‘I Want To Fight’ – Submission Grappling King Mikey Musumeci Plans Transition To MMA
ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci lives his life in constant pursuit of perfection, and he’s not stopping with just Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Fresh off his spectacular World Title defense against Osamah Almarwai at ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on Prime Video, the American sensation has been dabbling more and more in the stand-up department. And now, it’s given him the urge to test his skills in MMA.
Now home in Las Vegas after a lengthy camp in Singapore, Musumeci has been recently training alongside some high-level MMA fighters who have been happy to help the BJJ black belt fine-tune his emergent striking.
This isn’t the first time “Darth Rigatoni” has practiced his stand-up game. In fact, he previously picked up some tips from ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon – a global megastar who also defended his gold at ONE Fight Night 10.
With such expert coaching, Musumeci thinks he could make a smooth transition into MMA.
“I definitely have a cool group of guys that could mentor and influence me into MMA eventually.”
After teasing a possible transition to the all-encompassing sport over the past year, Musumeci – the five-time BJJ World Champion who is considered one of the planet’s top pound-for-pound submission grapplers – is now more vocal about his desire to compete in MMA.
According to him, lacing up the 4-ounce gloves is just another way to test his vaunted jiu-jitsu.
“Darth Rigatoni” said:
“I want to fight in the future. I would love to. I love challenging myself, and … I love the challenge of it, and I would love to make my jiu-jitsu work with punches being thrown. I think that would be the coolest thing ever.”
With his unmatched grappling skills, physical gifts, and elite coaching behind him, Musumeci is confident he could make waves in ONE Championship’s strawweight MMA division.
Though he currently reigns over the promotion’s flyweight division in submission grappling, he believes moving down a weight class for mixed martial arts competition would make him an even more dangerous threat.
“If I did MMA, I would be in the 125-pound division. I think I’m really physically strong for that weight class, so I think that – if I learn stand-up from these best guys – I would have a really good shot.”
Mikey Musumeci Confident He Can Become An MMA World Champ
Currently, Mikey Musumeci remains entirely focused on his submission grappling endeavors and defending his 26 pounds of gold. But once “Darth Rigatoni” dives into MMA, he believes that his perfectionist mindset will kick in and help him excel at the all-encompassing sport rather quickly.
According to Musumeci, he plans to approach MMA with the same drive and determination that made him the most accomplished American-born BJJ practitioner in history.
“When I think about doing MMA, I think of it just like I think of jiu-jitsu: mastering whatever I’m working on. In jiu-jitsu, I don’t think about being a champion. I think about just being the best at whatever I’m working on, perfecting my moves. And that’s what makes me become a champion. It’s an indirect result. Being a champion, for me, is an indirect result because my goal is to have perfect jiu-jitsu.”
With the grappling element taken care of, Musumeci’s primary focus will be concentrated on his developing stand-up game.
Ultimately, “Darth Rigatoni” thinks his infamously long training sessions and constant obsession with learning will allow him to become a skillful striker who’s ready to compete – and win – against the world’s best mixed martial artists.
The BJJ black belt said:
“I feel like in stand-up, it will be the same thing. I’ll want to learn stand-up [so I could] be the best I can be in stand-up, and that [indirect] result will be me winning World Titles. I think my work ethic, how I train, and everything, is perfect to become an MMA World Champion.”