Road to Venator Kingdom 2: interview with Leonardo Damiani
Do not be fooled by his nickname, “Puppy”. Leonardo Damiani (4-1 MMA) is anything but sweet and submissive inside the cage, he will want to reiterate that on December 16th at Venator Kingdom 2, when he will face Raffaele D’Eligio in a match in the welterweight division.
MMA Today had the pleasure of gathering the thoughts of the athlete of the Mixed Martial Pro Team’s athlete, approaching the important event at the Teatro Principe in Milan.
MMA Today: Coming into this fight, you will go down for the first time in the welterweight division: what led you to make this choice? How are you managing the weight cut?
Leonardo Damiani: The decision to go down into a lower division was taken with my team, the Mixed Martial Pro Team, under the guidance of Gianluigi Tedoldi (head coach), Stefano Meneghel (grappling and BJJ) and Alberto Mesar (wrestling). We decided that welterweight would be the most appropriate weight class, considering my morphological characteristics. Of course the weight cut is not easy but I’m managing workouts and diet with a lot of effort and sacrifice.
MT: Should you win, do you plan to stay in this weight class?
LD: Surely it will be the division in which I can give the best of me, so for now I would say yes!
MT: In your career you have already had experiences abroad, fighting (and winning) in the German promotion Aggrelin. Do you plan to cross national borders in the near future?
LD: Of course, if opportunities arise, I will evaluate them carefully.
MT: One of your compatriots, Daniel Wolak, has fought and will fight for the aforementioned promotion. Did you get to know him? Would you like to face him?
LD: Yes, I met Daniel Wolak in Munich during an Aggrelin event. I saw his match live, I would like to face him.
MT: In a previous interview you expressed the desire to find yourself in the cage with Alessio Sakara. Do you consider him an idol, a model to follow? Do you think that a match between you is really a feasible dream?
LD: Alessio Sakara is certainly one of the greatest Italian mixed martial arts athletes and one of the first to reach the top of MMA, making this sport famous in Italy. As well as Mara Romero Borella, the first Italian woman who has crossed the doors of the UFC, with whom I had the pleasure of training with for several months at the Fit or Fight in Lonato. I consider both examples to follow, but I think I am currently not ready to face Sakara in a match. Rather, I would like to train with him, he would certainly have something to teach me.
MT: In your Instagram biography you define yourself as a “crossfitter”. What are the advantages of doing crossfit for the preparation of a Mixed Martial Arts fighter?
LD: I’m getting ready in Davide Arici’s box with the guys at Crossfit Brescia. The preparation through this system allows me to have much more strength combined with power. By means of a specific program, the exercises in which I could risk tearing my muscles have been put aside, opting for workouts that stimulate and strengthen muscle groups more involved in MMA.
MT: Your nickname is one of the most curious in the whole Italian scene, “Puppy”. Can you explain to us what it was born from?
LD: It derives from the fact that every time I was corrected in the gym for various mistakes I assumed, according to my coach, a puppy expression that was scolded. So, they started calling me “cucciolotto” which was then translated by Sherdog into “puppy”.