One of the many compelling storylines attached to this Saturday’s UFC 165 card is that it will mark the return of Costa Philippou, who has yet to fight in 2013. The promotion’s #7 ranked middleweight, who will fight Francis Carmont on September 21st, hasn’t fought since last December when he stopped Tim Boetsch. Considering Philippou has won five straight bouts, it will be interesting to see whether he can continue his run against the Tri Star middleweight, who’s won five in a row since arriving in the UFC.
Due to his recent successes, Philippou was booked to fight fellow contender “Jacare” Souza in May, but a pre-fight cut forced him to withdraw. Although he’s gone nearly 10 months without fighting, Philippou recently relayed to UFC.com that he’s benefited from the time off.
“It was a good thing in that I needed some time away from the sport,” said Philippou in his typical matter-of-fact manner. “I had a lot of – I don’t know if I can call them injuries, but minor pains and aches that just needed time to heal. I’m 100 percent now. I’ve switched gyms, I’m in the process of moving – I’ve had a lot of things on my mind, so I wouldn’t be able to focus on the fight.
“I took advantage of the time away, I set everything in my life straight, and I’m ready to get back stronger and healthier.
Philippou has also changed camps since his last scrap, as he left the Serra-Longo Fight Team to go train with Bellmore Kickboxing. Naturally, the change-up prompted some to conclude it took place since middleweight champ Chris Weidman continues to train with Matt Serra and Ray Longo. Philippou says that’s not the case.
“It had nothing to do with Chris Weidman. He did a great job, and I’m happy for him, his family, his kids. It had nothing to do with my decision,” said Philippou, who added that he felt like he needed a change. “I left the gym before he had the title.”
It’s big fight for Philippou, as although Carmont hasn’t drawn a ton of praise for a couple of his decision wins, he’s defeated several tough vets thus far.
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