcus Marinelli. I have learned so much about being a better fighter from Marcus, but I'm most appreciative of the things I have learned about being a better man from Marcus Marinelli.

Yount: Of your five fights, which one has been your favorite and why?
Lozano:
My favorite fight was the Jason Dent fight. It was my longest fight and my biggest test. Jason Dent has been to the level I'm just now getting my shot at. Beating him and stopping him let me know I was ready.

Yount: Did you have to cancel any fights once you signed to Bellator?
Lozano: No. I had a fight with Chad Raneir, but he got KO'ed pretty bad in Singapore 14 days before he and I were supposed to fight. It was a dangerous fight for him after suffering a knockout a few weeks before.

Yount: Where do you train? Who are some of your coaches/teammates?
Lozano: I train at Strong style Martial Arts in Independence, Ohio. My coaches are Marcus Marinelli (Head Coach), Pablo Castro (jiu-jitsu), Joe Delguyd (boxing), Victor Ventresca (wrestling), Leo Keglovic (boxing), and Joe Slokar (Muay Thai). Some of my teammates include Forrest "The Meat Cleaver" Petz, Jeff "The Grinder" Cox, Brian "The Predator" Rogers, Nick "The Savage" Duell, Jessica "Evil" Eye, "Big" John Hawk, Stipe Miocic, Matt Masterson, and many more.

Yount: How much weight do you typically cut to fight at 170?
Lozano: Typically I cut about 10-15 pounds for a fight. Depending on how my diet has been. My first cut was about 20 pounds, but I have maintained in the mid 180's since that experience.

Yount: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of training?
Lozano: I enjoy the learning part of training and getting better. I am a martial artist and part of being a martial artist is becoming better at martial arts. I love the discipline and hard work that goes into what I do. I feel like it separates me from a lot of others. Sparring and training is hard on the body, but once you heal and enter a fight, you're sharper than most people on the planet. So that's a pretty awesome feeling as well. My least favorite part of training is the dieting. I'm a fat kid at heart and food is something I love to enjoy. There ain't much to enjoy about plain oatmeal, egg whites, and water.

Yount: Do you have a guy you look up to in the sport?
Lozano: I look up to all the household names and guys that have proved to the world they are great. I look up to those guys because I too want to be the best.

Yount: What do you do to get away from the sport? Do you have any hobbies?
Lozano:
When I'm not training and fighting, I'm with my friends and family. I like to read, watch movies, play chess, and things of that nature, but nothing feels as good as relaxing with the ones you love and just enjoying life.

Yount: Do you have any family? Do they support your career?
Lozano: I have family, and they all support me. I am a blessed person. I have a lot of people who are behind me and support me, not just family.

Yount: You mentioned that you fight for your mother and brother. Can you explain your brother's situation?
Lozano: My brother has MS [multiple sclerosis] and is pretty sick right now. MS effects the brain and nervous system. Some people lose their ability to walk due to MS. My brother hasn't lost his ability to walk, but he walks with a cane when his sickness is occurring. It is my plan to help my brother to the best of my ability to conquer his sickness.

Yount: Any sponsors or teammates you'd like to thank?
Lozano: I'd like to thank my entire team, Strong Style Martial Arts, located at 6900 Granger Rd. Independence, Ohio 44131. Also, DOM Fight Gear, John P. Lennon, CAP Therapies and Consulting. I want to thank MuscleSpeed my Accelerative Neutracuticals, Laforce Lawncare, D. Daniel Productions, Bas Rutten MMA Systems, and Quality Towing of Cleveland, Ohio. Thank you.

 


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