By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today we will sit down with a amateur rising MMA star Michael DeLouisa. Michael recently fought at Maverick MMA 1 winning his fight via head and arm choke in the first round and claiming the welterweight title. Let’s have a seat and talk with Michael and get to know this up and coming fighter.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Michael: I was born a fighter so I’m very happy I am able to pursue what I was put here to do.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts?
Michael: I began training martial arts at the age of 13 at a place called Cranford Fight Club in Cranford, New Jersey. I then took up wrestling at the age of 14. Years later I am still training and doing what i love to do.
Nick: What disciplines do you train and what belts do you have in them?
Michael: I train in a variety of disciplines. Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, multi, and boxing. I am currently a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Nick: Do you have an idea of when you would like to make your professional debut? Which promotion would you be looking at?
Michael: I have a five year plan. I would like to get four or five more amateur fights then turn pro in the next two years, but with all that said I am in no rush to turn pro and would like to refine and hone my skills and techniques. It would be an honor to fight in any pro organization that would have me, but I will without a doubt fight in the UFC in the future. When it is time for me to hit the pro circuit I want to be ready enough to make some noise.
Nick: What camp do you train out of? How long have you been with them?
Michael: I train out of Driven Gym in the Woodbridge, New Jersey. I’m also lucky enough to visit great gym’s like Nick Catone’s and Dante Rivera’s. I’ve been with my head Coach James Meal since I’ve been 18 years old. He plays a huge role in my life and I am very grateful and lucky to have him in my corner.
Nick: With your fighting style do do you prefer to keep the fight on your feet or take it to the ground?
Michael: I obviously have a wrestling background and my fights do end up going to the ground most of the time, but I’ve been working a lot on my boxing and all-around stand up. I’m beginning to get more and more comfortable on my feet and I can’t wait to accumulate some knockouts in the cage. I think my biggest strength inside the cage is my experience. I’ve wrestled my whole life in front of so many big crowds. It gives me the ability to stick to my game plan and not warp under the pressure of the lights. It also gives me the ability to tune into my coaches while they are coaching.
Nick: Most fighters get branded with a nickname at some point in time. Do you have one? If so who gave it to you and why?
Michael: I don’t have a fake name yet, but I have a few nicknames that most my teammates and friends call me. Nothing worth mentioning now. My great grandfather Johnny “KID” Alberts is in the New Jersey boxing Hall of Fame. I’ve always thought it would be cool to adopt that nickname and carry on, but I believe nicknames have to come organically.
Nick: People talk about the next generation of fighters all the time. There are always prospects hitting the professionals and making a splash. Do you feel that you represent the next generation of fighter in some ways? Do you feel any pressure to represent that next generation?
Michael: Technically I am the next generation coming up, but I believe that the meaning next generation needs much more than just up and coming fighters. I believe that the days of the brawlers is fading and the age of technique, footwork, distance, angles and all around more organic transitioning from discipline to discipline is among us now. For me it is a challenge I am looking forward to. I don’t necessarily feel pressure to represent the next generation. I believe that if I stay humble and hardworking I will motivate others just like I have been motivated by the people I look up to. Whether their fighters or not this is very important to me. I think it will also give people a better understanding of what the sport is really about especially to people who don’t agree with it.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What is your feelings on cutting excessive amounts of weight before a fight?
Michael: Cutting weight and fighter safety is a huge topic in mixed martial arts at the moment. I believe if you watch what you eat and diet using the proper nutrition and exercise you will not need to cut a crazy amount of weight like some of these fighters do. I believe it’s dangerous and harmful to your body, especially 24 hours before you get into a cage and fight another human being.
Nick: Since you are making this journey to professional career what advice could you give to new fighters wanting to work through the ranks like you are doing?
Michael: The best advice I can give young fighters starting out in the sport is the same advice many of my teammates, coaches, and legends in the sport have given me. First of all enjoy the journey. Not many people are fortunate enough to chase their dreams and compete doing the thing they love the most. I would also say that this is not a sport it’s fighting. It is very hard to stay positive and driven to continue. It will beat you down mentally and physically. Just stay humble keep your mouth closed and your ears open. Everyone was the nail before they were the hammer.
Nick: Do you have your next fight lined up yet?
Michael: You give me a date that I need to be at my best and I will fight anyone.
Nick: Maverick MMA 1 you faced off against Timothy Tyler. You were able to finish him 1:11 into round one. Prior to stepping into the cage did you think that you would win this fight so easily?
Michael: In my last fight against Timothy Tyler I did get the finish quicker than I had expected. Our fight was his 14th. amateur bout. He is a tough kid, but I think he needs to slow down and refine his all-around game before stepping into the pros. Fighting all the time is a mess. With all that said I knew I would come out with the win whether it took one minute or all three rounds.
Nick: After your win against Timothy you two exchanged some words in the cage. Can you share what was going on in that exchange?
Michael: After the fight I had gone up to thank him for the opportunity and for taking the fight on short notice. When I approached him he told me to “back off”. I guess since he had been unconscious he was a bit dazed and confused about what was going on. I then wished him luck on his wrestling tournament he had planned for the next day.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Michael: I have a few favorite fighters. My favorite fighter at the moment is Demetrious Johnson.The way he organically goes from discipline to discipline while fighting amazes me. I’m also very humbled and motivated by George St. Pierre. What he has accomplished in the cage is nothing short of inspirational.
Nick: If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be? Why?
Michael: If I could step in the ring with anyone it would probably be my great grandfather. I never got to meet him and I think it would be pretty cool to throw down with the man I believe passed me down the fighting gene.
Michael would like to thank his sponsors at Eat Clean Bro and 5kount. Special thanks to his coaches at Driven Gym. James Meals, Handel, Spida, Adam, everyone at Strategic MMA, Dante Rivera’s BJJ Academy and Nick Catone’s MMA. He also wanted to thank his friends, family, and fans for supporting him through this journey.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Michael. He is a class act and I believe he will go far in the fight game. Keep an eye out and an ear open to find out when he is getting into the cage again. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA