10 Questions With Chris Clodfelter
(1) How did you know that you wanted to fight competitively?
From the time I watched my first martial arts movie I knew thats what I wanted to do, be a professional Martial Artist. I was a huge Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Ninja Turtles fan. I would watch their movies over and over and try to mimic the moves, but it wasnt until I was around 9 or 10 and I saw the movie Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee that I really thought of growing up to compete in the Martial Arts.
(2) What are some of the fighters/martial artists/coaches that have made an impression on you?
I have had so many teachers and coaches who really inspired me over the years but I would have to say 3 come to mind as having the biggest impact on my life as a Martial Artist. First was my Jiu Jitsu and striking Coach, Mickey Heath. I started training with Sensei Heath when i was around 14. I had already acieved a Black Belt in Amercian Karate, but this was my first taste of Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. After he showed me a leg kick, it changed everything about my stance and style of combat. I also had my first taste of grappling. Rolling with the more advanced students and getting beat down over and over was both exciting and humbling..lol. The biggest reason he had an impact on me, was that he taught me the true values of Martial Arts. He taught me discipline and respect for both my competitor and my coaches and important life lessons of humility and perseverance. The next person who had a tremendous impact on me was my main muay thai coach, Arjan Rick Davis. Arjan Davis taught me the true culture and essences of Muay Thai. He showed me the all the details that made the art both effective and deadly and really gave me the tools to become a world champion. Then final person who has had a huge impact on my growth as a martial artist is Muay Thai Legend, Grandmaster Toddy. Getting a chance to work and train with him was a dream come true and i learned so much about how to really interact with my own students and fighters and how to bring out the best in their performance as well as my own.
(3) Was there a fight that you’ve been in that, in part or in full, did not go so well? If so, how do you go about improving your results?
Yes, 2 fights in particular come to mind. In the first fight I was fighting a very tough wrestler and jiu jitsu stylist in Alabama. At the start of the fight he caught my first kick and slammed me down on the ground and proceeded to pound my face in over and over, after about 2 minutes of this I was able to wait for the perfect opportunity and catch is arm and lock it in a tight armbar from the guard that forced him to tap and give me the victory. In that fight I learned that no matter what is going on or how bad it looks there is always a way to win if you take a deep breath, relax, and focus. The second fight was one where it didnt go as good as the first..lol. I made a split second mistake in a tough bout and it cost me the whole fight. For a split second I turned to my stomach to try to get to my knees and then to my feet, but my opponent read my moves and sunk in his hooks to rain down punches until the ref stepped in, in that fight I learned that it only takes one split second miscalculation and things can go from great to not so great…lol
(4) I know that your a man of strong faith. How does your spirituality play a role in what you do?
It plays a HUGE roll in who I am as a person and as a martial artist and professional fighter. I am very humbled that God allows me to do what I love for a living and he gives me the breath and the strength to get through each fight and workout, with out him NOTHING is possible.
(5) What are the biggest problems that you confront when you are preparing for a fight?
Well the biggest problems is juggling my time. Being a father, teaching my classes, training my fighters, spending time with my girl, and then finding time for training my self can be a full time job in itself. So scheduling and trying to juggle everything would definately be the toughest part of the preparation.
(6) What goes through your mind before the ref drops his hand to begin a match?
I relax and let the training take over. I have a certain game plan that I have worked and prepared for so I try to focus on that but I still leave room for the fight to flow. You can have a game plan but the fights dont always go as planned, so you definitely have to be flexible.
(7) As a Traditional Martial Artist, what is your opinion of people entering the sport as a “Mixed Martial Artist?”
I truly would have to say I have mixed emotions. On one hand the idea of mixed martial arts is amazing, two warriors competing to see who is the better athlete. That is how I see my fights, when I step into the cage I want to test myself and my style but on the other hand a majority of guys in MMA (especially) the new crop of fighters seem to have no respect and very little ethics. Just go watch 90% of your local mma shows or old TUF episodes with guys peeing on each other’s pillows and getting in drunk bond fire brawls.
(8) You begin each match with a ritualistic, Muay Thai movement. Can you fill our readers in on what that’s about?
That is called the Ram Muay and Wai Kru. It is the ritualistic dance to honor your instructor, teachers, coaches, and family. It also serves as a great way to warm up before a match and get your head right.
(9) Is there a stigma or reputation that people have for you (or your profession) -good or bad- that you’d like to address here (or wish could be changed)?
I would like everyone to know that not all MMA athletes are like the “Junie Browings” of the world. MMA is a true proving ground for Martial Arts and athletes of all styles, many of the competitors are down to earth and overall nice guys who are very focused and determined to reach a goal.
(10) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Definitely see the gym growing even more and producing even more champions. In my personal career I see myself competing for about another 7 years and winning even more world titles and fighting in even more shows. Competing in the UFC is another goal, I was an alternate on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, so i would like to take the next step and compete for the organization. I also want to fight more in Thailand, I have my first fight scheduled for Dec. in Bangkok so I am pumped. Thank you again for taking the time to interview me and for spreading the word about the values of the martial arts.
STYLE(S): Muay Thai
PROFESSIONAL RECORD: MMA 9 wins 6 losses/ MUAY THAI 7 wins 1 loss
TITLES/TITLES HELD: Current United States Muay Thai Associations Pro MMA Lightweight World Champion and Current Circle of Fury Pro MMA welterweight world champ
VIDEO OF CHRIS: CLICK HERE