It’s been nearly six years since Cole Campbell’s last fight, but the layoff comes to an end Friday night.
Campbell (1-1) will take on Tom Theocharis (1-1) at Mamba Fight Night 5 in Aldergrove, B.C. in a professional welterweight bout.
Campbell, 26, said he’s excited to finally have a fight in place, and envisions having his hand raised before the 15 minutes is up.
“I’m down for a knockout or I’m down for a tap out,” said Campbell in an interview.
“If he hits the mat, he’s in for a surprise, and he’s also in for a surprise with the power of my hands.”
As is typically the case with Mamba Fight Night events, this bout will take place in a ring, as opposed to the cage most MMA fighters are accustomed to.
Although he’s yet to compete in a ring, Campbell, fighting out of Edmonton, Alta., said it’s something he’s been looking forward to doing, and doesn’t see it affecting his game plan at all.
“I’ve always wanted to fight in a boxing ring. It’s on the bucket list, so that’s pretty cool,” said Campbell.
“It’ll be a little less cage wrestling than I’m used to, but it should go as planned.”
Campbell’s last bout was back on Dec. 21, 2012, where he scored a submission victory over Brent Haley at Unified MMA 14.
But despite the long layoff, Campbell said he’s been in multiple fight camps since then, before having the bouts cancelled on him last minute.
He said he’s still been training and sparring harder than ever, and doesn’t expect to feel any rust when he steps in the ring.
“It’s been a long time coming. I haven’t been doing nothing though; I’ve been training the whole time. He can see my videos from six years ago, but I’m a completely different fighter today,” said Campbell
“I’ve been sparring the whole time, helping people with their training camps, and doing training camps of my own. I’m raring to go.”
Theocharis in Top Form
But Theocharis views Campbell’s layoff a little differently.
Theocharis, 24, said everything is going to feel new to Campbell again. From the weigh-in process to walking into the ring, he said it’s all going to add up.
“Anywhere you go, a six-year layoff in any sport is massive,” said Theocharis in an interview.
“I know he’s going to feel uncomfortable in there, and I’m going to make him feel uncomfortable in there with the type of pressure I’ll put on him and the way I fight. It’s already not a good look for him to have that layoff.”
With this fight being at welterweight and Theocharis typically fighting at lightweight, he said it’s been a nice change of pace not having to worry as much about cutting weight.
He said he’s been able to focus all his energy into his fight preparation, rather than having the weight-cut burden in the back of his mind.
“I’m so much less stressed right now, and so much more energized,” said Theocharis.
“The fact that I don’t have to cut as much weight has allowed me to enjoy this more. It’s been awesome.”
In addition to putting in work at his home gym, Adrenaline MMA Training and Fitness Centre, Theocharis, fighting out of London, Ont., also made a trip south of the border to train with athletes at Michigan Top Team in Dearborn, MI.
He said their workouts are some of the most tough and intense he’s ever been through, but just kept reminding himself it’ll all be worth it come fight night.
“These practices are just so tiring. They’re gruesome,” said Theocharis.
“But it’s exactly what I need because that’s how a fight feels. Being able to emulate a fight while in Michigan is something that really prepares me for Oct. 5.”
“I’d like to thank all my coaches and training partners, and my friends for babysitting my kids so I can train. I also want to thank Careit Urban Deli for doing all my meal preps this camp, and Pivotal Physiotherapy for making sure I’m recovered and 100 per cent for this fight.”
“I’d like to thank MMA Empire for the interview and helping guys like me make a name for themselves. I’d also to like to thank all my trainers and training partners, and my sponsors Burger Burger, Fresno’s – The Italian Table, Bentley’s and Bclutch.”