Chaka Worthy

Chaka Worthy - Photo by William McKee for MyMMANews

Chaka Worthy understands the importance of fighting smart, goals in mind

Diaz, Miller, Nogueira, Pettis.  While there have been more than a handful of brothers that have competed in the octagon, those names are some of the more commonly known.  Chaka Worthy (2-1) is on a mission to add his family name into the discussion.

“Omega” (2-1) is the 29-year old younger brother of the UFC’s newly signed prospect, 32-year old Khama “The Deathstar” Worthy (15-6).

The elder Worthy was recently called up to the UFC on short notice and took out the extremely dangerous Devonte Smith in quick fashion at UFC 241.

Chaka looks to add to another win to his résumé and hopefully one day see his name appear on the UFC roster alongside his brother.  The first step in the process is taking out Sodik Ismoilov at Maverick 14 on September 14.  The fight will mark Worthy’s second trip to the Maverick heptagon, coming off a unanimous decision win over Chris Disonell at Maverick 13 in June.

Chaka Worthy vs. Chris Disonell - Maverick 13
Chaka Worthy vs. Chris Disonell – Maverick 13 – Photo by William McKee for MyMMANews

When you take a look at who Worthy is outside the cage, you will come to an understanding that fighting is just another way for him to pay the bills. He is a social worker by trade, working to better the lives of underprivileged youth in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“In Allegheny County they have a system where they take anyone who has juvenile experience, whether it be foster care, or any sort of court experience, and they take hire them and pair them up with youth that are going through similar situations,” Worthy said. “When I moved back to Pittsburgh, after getting out of college, it was presented to me to take the job. I took it, and I’ve been here for four years. I supervise the staff, about 15-20 kids. My role is supportive and I absolutely enjoy what I do.”

The support Worthy provides extends beyond his duties at work.  As a brother to Khama, Chaka is the backbone in his support system.  He spoke to MyMMANews about Khama’s recent trip to the octagon and how it all played out.

“It was real cool. Not only because he is my brother, but he is one of my main training partners. We’ve been working together for years. It’s just something that he always wanted. Through all of his ups and downs, he always just stuck with it, trying to get there. I actually didn’t get to make it out there because it was so short notice. But I did get to sit home and watch it with my son. It was cool because my son, who is 4, was like ‘that’s Uncle Khama, that’s Uncle Khama.’ We were just really hyped for him. It was expected. We put in a lot of work. I know he was a big underdog on the card, but we expected him to go out there and win, and get back into the gym training.”

When it comes to training, the Worthy brothers are putting in the work.  Along with friend and teammate Mark Cherico, the three men have become some of the most well known and beloved mixed martial artists in the Pittsburgh area.  When Chaka came east to Stroudsburg for Maverick, the fans were not ready for what they were about to witness.  I sat cageside for the fight and aside from seeing the pure athleticism and talent that Chaka possesses, the one thing that stood out from the fight was how loud his cornermen were.

“Coach Chris, our boxing coach is real loud and into it,” Worthy said as he laughed. “He just keeps up focused.  There’s different stuff that I should be doing or maybe I don’t see it and can’t take the opportunity, but I know I’m always going to be able to hear him.  I don’t really hear the crowd or anything but I can always hear Coach Chris, and Khama, I can hear him too.  Then my other coach Pat, he’s my main training partner, he’s more of the quiet voice in the corner.  Between rounds he gives me advice. They are definitely loud, but it’s great though.  They let me know when stuff is working or if they see something in my opponent that I’m not seeing.”

Having the great corner work has led Worthy to lengthen his cage presence. In his last six outings, all six fights have gone the distance, something that Worthy feels has worked to his advantage.

“During my early amateur fights I got a lot of finishes but I don’t think I was necessarily fighting smart, following my game plan,” he said. “I was putting myself into bad situations. I actually like that I’m getting a lot more cage experience early on in my pro career and my last few amateur fights also. When you look at the guys I’m fighting, and of course we are all new so nobody is really super good, but I’m taking on guys that are eventually matched or have way more experience than me. In my last fight, I think that was his sixth fight, and that was my third. I’m not taking fights with guys that I should just run through. I’m looking for good competition. It forces me to make adjustments in the middle of the fight, adjustments that I don’t think I would necessarily be able to make in practice. I look at it as a good thing. I’m getting more cage experience because unfortunately I don’t get to fight that often. I had my first amateur fight four years ago and I’ve only had 10 fights. I’ll go 7 or 8 months without fighting. If I go in there and get a quick knockout, I’m only in the cage for maybe a minute and a half. I would prefer to get cage experience so when I get bigger opportunities I won’t be gassed out in the third round. I’ll know how to make adjustments. I know fans want to see a lot of knockouts and submissions but sometimes you look for a finish and they are not there so you have to fight smart. I think that I’ve fought smarter in my last five or six fights than I did earlier on when I was just out there trading with guys. I think in my last fight I could have gotten a finish but I could have possibly taken a lot more damage also. I think the fights are still very exciting (laughs).”

Chris Disonell vs. Chaka Worthy - Maverick 13 - Photo by William McKee for MyMMANews
Chris Disonell vs. Chaka Worthy – Maverick 13 – Photo by William McKee for MyMMANews

Worthy goes into the next week’s contest with very little information to go on. It seems however, that the lack of data should not come as a hindrance, but more of a motivation tool.

“I honestly don’t know much about him,” Worthy said of Ismoilov. “I see his record and it looks like he took some fights overseas with guys who were 7-0 or 8-0 and he lost them so it was like, ‘Why is he even taking those fights?’ It looks like he comes from a solid gym, trains hard. I’m just looking to go out there, stick to the game plan. I am gonna try to push the pace a little more earlier on. I enjoy fighting too much and sometimes I don’t necessarily start as fast as I want. I’m going to see where the fight takes me. I’m expecting him to be strong and solid, very fundamental. Just trying to get the W any way I can. I would love to get the finish but I’m looking to fight smart and stay healthy.”

When looking to what comes next after the upcoming fight, Worthy believes he will continue to find new opportunities.

“I honestly don’t know much about him,” Worthy said of Ismoilov. “I see his record and it looks like he took some fights overseas with guys who were 7-0 or 8-0 and he lost them so it was like, ‘Why is he even taking those fights?’ It looks like he comes from a solid gym, trains hard.  I’m just looking to go out there, stick to the game plan.  I am gonna try to push the pace a little more earlier on.  I enjoy fighting too much and sometimes I don’t necessarily start as fast as I want.  I’m going to see where the fight takes me.  I’m expecting him to be strong and solid, very fundamental.  Just trying to get the W any way I can.  I would love to get the finish but I’m looking to fight smart and stay healthy.”

“This is definitely my main focus, my main goal, MMA,” Worthy said. “I gotta pay the bills though.  I love my job.  But I’m definitely looking to get the call from any of the bigger promotions.  But, I’ve got to grow a lot as a fighter yet.  One fight at a time.  I definitely think I can fight at any level when the time comes.  My last opponent just fought for Bellator and he got a big knockout against one of the guys they were hyping up.  So I know I can compete with anybody in my weight class.  I train with Khama and we see what he can do.  I definitely feel I have a future in this sport but it’s like anything, you have to pay your dues, and work your way up.”

Maverick 14 goes down Saturday, September 14 from the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  Follow the Maverick MMA Facebook page for ticket info.