NextMMAFighter got a chance to talk with Chris Manuel as he makes his final preparations for his fight this Friday with Farhad Sharapov at WFC 8 “Battle in the Bay.” Chris is an explosive fighter with a great record — definitely someone to watch.
NextMMAFighter: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Chris. First tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose American Top Team?
Chris Manuel: My name is Chris Manuel; I’m 21 years old and hail from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. As far as choosing American Top Team, it was kind of an accident. Lol. When I started training BJJ, I was already training with one of the founders of ATT, so I guess you can say I was born into it. I have no complaints, and it is the best team in the world of course, so where else would I go.
NextMMAFighter: We strive to find the best up-and-coming fighters in MMA. What do you think sets you apart from the rest of the pack?
CM: There is a lot of tough competition in the sport already, and there are more dangerous guys now than there used to be for my weight division. I would have to say that the team I’m in would be the best advantage that I have. There are many high-level training partners that I have access to, and we also have a great deal of coaches that help me improve everyday.
NextMMAFighter: Lately we have seen a lot of guys who think they can fight, getting into MMA because they think they are tough. What do you think is important for guys to know before they train to fight?
CM: Well, the first thing that they should know is that anyone can hit a punching bag, but to fight you have to at least know how to throw a punch correctly. If they are tough, that’s a good start, and they should have no problem getting off the couch to go train and learn something new. If someone who wants to fight can’t do that, then they’re in for a rude awakening because there are no shortcuts to training, or fighting for that matter.
NextMMAFighter: What goals have you set for yourself as a professional fighter?
CM: Right now I’m still young, and although I have accomplished a lot, I still need to experience much more. My goal is to have as many fights as humanly possible — not only in MMA, but I would like to try other fighting careers as well. I want to be a veteran in the fighting sport in general, and of course I eventually would like to be the champion in my division. But first things first, and that’s Farhad Sharapov on Friday night in Tampa Bay.
NextMMAFighter: Many of us would love to visit Japan. Tell us what it was like to get a chance to fight there.
CM: Fighting in Japan for Sengoku was an awesome experience, and I hope that all my peers could get a chance to go and fight there. Japan is also very much the place to be for my weight division, in my opinion. I can’t wait to get a chance to go back there and fight in front of the Japanese fans.
NextMMAFighter: What is the one thing on your mind when you step into the arena as you walk in to a big fight?
CM: In my mind I try to concentrate on the task at hand, and worry about the crowd later. I concentrate on what I have to do and work hard to get the win.
NextMMAFighter : Do you have any idols in Mixed Martial Arts, and if so, who are they?
CM: That’s hard to say. I have always been involved with the sport in one way or another, but I never really saw myself to idolize anyone. I have to many people to chose from, so I don’t know who I would pick.
NextMMAFighter: We appreciate your taking the time to talk to us, and wish you the best of luck on Friday. In closing, is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you get ready for this fight?
CM: No problem and thank you for having me. I would first like to thank American Top Team in general for training me, along with all of my training partners that gave me the tips and knowledge that I needed to prepare for this fight.
Chris will be fighting in WFC : Battle at the Bay this Friday night in Tampa Bay, FL. Tickets are still available for purchase from ticketmaster starting at $25 dollars. We wish Chris luck in his fight and encourage you to check out this show if you are able to make it.