Red Deer, Alta.’s Chris Chapman (3-1) returns to action this weekend to take on Lethbridge, Alta.’s Colton Cronkite (3-0) in a middleweight bout when BTC Fight Promotions makes its debut in Wild Rose Country for BTC 11 at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, Alta.
Cronkite has quickly stormed to an undefeated record with all first round finishes and Chapman, 28, said he’s aware of the challenges ahead and said he’ll be ready for anything on fight night.
“I think he’s pretty well-rounded, he’s from a really good camp. But as far as I know he’s a grappler,” Chapman said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“All of his wins are in the first and they’re by submission. He’s a big dude, but I’ve heard he gasses out quickly. I’m not saying I’m going to out-cardio him, but it’ll be interesting. He is a tough guy, he might be thicker than me, but we’ll be around the same weight on fight night.”
While Cronkite is known for his submission skills, two of Chapman’s three wins have also come via rear-naked choke.
Expecting the fast starter Cronkite to take a grappling-heavy approach in their matchup, Chapman said he will look to weather the early storm and see where things go from there.
“For the most part I think taking me down is what he’ll try to do,” Chapman said.
“I haven’t watched all of his fights, but from what I’ve seen, in the first 20 seconds, he’s looking to push you up against the cage and implement his strength. I’m not afraid to be on my back; I have lots of submission wins and my offensive wrestling is good too, so who knows, maybe I’ll take him down.”
After taking a little time off to celebrate the birth of his second child and to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Chapman feels like he’s in a great place, both mentally and physically.
Having fought at lightweight in the past, Chapman is still weighing the pros and cons of which weight class he’d like to call home going forward.
“Nothing has really changed too much, I’m just more mature about the training now,” Chapman said.
“I am 6’2″, so when I was fighting at 155 I was a lot younger and cutting over 20 pounds in the sauna. I felt like skeletor walking to weigh-ins. Now, I walk around above 200 pounds, probably after this one I’ll try 170 again, play around and see what my body can handle. But I’m always game for anything.”
Chapman is always looking to get the most out of this training camp, which meant he had to sacrifice some more time for travel this time around.
Chapman said it’s definitely been worth it and he’ll be looking to make all the extra hours pay off on fight night.
“I train mostly out of Red Deer Arashi Do, but I’ve been travelling to Cardinal MMA in Calgary twice a week,” Chapman explained.
“It’s been a lot of travel, but everyone that I train with has all helped me tremendously with everything. The more rounds you can get with different bodies it’s good.”
With an abundance of high-level grapplers at his disposal, Chapman has been able to make the preparations he believes will lead him to victory over a strong grappler in Cronkite.
“Jett Grande is a stud wrestler and that’s kind of what Colton does, so for the most part Jett’s been shooting on me constantly in training camp,” Chapman said.
“I’ve focused a lot on wrestling and my jiu-jitsu and, of course, I’ve done lots of sparring. After my time off, it’s nice to get used to the reaction time again.”
Chapman has never been one to shy away from a tough test inside the cage, having made his professional debut against a more experienced Scott Hudson.
Now, a showdown with an undefeated fighter is exactly the type of challenge Chapman said he’s looking for at this stage in his career.
“I’ll fight anywhere that wants to put me on and help me progress my career,” Chapman said.
“And that’s the thing, I don’t want to fight inexperienced guys. I’ve been in the game awhile now, so it’s not like I’m a new guy. I’m looking for a challenge.”
“All my training partners, everyone at Arashi Do and Cardinal MMA, my wife, friends and family, and everyone who supports me.” Follow Chapman on social media: INSTAGRAM