Calvin ‘The Boston Finisher’ Kattar
Fighting Out Of: Methuen Massachusetts, USA
Key Wins: Shane Burgos, Andre Fili
Last Fight: January 20th 2018 at UFC 220 – Against Shane Burgos
Next Fight: April 7th 2018 at UFC 223 – Against Renato Carneiro
Calvin Kattar is the 13th ranked UFC Featherweight and is one of the sports most underrated up and coming fighters. Calvin is currently riding a ten fight win streak that includes two outstanding wins in the UFC and will be fighting Renato Carneiro on the main card of UFC 223 this weekend, in what will be the biggest fight of his career. The matchup against Carneiro is one of the best fights to be made in the UFC period and will be a phenomenal opportunity for Kattar to showcase his skills on the highest level.
Calvin Kattar is one of the most genuine people I have ever had the please of speaking with and is a true representation of the best this sport has to offer.
I urge you to read this interview and to watch Calvin’s fight this weekend.
What was it like getting that last win, on the main card of UFC 220, in front of your home crowd in Boston?
“It was the culmination of my whole career at this point. But I don’t plan on being complacent and I’m hoping to reach new heights from here. But it was definitely something special and I’m not sure if the next couple of fights, with wins, would feel as special as Boston, in front of the hometown crowd.”
That would have been a special night for you and the team, with Rob Font getting a big win to kick off the main card and you following it up the way you did.
“Yeah for sure. I don’t know if many people know, but I had that three-year layoff in my career and when I decided to break that layoff was when Rob Font was fighting at TD Garden, that year previous to me breaking the layoff. That is what kinda gave me the jumpstart to get back, to want to get my shot and get my due. And then to be fighting on the same card at TD Garden with Rob Font now. I mean… It was awesome.”
I knew you had that layoff but I didn’t realise you had that connection to Font that made you want to come back. That must have made that moment at UFC 220 feel like everything was coming full circle for you.
“Yeah well, we were both the number one and number two at 145 (Featherweight) before I took the layoff. So we weren’t even training together at that time. But I was familiar with him and we probably would have fought if I hadn’t taken the layoff. It’s funny the way it works out now. We’re training partners, he’s my number one training partner, and we push each other in the gym every day.”
You guys must be the perfect sparring partners for each other, I’m sure you’re both being pushed and tested every day.
“Oh for sure. His work ethic is second to none. You’ve got to be surrounded by guys who are all in you know. I really believe after that layoff it was meant to happen. Because things came full circle and I really have a great team around me now, and as you know no-one gets there on their own. I really feel confident in the people I have around me and my ability to make a statement moving forward.”
In under a year you have had a pretty incredible run, going from debuting in the UFC to now being ranked and fighting on the main card of the two biggest Pay-Per-Views of year. How has this whole experience been for you and is this how you envisioned your UFC career going?
“It’s definitely been an unreal experience. I wouldn’t have been able to say this is how I saw it going. I’m just riding the momentum and each time, every time doubling down, rolling one fight into the next, keeping my head down putting in the work and the results will come as long as I do that. It’s amazing man, in one year to be where we’re at now. I don’t even think some of the guys in the top fifteen even know who the hell I am, but I’m excited to go turn some heads and let them all know. But it’s great to come off those two wins and become ranked. The last fight was a prospect verse prospect fight now it’s a ranked fighter verse a ranked fighter, twelve against eleven. I want to go out and beat me a ranked guy and then start chewing up that top ten division.”
That next fight with Moicano is incredible. To me, you guys are the two dark-horses in the Featherweight division at the moment. What is going to give you the edge in this fight and how do you think you are going to get it done?
“Moicano’s only loss is to Brian Ortega, who is now fighting the champ, in his last fight. So coming off the first loss of his career I’m sure he is going to be coming back strong, hungry and me coming off the biggest win of my career you know I’m coming in strong and hungry. So I think it’s going to be a great fight. He has been known to be able to put together a game plan as we saw against Ortega and Stephens, I’m sure he’ll have one for me but I’m just gonna stick to what I do and I’m going to go out and implement my game plan, my style of fight and at the end of the day only one of us is going to get their hand raised and I plan on it being me.”
What was the fight or moment in particular that let you know you could be a high-level fighter?
“I’d say it wasn’t more so which fight but what really helped bridge the gap for me was starting to train with UFC fighters, to really get an understanding of where I was in my career. And even then, you have your doubts until you go out there and you turn some heads and you not only prove to everybody else, cause you don’t really give a shit about anybody else you’re not doing it for them anyway, but you prove to yourself that you belong and when that starts to happen you feel like you can take on anyone. And right now I feel like that’s where I’m at.”
Who is someone that you have trained with that has consistently blown you away or just impressed you every time you’ve seen them?
“I’d say on a consistent level Rob Font continues to impress me. Back before the UFC, when we were fighting locally and we were Number one and two in the area. We were most likely scheduled to fight. Because of my three year layoff that never came to fruition. Thankfully. Because now he’s my number one training partner and his work ethic continues to impress me day in and day out and I’m just happy to be alongside him as a teammate and achieving our goals together.”
Font is doing very well at Bantamweight at the moment. I can’t imagine him ever fighting at Featherweight.
“Yeah I know right. He was a Featherweight back in the day but he put down the cupcakes, got down to 135 and now he’s turning heads. He’s coming off a big win against Thomas Almeida, he is only the second guy to put him out, other than Cody Garbrandt who was the champ. So I think you can expect big things from Rob Font but that’s no secret.”
Who is someone that inspires you?
“I’d say, my mother. Everything she has been through, raising three kids on her own. I feel like everything I do is with her in mind and trying to better our future. Like what Tyron Woodley did buying his mother a house. That will always be a goal of mine, to achieve that sort of success so I can do that kind of stuff for her and also the rest of my family.”
I have seen a lot of guys do the same thing, It’s a beautiful goal to have.
“It’s something special man. If that’s not one of your goals you need to have another look at your priorities and what goals you have in front of you. For me, that’s always been a big one as she continues to inspire me every day. So her and just really being more of that person to my friends, family and those around me. To be someone that they can turn to when they need something or being able to help those around me. And to really inspire people from where I’m from. Other wrestlers, I kinda see myself in a lot of them, starting out not knowing what to do and it’s important to be that lighthouse for them and inspire them. It’s a cold world out there man and I’ve seen some dark days myself. It’s important to try and spread that light.”
That’s incredible man. It’s sad to see guys who make it to the top and forget what got them there and don’t lend a hand to the people coming up after them.
“Oh for sure. I have a speech with some high school wrestlers in about a week or so, one of the local coaches asked me to do it and I jumped at the opportunity. Because I just remember at that point, around senior year, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I took six months off of high school into college. I was kinda at a standstill and it hit me by surprise that I didn’t hit the ground running after high school. I kinda just worked my way into this and I can see how fast you can go down that mousetrap. I definitely like having the opportunity to speak with the kids and see if I can help kinda change the mould a little bit.”