Azunna Anyanwu to Defend CFFC Heavyweight Title Against Familiar Rival
Azunna Anyanwu started with a perfect 4-0 professional record in mixed martial arts. After back-to-back losses, the 32-year old fighter out of Philadelphia, Pa., has strung together back-to-back wins in the Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC).
Known as “The 8th Wonder”, Anyanwu (6-2 professional record) is now the CFFC heavyweight champion and his first title defense comes against a familiar rival. George Portoulas from My MMA News had the chance to catch up with Anyanwu to discuss his upcoming bout at CFFC 37 on June 28.
My MMA News: Azunna first off, congratulations on becoming the new CFFC heavyweight champion. You won the belt at CFFC 32 over Joe Stripling back in February. Are you receiving any different treatment from fans or fellow fighters these days?
Azunna Anyanwu: “Yea I am getting a little bit more respect. A little bit different treatment and recognition being the champion and you know, it makes other people in the gym want to be the champion and strive to be better. It definitely feels a little bit more different.”
My MMA News: You are going to be defending your title on June 28th at CFFC 37. Before we talk about your upcoming opponent, are you training any different for this fight now as a defending champion?
Azunna Anyanwu: “I train about two times a day. I always train hard, training harder now because keeping the belt is the hardest part. Getting the belt is the easiest part, keeping it is the hardest part because everyone wants that CFFC belt, everybody is bringing it to the next level. I got a big bulls eye on my back now being champion in a big organization, the number one regional organization in the east coast. My title’s pretty big, you know, everyone wants to be the heavyweight champion, the baddest man alive, you know.”
My MMA News: Going into this fight, who are you currently training with to get ready?
Azunna Anyanwu: “Right now I am training with Renzo Gracie Philadelphia, a little bit with Judo Movement in New Jersey, mostly with Renzo Gracie in Philadelphia with coach Daniel Gracie, he is a great coach and is showing me a lot of technique and helping me work out kinks in my game to get to that next level.”
My MMA News: Moving onto CFFC 37, you are going to defending your title against someone familiar, Keith Bell, the two of you fought last year at XFE 22 with Bell being the victor. What do you need to do different in this rematch to win this time?
Azunna Anyanwu: “Yea man, that was a quick fight. I was coming off of a 19-month layoff which is no excuse, I always say once you are in that cage there are no excuses. I had an injury I was getting over and coming in, as for approach, he just caught me. He did what he had to do. I can’t say I can try anything different. I come to fight, so if you’re fighting then you better fight. I don’t feel like I need to do anything different than I normally do.”
My MMA News: Coming off of that loss to Bell, you had three more fights, the last two back-to-back wins in CFFC. How do you feel you have progressed since your last fight with Bell?
Azunna Anyanwu: “I’ve changed my game so much since that fight. I feel so much better, I dropped about 25 pounds. I am a better athlete and I have taken the fight game more seriously. That fight against Bell woke me up, I felt like I was untouchable. That’s how all fighters who go undefeated feel, and that loss taught me a lot, like don’t ever overlook somebody.”
My MMA News: What advantages do you hold over your opponent going into this fight?
Azunna Anyanwu: “I think I can beat him anywhere. I can beat him in stand up, definitely beat him on the ground. I can beat him anywhere, I am a better athlete and a harder hitter. He may have knocked me out, he caught me in a good spot, I respect him for that, you gotta respect the man who can put the Zu down, props. But I am going to put you back down and I think that I am better than him anywhere.”
My MMA News: You have the confidence which is always a good thing, and like you said everyone gets caught, how do see this rematch going down in your head?
Azunna Anyanwu: “It is going to an epic night man. In my head, I am coming out with that “w”, the only way he will be able to beat me, is if he does again real quick, and, he is not going to do that to me again. I don’t see him winning this match up in the heart of Philadelphia. I just don’t see it.”
My MMA News: Now Azunna, I know you have been fighting your entire career as a heavyweight. You mentioned dropping 25 pounds and getting more lean. Do you see yourself sticking in the heavyweight division or can we see a drop to the light heavyweight or middleweight division?
Azunna Anyanwu: “Right now, I see myself fighting at heavyweight for CFFC. If I do make it to the UFC and they need me to, I could drop to 205. With my bone density I feel more comfortable in the heavyweight division, I am leaner and quicker than most of the heavyweights, more athletic. Light heavyweight is a possibility but right now, I like to eat (laughing).”
My MMA News: Azunna, where can our fans follow you on social media?
Azunna Anyanwu: “Anywhere man. On facebook Zu Anyanwu (EigthWonder) on Twitter @Zu8Dub, Instagram Zu_Anywanwu ”
My MMA News: Any shout outs before we let you go?
Azunna Anyanwu: “Renzo Gracie Philadelphia, Daniel Gracie and all the guys out there, Judo Movement in New Jersey, David Osaghae one of the best judo practioners around. Shout out to my sponsors Lemonade Big Heads, so many of them I can’t remember. Shout out to CFFC for letting me fight for them and letting me showcase my skills. Shout out to my family and God of course.”