Rising UFC middleweight Krzysztof Jotko wants to be champion, and in order to do that, he knows he needs to train full time at an elite gym.
A recent, major change in Krzysztof Jotko’s fighting career has helped him become one of the more promising rising middleweights in the UFC.
Mid last year, Jotko walked into renowned mixed martial arts gym American Top Team’s doors for the first time and loved it from the very beginning. He knew he had to change things up and train with the best in order to accomplish his fighting goals and dreams. The Poland native said he has been able round out his skill-set and evolve as a mixed martial artist at the Coconut Creek, Fla.-based gym. So far, American Top Team has been working out for him.
“In Thailand, I have my boxing coach, so I can practice every day boxing. And of course I have a lot of Thai coaches, so I can practice my Muay Thai,” Jotko told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “But now I can focus on everything.”
Jotko credits American Top Team for much of his recent success, which includes a dominant victory over ranked 185-pound fighter Thales Leites. He’s trained at many large gyms in the past, but American Top Team stands out among the rest.
“Honestly, before I’ve been in many gyms. I’ve been in TriStar, in England, California, but here, I think I found my home,” Jotko said. “I have the best coaches in the world, I have the best sparring partners. And the best for me is a good atmosphere for training; there are many Brazilian people, everybody’s family, so I feel really good here. I can focus on only my fight, so I’m happy I came here.”
Jotko doesn’t think he’d be where he is now — No. 9 in the official UFC rankings and in line for a big fight should he get past David Branch at UFC 211 next month — had he never began training at American Top Team in the first place.
“Before my fight with Tamdan McCrory, I came here for my training camp, and exactly this place I believed in myself, I believed I can be champ some day,” he said. “I think if I’m not coming here, I [wouldn’t be] No. 10 like now.”
The 27-year-old, who has an impressive professional record of 19-1, plans on moving to Florida after his upcoming bout in Dallas to train at American Top Team full time.
“Definitely after this fight, I’m moving to Florida,” he said. “I will be training in Florida and training before my training camp, and of course, also my training camp will be here.”
It will be tough to leave his family in Poland, Jotko said, but it is ultimately something he will have to do to continue his success.
“Of course it’s a difficult decision, but if I want to be champ, I need to train with the best level,” he said. “My decision is to live here, and then when I have a belt, I will come back to Poland.”
UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2 takes place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday, May 13. Jotko vs. Branch will air on the FX-televised preliminary card.