Joe Camacho gets ready to throw a left hook against Akiyo Nishiura. Photo by Rick Estrada. Used with permission.
Joe Camacho continued his winning ways last week as he knocked out Thomas Denny to become King of the Cage’s newest lightweight champion at the promotion’s “Premiere” event this past Thursday.
Camacho is now riding a six-fight undefeated streak and hasn’t lost since the summer of 2006, defeating two of the world’s top-rated international fighters along the way
MMA on Tap was able to catch up with Camacho, who was willing to discuss his win over Denny, his future, his continual efforts to earn a rematch against current UFC lightweight contender Roger Huerta, and what he has planned for 2008 among other things in a short but news-filled question and answer session.
MMA on Tap: Break down the fight for us Joe. Did it go the way you planned?
Camacho: We had a good scramble right from the start. I slapped on a triangle immediately once I saw an opening but he pulled his head out. As he did that, I quickly transitioned into an omoplata. He rolled his shoulder in order to escape but I ended up rolling too in order recapture him in another omoplata but Denny immediately tried to get back in my guard. I slapped another triangle on him and again he powered his way out of it. After that, I threatened his arm for an armbar attempt but he just stayed low and tight and got himself back in my guard.
Denny came in for a head kick but there wasn’t enough juice behind it so I caught his kick after his shin thumped the back of my neck. Then I lifted his leg in the air as I kicked out his right leg from underneath him and slammed Denny on his back, forcing him to play his guard game against my top position attack before round one ended.
In round two, I knew I was behind on points in the judge’s eyes so the plan was to get him to exchange with me on our feet and set him up with body shots. I threw a solid right cross to the body, then a right front kick to his chest and came down for a low left hook to his ribs and as he dropped his hands, an overhand right I threw cracked him on the back of his jaw and he was seriously rocked after that.
He staggered throughout trying to keep his balance to remain on his feet and the funny thing is, I thought he was playing around, toying with me because he had a huge smile on his face. So I went in for a powered-up right cross and I missed him as he spun around. He crumbled to the mat and that’s where I stood over him delivering continuous unanswered blows to his face before his lights went out and Cecil stepped in to stop the match.
MMA on Tap: After Denny took you down in the first round and you tried some submissions, you seemed to pull a very tight guard and kept Denny from being able to work any sort of ground and pound attack. Was it strategy to attempt to get the fight restarted on the feet? Did you feel you had an better advantage standing than on the ground?
Camacho: When he took me down, I knew he was going to start his usual ground and pound game so all I did was tie up his right as he tried to posture up with his left every time and waited for him to give me an opening so that I can start firing submissions at him. I wasn’t too worried about his ground game because I was pretty confident in my guard opened or closed and I knew if I was going to be on my back, I had to threaten him with set-ups and attacks from all angles just to keep him at bay and honest.
I didn’t want to have the fight end up in the judge’s scorecards so I stalled and held Denny close, hoping that Cecil would stand us back up and that’s exactly what happened.
MMA on Tap: What’s next for you? Your first title defense in the near future or do you have something else lined up?
Camacho: Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s next as of yet. I do have a one fight non-exclusive deal with the IFL for sometime in the future of 2008 but other than that, I’m just hanging out, relaxing until opportunity knocks on my door. I’ve already been contacted by potential sponsors, management groups, agents, and fight organizations but I haven’t committed to anyone yet or spoken to anyone about what I want for me.
If I choose to hang on to the belt at KOTC, the offer has to make sense. I won’t sign anything if it doesn’t. I’ll just go somewhere else where I’d be taken care of.
MMA on Tap: Anything popping up in terms of the bigger organizations other than the IFL?
Camacho: I know the larger fight organizations will call. I know they know I’m not a stupid guy. They know what they have to do to get me to fight for them. I don’t know where I wanna go though. If the offer is right and fair, I’ll go there but if not, then I’ll just won’t sign anything until I get what’s fair.
If EliteXC wants me, the offer has to be handsome, not like what they tried to offer me before. If I go the EliteXC route, K.J. Noons would be the direction if they talk about a belt merger as they did for the ICON Sport/EliteXC show.
If I go the UFC route (if they call me), I’d like to call out Roger Huerta. I like Roger. He’s a cool guy and I have nothing against him. I’d just like to see how he does fighting me when I’m 100% prepared. In out last fight, he beat a fighter who did not train physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for that fight. He tested himself against an unprepared, weakened, unfocused fighter. Now I’d like to see how he’d do with a fighter who’s 100% ready and prepared.
Big John McCarthy stopped our fight due to the nasty cut on my face so lets finish it. Let’s finish what was started. That fight was round one. Let’s go for round two. Fight me at 100%. If you beat me, cool. You beat because you were better than me. In our last fight, I beat myself. He didn’t fight “Joe Camacho”. He fought a guy who jumped at opportunity without thinking twice. Fight me now, ready and prepared and let’s how you’d do fighting me at my best. That’s it.
If I don’t go the UFC route and the WEC approaches me, then I’d be a nice addition to their list of lightweights they have and it would be fun race to the title. Razor Rob is doing a good job holding on to that belt. Props to him but if I’m added to the lineup, that belt would only be a few fights away. Razor Rob is a good champion and he represents well but as they say, it’s not personal, it’s business and that belt is what I’m aiming for just like all of the the other lightweights.
You know, I can go on and on but ultimately, I have nothing planned right now and if opportunity presents itself and if the deal is sweet with all fairness, then hey, who am I to say no?
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