Q&A: John Makdessi on GSP, TriStar and giving back to the sport

Nova Scotia lightweight John Makdessi will fight Abel Trujillo on December 16 in Winnipeg, Canada. The 32-year-old has a professional MMA record of 14-2 and holds UFC wins over the likes of Mehdi Baghdad, Shane Campbell, Renee Forte, Daron Cruickshank and Sam Stout.

Ahead of his fight at UFC on Fox 26, Makdessi took some time to answer the questions of Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid.


Question: If you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?

JM: That’s a good question. I would have to say the Sam Stout fight. Sam Stout is someone I highly respect, he is a great fighter and I look up to him. Fighting a guy like that was a great honor for me and it was a great experience testing my skills, fighting smart, using all my skills and all the hard work I put in at the gym. The fight went the way I wanted it to go; not only to get the win, but mostly the way I fought. It was a great moment for me.

Q: You train at TriStar Gym, which houses a who’s who of MMA fighters. Can you share a story with us from inside TriStar’s walls?

JM: I spar at TriStar gym and we have great, high-level fighters in there all the time. I have sparred with so many good guys. Being able to work with champions like Georges St-Pierre and Frankie Edgar among others… I have sparred with both guys and both are great champions. The best part about training is that people don’t see that side of it. That, for me, is the most important side of it. There are so many great guys that work hard and have great sparring sessions. We all have fun and challenge each other. We are all competitive. Just being able to spar with those high-level fighters is a great honor.

Q: What would you be doing for a living right now if you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist?

JM: I was going to school, working, and training full-time. I decided, I made a choice, that if I reached a certain level I wanted to dedicate myself, full-time, to the sport, regardless of my income. I’m not making a lot of money anyway. But the point is, having a good support system and basically coming from a good family means I am very lucky and fortunate. My parents and my older brother, who helped me out financially, we are very close. He is a big part of my career. He works very hard with Fear the Fighter, the new clothing brand. With that support system I was fortunate enough to be able to focus fully on training and fighting full-time. I don’t see myself doing anything else. I love teaching, I love martial arts. I want to continue to give back to the sport.

Q: Who are your favorite fighters to watch compete?

JM: Obviously Georges St-Pierre. He’s an inspiration, a great athlete, a great role model and someone I look up to. Besides him, I was a big fan of kickboxing and someone who really inspired me to actually do MMA was Mirko Cro Cop. He’s a great fighter. I watched him transfer his skills from kickboxing to MMA. With my kickboxing background, seeing him do that was a huge influence. Also, I like watching Jon Jones, Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar… there are so many great guys out there.