By Lance Edwards
There is something about Chico Camus (18-7) that can only be described as compelling. Whether it’s the background of how he got in MMA, his energy or his plain likeability, it’s hard to say. A veteran of RFA, LFA and the UFC, it’s easy to overlook him by his record. Once you unpeel the onion, and look at who he has fought, it paints a very different picture. Most of Camus’ career has been against top opposition.
Camus’ entry into the sport may represent one of the greatest success stories in MMA. Occasionally you hear people state that MMA saved their life, for Camus that may actually be a reality literally;
“I was a troubled kid and was in a gang. I was involved with gang violence and doing drugs. One day I ran into Anthony Pettis at a mutual friend’s barber shop. I heard him talking about a fight he had had, and I chimed in on the conversation. He told me he had a gym on Highway 100 and we exchanged numbers to train. It was July 3rd; we were getting our hair cut for the holiday. I called him the very next day, July 4th. He came and picked me up. He was going to use me as a body and beat me up. He had that happen a lot, and people didn’t come back. I used to smoke and when he got there I was smoking a cigarette. I threw it and got in, that’s how I approached it. He humbled me; I’d never lost a street fight. I threw my pack of cigarettes in the gym bin and never smoked again. I then trained with Anthony Pettis, it opened my eyes. I’d always thought I was tough, but realized I wasn’t. It humbled me so much I quit smoking cold turkey.”
Camus speaks very highly of Pettis, who LFA fans are familiar with from his WEC and UFC career;
“From there we became good friends. He became a mentor to me, even though he’s younger than me. He helped me out. I wasn’t trying to be a fighter, and I was trying to better myself. I had a baby on the way. If I had continued living my life the way I was, I’d be like my friends—six-feet under or in a jail cell.”
It was some ten months later that Camus had his first MMA fight;
“Anthony’s career was talking off and he told me he couldn’t manage me, so he handed me over to Duke Roufus. I went to Roufusport and the rest was history. I did well there, and training with those animals turned me into the beast I am today. Early in my career, my big strength was standup. I didn’t really like to kick so much, although I could; but liked to use a punching game. I’m now very well rounded everywhere. I can wrestle, I can roll and get submissions. You have to get better training where I train. The older I got, the smarter I got. Fighting has a lot to it that’s mental; I got smarter with the way I train and taking care of my body.”
Camus had eight fights in the UFC and won four and lost four. His four losses only saw him finished once, and he fought some excellent opposition, such as Legacy Fighting Championship veteran and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo (14-5);
“I had a controversial finish before I was in the UFC. I did tap out to Dustin Kimura, but that was because I made a mistake. I was winning every second of the fight and then I got tapped out. It was a rude awakening for me. I fought good guys there, but I’d also fought good guys when I was starting out like Joe Pearson who had a lot of fights when I fought him. It turned me into the person I am today. All the guys I fought in the UFC were good like Henry Cejudo, a gold medalist, and Brad Pickett. I didn’t give them easy fights, earned their respect as well.”
“I don’t know much about him. I don’t pay too much attention. I let my coaches do that. Fighters can change between fights. I just worry about myself and my training. He’s got to be a tough kid; I’m looking forward to making it look easy.”
Camus, or ‘The King’ as he is known, has one main goal, to get back to the UFC;
“After this, I’m hoping for a call from the UFC. I’ll have a five-fight win streak and the LFA belt. That seems like how it usually goes with the LFA belt. When I got dropped from the UFC, they told me to win a couple more fights. I think a win should put me in line to get my job back with the UFC. I think I’m top fifteen at 125 lb or 135 lb in the world. I have to go out there and prove why I should be there.”
Although a fighter, Camus sees there as being more to life than just the sport;
“I’m a father before everything. I have two boys, aged twelve and ten years old. They’re away at Disney World with my sister. I’d be there, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I have twins coming on February 10th. I’m all about my kids; they play travel baseball and I coach their team. They play year round. We don’t take too many days off in the Camus household, we’re always busy!
“I’d like to say thanks for the interview, and thanks to every one of my training partners and coaches, my family and everyone who supports me or hates me. I’d especially like to thank my sponsors, Combat Corner, Blue Agave Wisconsin, Modern Milwaukee Real Estate, Showtime Hair Studios, Point View Boite, and Diamond MMA—who keeps me protected so I can keep making beautiful babies. If you love me, I love you. If you hate me, I love you too!”