author: jacob nelson | staff writer
Going for the George St. Pierre record / Jeremy Davis
Makdessi now sits fourth in career fights
Every athlete dreams about being the best. Whether it’s in their sleep at night or throughout their day,. but what exactly does it mean to be the best? And how long does it take?
You could be the best team player like Tom Brady, who year after year would take enormous pay cuts just so the team would have more leverage when trying to surround him with talent. As history has shown, it paid off with no less than six Super Bowls to his name, Brady has become the most decorated player to ever play in the NFL.
You could also be the best individual athlete in your sport like Serena Williams, who on eight different occasions reached number one in her sport in a span of fifteen years. Her career record puts her over 800 wins with just under 140 losses. After starring in a recent advertisement for Nike as a featured player and narrator, it’s fair to say that Serena has reached every athlete’s goal of being the best.
But none of this happens overnight. It could take years of constant dedication to reach the top. Ronnie Coleman took six years of hard work and discipline to reach the top. Entering his first Mr. Olympia in 1992 and not winning the title until 1998. He then went on to win eight titles from 1998 to 2005. Highly regarded within the world of bodybuilding, Ronnie was the definition of patience, intelligence, and discipline.
That determination that we have seen in all the greatest athletes is the same determination UFC fighter Jon Makdessi seem to possess. The 33-year–old Canadian-Lebanese mixed martial artist has competed in 16 fights in the UFC.
This last Saturday Jon Makdessi climbed into the Octagon for the 16th time against Jesus Pinedo. This gives Makdessi the fourth most career fights by a Canadian in the UFC, trailing behind the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Patrick Cote, and Sam Stout. Makdessi hopes he can also leave his mark in the Canadian record books. With a lot to live up to Makdessi finds himself even more committed to the sport now than ever before.
Makdessi now trains in Milwaukee under coach Duke Roufus, a four-time kickboxing world champion. It’s a lonely existence.
“MMA is my wife, it’s my girlfriend, it’s my best friend. All I do is watch tape and eat, sleep and train – three, four hard training sessions a day,” he said in an interview with Neil Davidson from The Canadian Press and published in The Globe and Mail.
While Makdessi continues to compete with the same intensity that he has since he was six, it’s not been an easy road getting to where he is. Makdessi has gone up against elites like Donald Cerrone and Lando Vanatta with no luck on his side. He suffered a broken jaw to Cerrone and a brutal spinning wheel kick to the head from Vanatta. The latter knock–out forced Makdessi to take a step back and re-evaluate his training and social life.
Makdessi was also very open about what its like to compete in the octagon and how much of a toll it can take on both your mental and physical health. However, Makdessi also talked to Davidson about his love for the sport and what it has done for him. He said mixed martial arts was “kind of my escape from everyday life.” He started at six years old and says the years of training have kept him sharp and disciplined.
While Makdessi shows much pride in fighting under the Canadian flag as well with his Lebanese heritage, he also fights for something a little more personal to himself.
“There are a lot of things that go behind the scenes as a fighter and I want to be a good role model for youth growing up to teach them how to be smart when it comes to picking this path. Because many fighters don’t have fathers, or they don’t have good mentors to guide them the right way, a lot of these fighters are alone. It’s a very tough sport.”
While Makdessi is still very much a student of life and fighting, he hopes that the knowledge he has obtained in his time as a professional fighter can be of assistance to others looking to make martial arts a part of their life.
“Hopefully I can give the youth some wisdom if they decide to choose a journey as a martial artist,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn as an athlete and a fighter, also as an independent entrepreneur, because you are essentially self-employed,” he added.
Makdessi (33) still has a bit of an uphill battle to reach fighters like George St-Pierre, who is looking to take on Khabib in November. He still has a lot of fight and shows no sign of slowing down.
“My goal is to be one of the top Canadian fighters in the UFC,” Makdessi said in an interview. “It’s an honor for me to represent Canada and also my heritage – Lebanese.”
To have the privilege of representing your country in the sport you’ve spent your life competing in is a very unfamiliar feeling for most of us. Its fighters like Makdessi that provide a way for us to feel a sense of pride when they make direct statements that they are competing for our nation.
Its why we continue to support athletes like St. Pierre and Makdessi. We wear their clothes and watch their documentaries. We follow and like every post they make on social media. We write about them in newspapers and blogs. Celebrities talk about them on T.V. and pay a lot of money to watch and support them from beside the Octagon.
Jon Makdessi’s most important fights are the ones in front of him. He has a long way to go to reach the top, but from what we’ve seen time and time again, it is the persistence and determination that lead many athletes to their ultimate goal of becoming the best.