Lakewood’s Chris Camozzi’s kickboxing leads him to Glory

May 29, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chris Camozzi (red gloves) reacts to his win over Vitor Miranda (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Camozzi is ready to become a star in the world of kickboxing. In high school, Chris started wrestling, but wouldn’t fight in combat sports again until 2006, when he learned about MMA. Chris went back home and immediately started training in Muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. That training still helps Chris today. “My experience in Brazilian jiu-jitsu has more to do with grappling than kickboxing, but it’s helped me when it comes to finding leverage during a fight. Muay Thai was more important and eased the transition from the UFC to Glory.”

The Lakewood-based fighter burst onto the fighting scene during season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” In the season finale, ‘The Capo’ flashed some signature toughness by fighting — despite breaking his jaw earlier in the season — and winning. This showing was impressive and landed Chris a fighting contract with UFC.

Camozzi fought for the UFC until 2017, when he made the switch to Glory — and the reason for the switch actually came five years earlier when Camozzi met Dustin Jacoby. Camozzi met Jacoby during UFC 137, where they were both undercard fighters. “We just started talking and got along almost immediately,” says Camozzi. Camozzi and Jacoby started to become friends, only to find out that they’d be fighting each other in just a few months. Camozzi won the fight but the two have been friends and training partners ever since. Jacoby started fighting for Glory in 2013. This enabled Chris to see what Glory was like, and when his time with the UFC was up, Glory became the apparent landing spot. “Dustin was a big part of the decision. I’d help him train for Glory and I really enjoyed the fast-paced nature.”

Speed isn’t the only way that Glory is different from the UFC, but it’s easily among the most visible differences. Rather than three five-minute rounds, there are three three-minute rounds to force the athletes into conflict. “I like how Glory is faster than the UFC. There’s more action and less lulls, or stalling.”

‘The Capo’ won his very first Glory fight over Kyle Weickhardt by way of a TKO in the 2nd round, and Jacoby’s training played a big role. “Dustin is one of the top fighters in Glory, so training with him prepared me for the best.”

Camozzi is going to have to lean on more than just his experience in his fight against John King at Glory 56 in Denver. Luckily for him, he has plenty more to lean on. “I live here and train here year-round, so the altitude doesn’t affect me as much.” Camozzi is a much more accurate fighter than King as well. King lands 49% of his strikes, which is dwarfed by Camozzi’s rate of 70%. Camozzi also has the advantage of training. He owns and operates a gym that he also trains at, one full of kickboxers like him to spar against. Camozzi’s mix of endurance, experience, and precision gives him not just the opportunity to win Friday’s fight, but to quickly ascend to the top of his sport.