All UFC fighters are dedicated. You don’t get to this level of the sport without devoting your life to your craft. Yet some take it to a different – one might call it a disturbing – level.
Take Christos Giagos, for example. The 32-year-old, who faces Thiago Moises in Las Vegas this Saturday, decided last month that eating liver was going to help his diet. If you’ve never had liver before, that’s probably a good thing. If you have, you’re probably smelling it right now as you read this.
“Every day you gotta figure out a way to try to better yourself,” laughed Giagos, who was a game competitor against the liver before tapping out.
“I really want to try and get into eating these superfoods, but my tastebuds aren't allowing it too much,” he said, determined to have a rematch.
“It has a very pungent smell and taste, but little by little, I'm gonna try it with some onions and beef and try to mix it all together and try to disguise the taste a little bit, but I definitely want to start eating it a little more.”
Christos Giagos is a dedicated fighter. And all culinary experiments aside, “The Spartan” has made the sacrifices he felt necessary to take his game to the next level. That meant moving cross country from California to Florida to train with the Sanford MMA crew before his last fight against Saturday’s headliner Arman Tsarukyan. And while that September bout didn’t go Giagos’ way, he had started the path to where he is today.
“I took a fight as soon as I got out here and no excuses, I went out there and fought and I did get clipped, but knowing what my mental place is now compared to then, it's a whole world of a difference,” he said. “In the beginning, I was trying to get to know everybody. When you spar with them, you don't want to be a d**k, so it's just finding that feel, but I couldn't because I had a fight coming up. So it was rough mentally, but I feel like now, going with all these guys just boosted my confidence so much.”
Well, it should if you can hang with some of the best on the roster. If you can’t, you’re usually on the first flight home. But Giagos stayed, which tells you that he belongs.
“I remember back in Cali, whenever I got to spar the UFC guys, I knew it was always going to be a tough round, but there are other guys that you can go with afterwards and get your wind back,” he said. “At Sanford, you don't get that luxury. Everybody you go with is UFC caliber, so being able to hang for ten rounds, five rounds, it just did a whole lot for my confidence, so I'm feeling really, really good and confident going into this fight.”
He's also more settled outside the Octagon. Giagos and his wife bought a house, they’ve made friends and even found some Greek restaurants locally (no word on whether they serve liver, but we can hope not).
“Me and wife are meeting people and trying out new food spots,” he said. “The beaches are nice but, to be honest, it's the same to me. The only thing that sucks is that I don't have a bunch of my close friends and family from back home, but that's okay. I'm learning to deal with it and I love the life I get to live. I was able to buy a house out here for the same price I was looking to get a condo for in California. Everything's going well. I'm loving it. Me and my wife are a lot closer, so I'm really enjoying it.”
It's good to hear that Giagos is in a good place heading into his 11th UFC fight, and though some of his peers need to be uncomfortable to get ready for a fight, Giagos takes the opposite opinion.
“It's very important,” he said. “It's being comfortable. When I first got here and jumped right into camp, it wasn't like anything I had ever experienced before because I didn't really have my life together yet. I was still trying to figure it all out. And I definitely feel like we're way further now. It's been almost a year and I finally feel like things are coming all together. It's still early and I'm still figuring life out over here, but I'm way more comfortable, I got a lot more friends and it feels a lot more like home now than it did before, and I think that's very important because it helps keep my mind at ease when I go train.”
Now he’s got a second family in the gym, too.
“That's why I really wanted to go with them,” Giagos said. “It's got a family vibe that I love. Everyone is cool with each other, I'm gaining a lot of friends now and everyone's super nice. It's definitely a family vibe.”
Florida sounds so great it could almost make someone want to stay home. But Giagos is on a business trip this week, and it’s an interesting one as it culminates with a solid matchup against Moises.
“He's 4-4 in the UFC, I'm 5-5, and we both fought some big names and both had a lot of success in the Octagon,” Giagos said. “We're both coming off losses, so I think this is a great matchup, and I think it's a great matchup for me because I beat this guy and I'm right back in the mix for a Top 15 opponent, so I love this fight. I knew our paths were gonna cross eventually, so I'm happy it's finally happening.”
And if Giagos needs any more encouragement when it comes to his UFC future, he can look no further than a man he faced back in September 2018 – Charles Oliveira. It was a fight Giagos lost via second-round submission, but it was a competitive fight, and the second win in the streak that took the Brazilian to the top of the lightweight division. This, after Oliveira entered the fight with a less than sparkling 11-8, 1 NC UFC record.
“All the judges had me winning the first round, so it definitely has built my confidence knowing that I can be in there with the best,” said Giagos. “A couple tweaks and I can definitely hang with anybody. It doesn't matter what rank they are, I've already fought multiple ranked opponents and I definitely proved I can be in there with them, so it helps the confidence. I always love watching him do good, and seeing how his confidence helped him so much makes me a way bigger believer in myself.
“It's motivating and inspiring and makes it believable for anybody who wants this as much as we do,” he continues. “It comes down to discipline, confidence and just being mentally tough. When you're in there, you can't be afraid. As soon as you show fear, the whole fight can turn upside down. Things are gonna happen in the fight game, they're not always gonna go your way, but as long as you keep pushing forward with a strong heart, a lot of good things will happen.”
UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot Took Place Live From The UFC APEX In Las Vegas, Nevada on June 25, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!