Funny thing, this MMA, where a guy can go to sleep on a Friday night after a friend's wedding rehearsal and wake up Saturday morning to an offer from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to fight the No. 1- ranked middleweight the following weekend.
But Chris Camozzi didn't have time to laugh. He first had to figure out where he was going. All he heard was "UFC" and "Jacare" and "What can you weigh by Friday?"
"When I said yes, I didn't even know where the fight was," Camozzi said Thursday at media day for Saturday's UFC on Fox 15. "I forgot to ask Joe."
Camozzi will be inside the Prudential Center in Newark. More specifically, he will step into the octagon inside the Prudential Center to fight Ronaldo "Jacare'' Souza, a five-time jiujitsu world champion.
Camozzi, who last fought March 6 for Prize FC near his home in Denver after being released by the UFC last September, was a last-minute injury replacement after Yoel Romero injured his knee.. Camozzi vs. Souza is the co-main event for UFC on Fox 15, with middleweights Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold headlining the card.
"I literally rolled over in bed Saturday morning when I woke up, checked my phone and I had a text from Joe saying were you serious about fighting 'Jacare' again?" Camozzi said. "It almost seems fake it would happen that way. It's a heck of a way to wake up."
Camozzi said he posted on The Underground, a widely read forum on mixedmartialarts.com, that he'd love to fight Souza again. Camozzi got what he wished for, which is an elite fighter on a seven-fight winning streak with ever-improving striking to match his ground skills.
Souza (21-3, 4-0 UFC) said he was frustrated when he first heard Romero pulled out of the fight. They were supposed to fight in January, but Souza developed pneumonia before UFC 184 and pulled out of the bout.
Once Souza found out this fight still would go on, he relaxed and began adjusting his game plan for Camozzi.
"I was training to fight a short guy, a wrestler, and now I'm fighting a taller guy, a striker," Souza said through translator and manager Gilberto Faria. "So I had to adapt my strategy."
Souza didn't sound too worried about facing Camozzi. The two fought in May of 2013, with Souza winning by first-round submission. That began a four-fight losing streak for Camozzi (21-9, 6-6), which led to his release from the UFC last September.
"Someone trains three or four months to fight me and ends up losing, a guy who has a week to get ready, there's a big chance they're going to lose as well," Souza said. "But he has nothing to lose."