LI's Costas Philippou looks forward to fighting -- on his feet
The book on fighting Costas Philippou reads more like a pamphlet.
His opponents know it, he knows it, and he knows his opponents know it.
"There's no secret what I'm trying to do," the 10th-ranked UFC middleweight from Massapequa Park said. "I want to go in, I want to exchange punches and kicks, win or lose. I want to win or lose on my feet."
But this is mixed martial arts, a sport that incorporates boxing, wrestling and jiujitsu, among several other disciplines.
"I don't want anything to do with the ground," said Philippou, 34. "Yeah, we do a takedown, 20 or 30 seconds, we punch each other, we get up, we continue again. I don't want to stay in position and hold on. I'm not that guy and I'm OK with that."
That style has served Philippou well. It also lends itself to a more exciting fight, an ideal scenario for the main event against sixth-ranked Luke Rockhold at UFC Fight Night in Duluth, Ga., on Wednesday.
If he wins, great. If he loses, OK. So long as it excites the crowd.
"Let's say I go out, we go five rounds and we kill each other and I lose and we get an exciting fight, get fight of the night, honestly, I wouldn't be upset," Philippou said. "I will come home and I will have a party just like the same way I will have a party if I win the fight. We get bloodied up, I hit him, he hits me, we get fight of the night, I'll come back and I'm going to be acting like I'm a winner."
Philippou (12-3, 5-2 UFC) put together a five-fight win streak that was snapped in September by the takedowns and ground control of Francis Carmont. That fight, to be polite, was less than thrilling to watch. To be more blunt, as UFC president Dana White was on Twitter that night: "Sorry I just woke up! Thank god that's over."
Philippou agreed with his boss' assessment.
"I was the one in the fight and I was falling asleep," he said. "I wanted to fast forward. It was like hugging and kissing over there. That was a disgrace. I'll be the first to admit it. I'd rather quit fighting."
Philippou, who emigrated from Cyprus nine years ago and recently became an American citizen, made a point to not blame Carmont for his own performance.
Carmont had a plan -- the same plan most have when facing the former pro boxer -- and he executed it. It's on Philippou to stop it from happening.
No matter how well or how poorly he may do stopping an opponent from taking him down on a given night -- he has a 75-percent success rate -- Philippou thinks about it often.
"I think I'm always going to be nervous because I'm more comfortable on my feet," he said. "Everybody knows I'm comfortable on my feet and I'm a good striker. They're looking, if they're smart, to take you out of your element and put you on the ground so that you're not going to be as dangerous."
Philippou possesses serious knockout power in both hands and in his legs. Keith Trimble, his trainer at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy, said he hits harder than anyone he's trained in the past 20 years. Ryan LaFlare, an undefeated UFC welterweight, at times dreads sparring with him.
"He can knock out anybody," LaFlare said. "Anybody."