In the wake of Desert Force 16, Mounir Lazzez officially stands as the undisputed most fearesome man in Desert Force. Lazzez had made his debut in Desert Force against the much talented Anas Siraj Mounir, handing him his first ever loss. He then moved on to fight Amr Wahman knocking him out in the first round and moving on to finish Mohamad Ghorabi in what was the most anticipated title fight in DF history.
The first Tunisian to raise the Desert Force welterweight shield, Lazzez gained his latest win in the promotion after claiming victory over Mohammad Ghorabi by TKO in the third round, being the first man to stop, yet another gifted fighter, Ghorabi.
The much determined Mounir sat with ArabsMMA for an up close and personal interview about his physical and mental training for his last fight, what’s in store for his coming training and a little glimpse into his married life.
It feels great to be number one in the region… It’s easy to be on top, but staying there is the hard part. Hard work has paid off, I’m very proud of what I did, I hope to keep winning.
When it comes to training for a fight, Lazzez never underestimates his opponents.
“I always take my fights seriously and I train at full potential” he tells us. He has always had “tough fights” that have never been “an easy road”. So he trains and expects to go all three of the rounds, but if he has the opportunity to go for the finish before that, he does. “It’s always part of the game. I take it as a game not as a fight. If I win my name grows, if I lose … I won’t lose. I never think of losing but if it happened I am sure I will learn something from it”.
On Training and Moving Forward:
How does he train to the best of his abilities and not lose? Mounir hand picks his coaches. He doesn’t leave it to chance, or convenience. He has separate Coaches from different teams, and places, to help bring out his maximum potential.
For striking he focuses with K1 Champion Gokan Saki, Chalid Arab and Enomoto. At Team Nogueira Dubai he trains with Coach Ryan Hall and Rafael Haubert, and for his strength and conditioning her trains with Zaid Gerber. For floor work he trains a lot of his ground game in Team Nogueira, especially with Ryan Bow. “I respect this person a lot and try to learn as much as possible from this him”. Team Nogueria sees many of the top guys in the world pass through.
“I roll everyday with the best in the world, with my Gi morning and evening. I want to be a complete fighter, and I want to be able to adapt against any fighter”.
He has been strategic in choosing a very well rounded training environment. “I train at the best facility in the Middle East with the best wrestlers and grapplers at Team Nogueira and the best strikers at HM fitness. I think this is a smart move without anything political between the gyms”
Acknowledging that there are a great many high skilled fighters in his division, what may set him aside from others is how deeply he believes in his training and in himself and views each fight as “a good test for me and I hope to keep putting on a good show every time”. What he would like to see by Desert Force however is an even better show, and even stronger test of his abilities; “Desert Force has a smart match maker and I think it’s a good time to have an X UFC fighter or a top welterweight from outside the UFC. That would be a good test. Desert Force is the right platform to prepare me to face the best in the world”.
On being compared to Jon Jones by Desert Force commentator:
One of the Desert Force commentators referenced Jon Jones when speaking of Mounir. Though it is an absolute honor for him to be compared to the youngest UFC champions, like any new talents making their way as an individual coming up in a world where many have helped set the bar high, Lazzez says “I like to develop my own unique style, I don’t like to be compared to people, developing myself and my skills one fight at a time”.
About Anas Siraj Mounir:
When asked about Anas Siraj Mounir, not one to care much for rematches Lazzez says he is more interested in testing his skills against anyone and everyone. He went on to say that the two of them are planning on training together. While in Dubai, he believes that they both need and would benefit from each other’s skills in training. As a side note he revealed that “Anas mentioned that he is dropping to 70Kg, and I believe he will be the next lightweight champion in Desert Force”.
What makes the “Sniper” so relaxed:
Fighters don’t only train for the physical skills, or physical conditioning, but also for mental readiness. One of the factors that can influence a fighter inside the cage is stress and how well they cope when it is time for action.
“Stress inside the cage is part of the game, I always try to train my mind for this moment. I keep pushing myself in my training camp, before the camp, to give my best in a bad situation. That is stress”.
Once he has withstood the brutal extreme physical and mental demands he puts on himself in training prep for a fight where he knows he has done everything possible to perfect all of his training sessions, he can relax and enjoy his time inside the cage. “Only 15 minutes to become the winner, no place to stress” he says.
He is well aware that it all depends on how one trains, and “who is in your corner, who is in your life” that creates and maintains a fighter during his time in the cage. It is not the direction giving from the corner during a fight. “I don’t like to listen to anybody [when inside the cage] as it puts me under pressure. I take the fight as a game not as a fight, and I’ll keep this mindset always”. The only one he cares to prove anything to, is himself; “I just want to show myself that I am always moving forward and becoming better fight after fight”.
Who is in your life indeed does make a big difference for anyone in any profession, and having the support and affection of one’s partner has a positive impact that elevates most. One of the biggest steps Lazzez has taken in his life is getting married which “gave [him] good energy and stability”. He has found the right balance between training and his private life which boosts him to evolve even more as a fighter. “My wife is an athlete and she understands and helps me mentally. When she sees me tired, or lazy, she makes sure that I sleep well, eat well, and live healthy” he says with a smile.
“She’s always looking over me to make sure I reach the best performance in training and in my fight. It’s a very nice feeling”.
Expressing gratitude for all his support:
“I want to thank God for making everything possible. All is in his hands. I also want to thank my family and wife for being my rock and standing by me.”
I would also like to thank Team Nogueira for the sponsorship and training, and for paving the way for my preparation for my title fight with all my coaches, Zaid Gerber, Ryan Bow, David Ramos and also thanks to sheikhs Tareq Alqaismi and my manager Raphael Haubert and everyone at Team Nogueira Dubai. HM thank you for always welcoming me in your facility and letting me train with Jason and Yasube Enomoto and Gokan and chalid. Thanks to Sensation, Rami and Elias, Titan brand Fadi and Omar, Venum’s Faisal Amerri. That’s to all my sparring partners and my students who support me and believe in me, giving me the strength.
Thanks to Desert Force for making this event, and thanks for Ghorabi for making this a great show.
People who always believed in me and who supported me all the way since day one. Jamie McGowan in Canada and Tam Khan in UAE. And thanks to Zahi and Pia from ArabsMMA for promoting the sport in the region!