Thursday, March 1, 2007

UFC 68: Exclusive interview with Luigi Fioravanti

By UFC Mania

Current United States Marine and former Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran Luigi Fioravanti will resume his new post as UFC fighter this weekend at UFC 68: “The Uprising” in Columbus, Ohio.

Fresh off a convincing knockout win over former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne in December, the 26-year-old Florida native will look to extend his four-fight win streak when he faces surging welterweight contender Jon Fitch.

We were fortunate enough to speak with Luigi prior to the upcoming bout and get his thoughts on his military career, training, preparation for Fitch and a whole lot more. How’s everything been so far getting ready for the fight against Jon Fitch at UFC 68 this weekend?
Luigi Fioravanti: It’ been going real well. I’ve been working a lot on my conditioning up here in Orlando, Florida, with the American Top Team (ATT) camp that includes my trainer Paul Rodriguez and fighters such as Seth Petruzelli. Every once in awhile I head down to ATT headquarters in Coconut Creek to train with those guys. ATT is a great camp. How’d you get involved with them?
Luigi Fioravanti: ATT is the biggest and best MMA team here in Florida and one of the best in the world. While I was training with Gracie-Barra in Orlando, I was actually invited to come down and check out ATT. I trained with them for a few days and realized pretty quickly that the team was the right fit for me and could prepare me for the things that I want to accomplish in MMA. Now, you made your professional MMA debut in February 2005 and then you were fighting Chris Leben in the UFC a little more than a year later in April 2006. How did that happen so fast?
Luigi Fioravanti: I actually fought twice in 2004, but I had no intentions of pursuing it as a career at the time. I was working and not really taking it too serious. I would just train a couple hours a day — a little jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, sparring and stuff like that. Then, Chris Cordero —Petruzelli’s manger — somehow got me a fight in the UFC after I had a few nice wins under my belt. When he asked me if I wanted the shot I said ‘hell yeah’ and things kind of just took off from there. At that point I was undefeated so I figured why the hell not. Let’s go back for a second. You actually started training MMA as a Marine stationed over in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, correct?
Luigi Fioravanti: I actually started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu while I was stationed in California. Me and a few guys would visit this small school right outside the base and train there. I did that on-and-off for like six months because my unit was deploying soon so we had to get a lot of military training in before we were shipped off. There wasn’t much time to roll around.

While I was in Iraq, I continued my training thanks to some of the martial arts programs the Marines set up for us. We had grappling, striking and stuff like that. We would just go at it with one another in our platoon for the most part. There was a belt system and a lot of hand-to-hand combat stuff that was integrated into the program. It was pretty cool.

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