Midoux : the time is now?
Joao Pedro Tinoco, Gracie Magazine Senior
Editor, 24 November 2003
Arts are huge in France. The country is internationally known for the high level
of its Judo and Muay Thai, with world class fighters such as Olympic Champion
David Douillet and K-1 superstar Jerome LeBanner. Other traditional styles like
karate and aikido have tens of thousands of practitioners. But even with all this
the country hasnt been able to establish itself in the Mixed Martial Arts
world. Not until now, because this seems to be about to change.
the crossover of K-1 fighters into the vale-tudo world in Japan, LeBanner has
been selecting the best France has to offer in order to build a powerful team.
His most recent pick is 185cm, 105kg Kristof Midoux, probably the countrys
number one MMA fighter. At 28 years old and with an extensive record in minor
events around the globe, it seems like the time has finally come for Kristof.
I caught up with him right after another training session in Menton, a tiny French
Riviera city that stands between Monaco and Italy, to find out whats up.
has been a lot of talk in France concerning your addition to Jerome LeBanners
team. Apparently he even spoke about it on a TV show. What is really happening?
Midoux : Jerome LeBanner spoke to a friend of mine and then called me.
He wanted to meet me and see me training. I met him in Paris, showed a tape with
one of my fights and he liked it. Then last week I went to his house, where he
has his own training center, and he saw me training and sparring. I didnt
know him before that and I truly think he is a nice and honest man. So hopefully
he will help me in the future.
what about the rumors saying that you might fight in Japan in December?
Midoux : Yes, its true. Jerome is trying to put me to fight in Japan
in December. I still dont know in which event or who my opponent will be,
but he gave me the ok and Im already training for the fight.
you think that with LeBanners help France might one day become a power in
Mixed Martial Arts?
Midoux : Yes, I think so. Actually in my opinion he is the only
person who can take the sport to another level in France. Hes a world class
fighter with a lot of experience and he knows a lot of people. Being a high-level
professional fighter, he cannot be fooled, because he can easily tell who has
the skills and who doesnt. And the more people he discovers, the better
for him too, because he will have a strong team and many quality sparring partners.
So yes, I do think he can make a big difference.
have been involved with Mixed Martial Arts for many years now, and even though
you have fought in some traditional events like UCC in Canada and Hook n Shoot
in the U.S., you never really had a chance in a big show. Do you think your time
Midoux : I think so. I hope so! (smile) I have already proven to
everyone who knows me that I have skills and that Im not afraid to fight.
So yes the time is now, I can hardly wait to step in the ring to test myself in
front of a big crowd and against high-level opponents. Ive been through
some really hard times, and now I want to be able to fight for a better life.
few years ago you had a very serious car accident that not only kept you away
from fighting but almost left you paralyzed. What happened?
Midoux : I had just returned to France after the 2000 BJJ Pan-Am Championship,
and my baggage was lost. Then I received a call from the airport saying that they
had found my bags. I was really tired and wanted to stay home and sleep to help
kill the jet leg, but since I had to go all the way back to the airport, I decided
to also go train. I rented a shitty car and it broke down on the highway. I pulled
over and while I was calling a friend to pick me up, bang!, a 38 ton. truck hit
my car from behind. The car was completely destroyed and I broke the window and
jumped outside. Thats when I felt my neck powerless. I had broken two neck
bones. The doctors said I needed surgery and that Id never walk again. I
refused to accept it and left the hospital. Another doctor even told me that it
was possible to recover, but it was more likely I would commit suicide after six
months trying to get better. I spent two years in hell, but finally made it. I
lost some mobility on my neck, and Ive been living with some pain, but I
made it. I train normally and fight professionally. To be honest I think the accident
made me a better fighter, today Im much stronger mentally.
though you cross-train like most modern MMA fighters, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is your
big passion. How did you get so closely involved with BJJ?
Midoux : Im a fourth degree black belt in Kyokushinkai Karate, but
like most people around the world, I was impressed with Royce Gracie fighting
in the UFC. Then I went to a Rickson seminar in Paris, and I wanted to see him
live, touch him, feel him. He caught me in an armlock in a few seconds, I didnt
even have time to tap, he was so fast that he stopped it himself (smile).
That was about six years ago. And ever since that Ive been to Brazil 15
times to learn and train BJJ. Whenever I have a chance to go there, I go. Because
in Brazil, unlike France, people want to train hard and improve.
it true that you can speak fluently Portuguese and also Russian?
Midoux : Yes, its true (smile). My first time in Brazil was
really hard. And I knew that I should learn Portuguese in order to speak to all
the people in the academy and not only to the master. Brazilians are very friendly,
so whenever I learned a new word, Id write it down in my notebook. I remember
once this beautiful girl asked me something, and I felt really bad because I couldnt
understand anything. Thats the day I realized I HAD to learn the language!
(smile) And about Russian, my girlfriend Natacha is Russian, so she helps
a lot. I really like the language, and just like with Portuguese, I want to be
able to speak to Russian wrestling and sambo masters.
are you preparing for what can be considered the fight of your life?
Midoux : Im training with the people who always helped me. Theres
a big sambo academy near my house, run by Christian Bruzat, and I use it to train.
I work out in Antibes, at the Versace Gym, owned by my friend Fofo, and also in
Marseille with the guys from Jerome LeBanners team. So I spend most of my
days driving around! (smile) I do BJJ, boxing, muay thai and wrestling,
besides weights and conditioning. Ill be in the best shape of my life for
this year you went to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to compete in the Abu Dhabi World Submission
Wrestling Championship (ADCC). How was that experience?
Midoux : I fought Sean Alvarez and lost in the overtime. It was a good
experience, but I need to learn the rules a little better and use more strategy.
I always fight looking for the submission, but the level there is really high,
so you need to pay attention to points. I had done well in the European Trials
in Finland, where I submitted my first two opponents and lost by points in the
final. Hopefully next time Ill do much better.
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