LAS VEGAS — Elias Theodorou has Greek heritage and nomadic tendencies. Each of his four training camps for UFC fights has occurred somewhere other than his native Toronto.
His world tour began with Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand and coach Patrick Cote for “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” finale in early 2014. Then came Tri-Star in Montreal, home to former champion Georges St-Pierre, for his October 2014 fight. Then, Brazil and training with the Nogueira brothers for a March 2015 fight.
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Next up: Longo and Weidman MMA in Garden City, home to trainer Ray Longo and UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
“I’m a big believer that knowledge is power and it’s all about the journey, and it’s been an amazing ride so far,” said Theodorou, an undefeated middleweight and former “TUF Nations” winner.
Theodorou (11-0) fights Brazilian Thiago Santos (11-3) on Thursday night at UFC Fight Night 80 in Las Vegas. Santos has won his last two fights by first-round TKO.
Theodorou said he met Weidman at an event in Canada last year and they got along. He asked if he could come to Long Island to do his training camp.
“With Chris, he was getting ready for the same time, and if he was willing to open his doors, I would love to come,” Theodorou said. “He did.”
Was it an easy sell?
“You’re fighting a pretty man who kicks a lot,” Theodorou joked in reference to Weidman’s opponent Luke Rockhold on Saturday. “I can help with that.”
Theodorou, who like Weidman is represented by Paradigm Sports Management, brought his coaches with him. He trained alongside Weidman and sparred with Gian Villante, Steven “Wonderboy” Thompson and Chris Camozzi, all UFC fighters brought in to help Weidman prepare for his title defense against Rockhold at UFC 194.
“Villante kicks like a horse,” Theodorou said. “I needed that because my opponent does, too.”
Training in another camp in another country presents its share of logistics. There’s finding a place to stay for five weeks (Theodorou said he found a nice place in Bellerose), renting a car and learning the geography of the area.
Finding the necessary food and nutrients needed during training camp was easy. Theodorou had meals from Fuel Foods brought to him when his coaches came in from Canada.
For Theodorou (11-0), who was a contestant on last summer’s Season 3 of “The Amazing Race Canada,” it’s not just about beating his opponent. He likes to throw a few pieces of flair into the equation.
“What really would make the icing on the cake is be doing something spectacular,” he said. “My last fight, I wanted to jump off the cage and kick him in the face like Anthony Pettis because we were fighting on the same card. Instead, I broke his arm in half and knocked him off. I guess I’ll settle.”
Theodorou’s interests go beyond the next person he’s assigned to punch and kick. MMA is a thing he does when he’s not modeling, acting, doing stunt work and, you know, posing for the cover of Harlequin romance novels.
“I don’t want to get hit in the head forever,” said Theodorou, 27. “Who was Arnold Schwarzenegger? He was a guy who won seven Mr. Olympias, so that was his way in. What better than mixed martial arts to get into stunt work and any type of acting?”