As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word. Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso is a 5-year mixed martial arts veteran and can currently be found competing in the Bantamweight division of the UFC. His current record stands at 11-3-0 with 4 stoppage victories and 7 wins by decision.
Cariaso is currently scheduled to face Vaughan Lee at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England. Read the interview below to find out why he thought he won his most recent fight against "Mayday" McDonald, what to expect at UFC 138 and more!
* * * * *MMAPG:
Thank you for the interview, Chris. How’s training going for you?CARIASO:
Training is going great. I have expanded my team. I have been working with strength and conditioning specialist John Pena at Power and Physique. I have spent the last month training in Montreal with Firas Zahabi, the Tristar Team and John Chaimberg. MMAPG:
You’re currently scheduled to fight Vaughan Lee at UFC 138 on November 5th, in Birmingham, England. Can you tell us a little bit about him? He’s a relative unknown in the US. Have you been able to find much to research?CARIASO:
I don’t know much about him. There is not much video on him; just a few videos on YouTube. He looks strong and has some submission skills.MMAPG:
Have you ever been to England? Do you plan on spending any time there after the fight?CARIASO:
I have never been to England. Unfortunately, I won’t spend any time there after the fight. Training camp has been long and I am ready to get back home to my wife and kids. MMAPG:
Going back to UFC 130 and your fight with Michael McDonald…is that a fight that you feel you did enough to win? Would you change your game plan up at all in the event of a rematch?CARIASO:
I feel like I did enough. I think if I fought him again, I would use more wrestling and grappling in the fight. MMAPG:
Can you give our readers some insight as to where you grew up and how you got into MMA? CARIASO:
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a life long martial artist. I started doing traditional martial arts at age 5. I started doing Muay Thai when I was 11 and had my first fight. I turned pro in 2005 in Muay Thai and had a couple fights. MMA was on the surge, so I decided to take a stab at it. I fell in love with it.MMAPG:
Were you always involved in sports growing up? CARIASO:
I was always into extreme sports. I started racing BMX when I was 8. As a hobby I ride mountain bikes and snowboard. MMAPG:
At what point did you know for a fact that MMA was the right choice for you? When did it all come together for you?CARIASO:
It was after my first MMA fight. I knew it was for me. MMAPG:
Do you have any hobbies you enjoy when you’re not training or fighting?CARIASO:
I really enjoy fishing, camping, and just spending time with my family. MMAPG:
Do you have a favorite movie?CARIASO:
Not really, I love a good comedy. MMAPG:
What about a favorite band or musician?CARIASO:
I love hip-hop. Depending on my mood, I like Eminem, Jay-Z , some old school Snoop Dog and DMX. MMAPG:
Where do you spend most of your time training these days and who are you training with?CARIASO:
I have had a couple changes in my life. I come from Fight & Fitness and Ralph Gracie in San Francisco. I just moved my family to Tucson, Az. I am training at Power and Physique with John Pena and MMA coach Rainy Martinez. My sparring partners are UFC featherweight George Roop and Bellator bantamweight Ed West. I have moved my fight camp to Tristar gym with Firas Zahabi. At Tristar I get to train with some of greatest fighters in the world. The list is long to name them all. MMAPG:
Are there any fighters in your gym that are on the cusp of “breaking through” or maybe they’re flying a little under the radar?CARIASO:
There are a couple guys at Tristar who are gonna be amazing. Aiemann Zahabi and Louie Sanos are going to be sick. MMAPG:
Looking back at your own resume – which win do you cherish the most and why? CARIASO:
The fight I cherish most is my first MMA fight. That is when I decided that I loved fighting MMA. MMAPG:
Would you ever consider fighting one of your teammates? Sorry, it’s a hot topic in the sport these days!CARIASO:
I would definitely not want to fight one of my teammates. These are the guys that help get to where I am. MMAPG:
What can we expect to see on November 5th?CARIASO:
You can expect to see a great fight. I am gonna be going for the finish. MMAPG:
Okay, Chris…again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck against Vaughan Lee at UFC 138. We look forward to seeing you in the Octagon again! Any final words?CARIASO:
Please tune in and watch my fight on Nov 5th. I would like to thank my wife Jen for supporting me. My teammates for helping me, my coaches John Pena, Rainy Martinez, Firas Zahabi, everyone at Tristar gym, Jon Chaimberg, Crispim Alexander, and everyone at Fight and Fitness in San Francisco. I would also like to thank my sponsors: Headrush, Warrior Mist, Clinch Gear, Lexani and Cardinale Way.
* * * * *Follow @chriscariasomma on TwitterChris "Kamikaze" Cariaso on Sherdog.com DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.