Danzig set to defend crown

California born Mac Danzig, known as the 'King of the Cage', prepares for his upcoming fight...

California born Mac Danzig, known as the 'King of the Cage', prepares for his upcoming fight against John Mahlow at the Stampede Corral Friday September 22, 2006. (Supplied photo)

JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 PM ET

All Mac Danzig wants to do is stand and trade.

But the King of the Cage world lightweight champ admits he'll likely end up on the ground when he defends his title in Calgary next week.

"If I had my way, with the large majority of people I fight, I'd keep it standing," says the amicable 26-year-old from California who takes on John Mahlow at the Stampede Corral Friday.

"I don't look to take it to the ground that often, my fights usually end up going there because of my opponents."

He expects Mahlow to be no different.

"It's going to be a rough fight," says Danzig.

"It's probably going to be one those deals where the fight goes a little bit later before I'm able to stop him.

"Obviously, I'm looking to get done as quick as I can but I wouldn't be surprised if the guy came out real strong and I had to weather the storm in order to win."

Mahlow, who has an eight-and-four record, is undefeated in his last four scraps since returning to the fight game after taking a two-year sabbatical. Most recently, he's been training with the Miletich team that includes Ultimate Fighting Championship belt holders Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin and Tim Sylvia.

But for Danzig, even though he'll be fighting a fellow American, he feels he has the home-team advantage.

He says he's been to Canada so often in the past year, his frequent flyer points almost qualify him for honourary citizenship.

"Yeah, I spend a lot of time in Canada," he says.

Danzig has fought in Calgary and Edmonton already this year and is currently training in London, Ont. with the world-renowned Tompkins team that includes UFC fighters Sam Stout and Mark Hominick.

Danzig's nearly year-long reign as King of the Cage lightweight champ is drawing interest from bigger fight clubs around the world as more and more, fans and promoters turn their attention to a revived lightweight class.

He's been offered a spot in the upcoming fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter TV show -- which will feature all lightweights, a gig with the International Fight League and a spot with Japan's K-1 organization.

His exclusive contract with King of the Cage forced him to turn down the offers.

But Danzig says the future looks bright. He's in demand, has a championship belt around his waist and a chance to see all "the pretty girls in Canada."

jose.rodriguez@calgarysun.com

FIGHT NOTES:

* The biggest thing in the fight world tonight is UFC 63. Matt Hughes will defend his title against the only man who's beaten him in the last 19 fights, B.J. Penn. My fearless prediction, for what it's worth, is that neither will knock the other out or submit him. Hughes by unanimous decision.

* In the other feature fight, Canada's David Loiseau takes on Mike Swick. Both of these guys like to bang so I'd be surprised if this fight goes into the late rounds. If Loiseau's head is in the right place after the embarrassing loss to Rich Franklin in March, he should win.

* The rest of the card also looks promising with Jens Pulver -- the only man to ever hold the UFC lightweight title before the weight class was abolished -- back in the Octagon to take on Joe Lauzon.


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