Chris Camozzi eyes debut against PFL champ – but wouldn’t mind boxing a YouTuber, either

Longtime UFC veteran Chris Camozzi has found a new home with the PFL, and he’s hoping to make a splash in his promotional debut.

Camozzi (25-14) was lined up to face 2019 PFL middleweight champion Emiliano Sordi prior to the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But when the schedule is redrawn for 2021, Camozzi said he’s not hoping for an easier assignment.

“I figure going in, why not fight the toughest guy first?” Camozzi told MMA Junkie. “That’s the best way to go about tournaments, I think. Get the toughest guy first when you’re fresh, you’re not banged up, no injuries. Plus stylistically, I think it’s a great fight. I like it.”

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. In the meantime, Camozzi said he’s just making the best of the time away from competition – which he insists certainly doesn’t mean time away from training.

“My focus is always the same,” Camozzi said. “Throughout my career, even when I didn’t have fights, I trained everyday. I guess it’s slightly different, but I just stay busy. I’ve focused a lot on like lifting and building power and stuff.”

While his focus is the same, Camozzi said the tweak in approach did produce some rather tangible benefits. Rather than grinding through sparring and high-intensity rolls, Camozzi said during the start of lockdown, he turned more to strength and conditioning work, and it resulted in positive changes to his entire body, in more ways than one.

“I’ve gotten so much stronger and more explosive,” Camozzi said. “I’ve gotten a lot faster. I’ve noticed a big difference in it, and I’ve never taken that kind of time in my career to do it, so it was nice. My body feels great.

“We’re always sore and hurting and everything, and taking so long off the mat – I think I took like a solid month, which I’ve never done before in my career – now I don’t wake up sore. I don’t walk like I’m 60 first thing in the morning. I can go run and my knees don’t hurt. My back doesn’t hurt, so there’s some definite benefits to taking some time off.”

But now Camozzi is ready to fight. He says his relationship with the PFL is strong, and he’s exciting to debut in 2021. But in the meantime, he’s seeking out other opportunities, as well, including the chance to make a professional boxing debut.

Camozzi said he was actually offered a slot on the planned Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. card but was told it wasn’t happening despite accepting the offer to fight Viddal Riley, a British pro boxer also known as a YouTuber and Internet personality.

“He turned it down, which I thought was kind of ridiculous,” Camozzi said. “You manage him, you offered me to fight him, I say ‘Yes.’ I thought it was a done deal.”

Camozzi said he also offered to box either Jake Paul or Logan Paul but was quickly rebuked. Still, he wants to make it clear he’s open to more offers.

“I box – I’ve just never competed in it,” Camozzi said. “I never competed in kickboxing either, and I went to GLORY and did fine, so I was excited. I like fighting. I like any kind of fighting. I’d do bare-knuckle, boxing, kickboxing, MMA. Anything.”

If he can’t scratch that itch before next year, Camozzi said he’ll still be fine. He’s on target for his PFL debut, and his current approach is featured in the latest edition of PFL’s “Prep Point” series, released today.

In the meantime, the 14-year veteran says he’s still got another four or five good years left, and he just wants to enjoy them and make as much money as possible.

And if that means taking on champs, so be it.

“I always go after the hard fights,” Camozzi said. “I take whatever.”

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