This week I was able to catch up with Professional Mixed Martial Artist Chris Crosby. Chris holds a record of 3-2.
As a Josh Mancuso BJJ Blackbelt what made you want to enter the world of MMA?
To be honest when I started BJJ 12 years ago, I went into it with the mindset I think a lot of people have. I went to an MMA class first and thought ‘oh I’ll be ready to fight in 3 months.’ I was kind of a young athletic kid at the time and the more I learned the more I realized there’s a lot more to this than just going into a cage and hitting people in the face, and being able to defend chokes and armbars. So the more I learned the more I wanted to learn and the deeper I got into it. I really just fell in love with BJJ. I started competing in BJJ, doing really well. Then 5 years went by, and 6 years go by, and when I was a brown belt I knew I wasn’t getting any younger.
First, to say that I did it. Second, to test the skills that I had. I wanted to be a coach and to go out and prove the things that I’m teaching work. The best way to do that is to test yourself with competition. So I signed up for my first MMA competition with Tim Credeur’s promotion in 2018, I believe. I won that fight with a first-round submission. (Bayou FC 32 Jesse Henry) I really enjoyed it! I enjoyed adding the other side of the coin of BJJ. Ultimately, it gives me more to learn and more to give to my students.
“I never wanted to get caught in the first exchange, and if I can get through that I can get into a groove. It’s competition and that’s how I view fighting – competition.”
I understand you were injured here recently, can you elaborate on that?
I have a corneal abrasion or a tear on my cornea. It’s feeling like it’s healed or better since I began treatment. Well, the original treatment was to just put a contact on it to protect it so your eyelid won’t rub against it when you blink. – do a couple of eye drops and you’re fine, but with MMA and BJJ I tend to get hit a lot. It kept getting injured, and my recovery took longer. Actually, in my second fight this year I fought with that injury and lost to Angelo Trevino. It was a mistake to fight, and I’m not using it as an excuse for the loss. I actually went into that fight with a protective lens on my eye. If you look at the prefight pictures you can see my eye is almost shut. Again, this is not an excuse for the loss – he beat me, he was a better man that night, but I do feel like I was a shell of myself. I trained a couple times when my eye was injured, and it just wasn’t the same. That’s the reason I pulled out of my fight I had scheduled with Justin.
Where are you at in your recovery?
I received a very advanced treatment. It’s actually a stem cell treatment. They put like a disc over the eye and over the course of a week your eye absorbs those cells. It’s supposed to be a full recovery. I have a follow-up in a couple weeks, but I have full permission to train. I competed in the Pans this past weekend. It felt great! My vision is pretty much back to normal.
It looks like you took a break from MMA , but then started tearing up the BJJ scene. Was that just you have to be competing in something no matter what?
That’s definitely what it is! I have trouble sitting still. I have to stay really active. It’s easier to stay motivated to train when I have something on the calendar. I feel like I’m a better coach when I have something on the calendar. Just being there live allows me to see and learn so much.
Is there a difference in preparing for an MMA or BJJ competition or is it pretty much the same system?
I find it very similar. Obviously with MMA you have to add in your strikes and your wrestling – the necessary tools for MMA. Mentally, it’s very similar. I’ve been competing in BJJ for so long it helps quiet the storm when MMA fights come. It is a bit more nerve-racking when you add the strikes in there. So many more things can happen in MMA – so many more unknown variables. The thing I was always worried about in MMA was that very first exchange. I never wanted to get caught in the first exchange, and if I can get through that I can get into a groove. It’s competition and that’s how I view fighting – competition.
Will we see an improved Chris Crosby after you’re healed up? Will you be making a run in 2021?
I hope so! I’m looking to have 4 or 5 fights next year. I feel like I’ve learned a couple things coming off these losses. I actually did some good things in the striking department in those fights. If learned, I can play the striking game and use the BJJ when necessary, going forward -flipping that switch a little earlier, not relying too much on my BJJ.
“It was a stressful time, because we tripled our size and doubled our bills – then the state told us we could not do business.”
Are you working with a striking coach?
My last fight I went and did some training with Jimmy Mills. I don’t train with him enough though to call him a coach. We have a lot of guys in-house that we share ideas with, but that’s something I’m looking to add. I had a conversation with Tim (Credeur) and spent a few days getting some work in. The biggest thing with me is understanding that my striking is proficient, and I need to trust it more. I need to find somebody who will give me that confidence to be able to go to it earlier. Josh Booty kind of acts like an MMA coach for us. He’s a NOGI world champion Purple Belt and has a 2-0 pro record from when he was competing about 10 years ago. He is the guy that can kind of teach and go over things when I go into student mode – because it’s hard to do both in the same session.
You also just opened a new gym recently?
It’s the same facility, the same business so to speak. We moved into a bigger building. We actually signed the lease a week before we got shut down for Covid. It was a stressful time, because we tripled our size and doubled our bills – then the state told us we could not do business.
How is everything going now with the gym?
We’re alive, and the only thing I can credit for that is the trust and the faithfulness of our members. Most of them stuck with us throughout. We closed for about a month, but that was mostly for renovations. Obviously, we had to close because of Covid, but that gave us time. Once some of the restrictions got lifted we were able to operate the business as usual. With the things that we’re doing we really can’t social distance. I just put it out there for our members like, ‘look this is what we’re doing, and these are what the recommendations are. If you feel comfortable, come by, if you don’t we understand.’ That was the attitude we took towards it, and we’re running at capacity now.
Do you have a prediction on Dustin vs. Conor?
I think Dustin has gotten much better since the last fight and he looks much better at 155. I think it’s going to be a close fight, and I do not see Conor dominating again. I think Dustin will come out on top.
Lastly, bro anyone you want to thank or shout out?
My coaches and training partners – Erick Raposo, Josh Mancuso, Josh Booty, and Derek Rawls up-and-coming. Larry Bradford is fighting and competing a lot. Those are the guys who are around me!
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