At all levels of his athletic career, Myles Mazurkiewicz has been successful. He was a two-time state wrestling champion for the Havre Blue Ponies and a four-time NAIA All-American for the University of Great Falls Argos.
Now, he's making a name for himself in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, and with a win over Spokane's Ryan Mulvihill Friday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, he will establish himself as a force to be reckoned with.
Mazurkiewicz has two professional fights under his belt and sports a 2-0 record as he enters 221 Industries' ICF 15. But a win over Mulvihill, who is known as the "Mongoose" would open eyes and lead to more prestigious matches down the road.
"This is by far the toughest opponent that I am facing in my career," Mazurkiewicz said. "I see a lot of chatter out there, and he is a tough fighter, but at the end of the day, he puts his shoes on the same as everyone else. I treat everyone the same, regardless if I am going into the cage or on the mat. (Mulvihill) is known throughout the Northwest, and I can't wait to get in there and test myself."
Mazurkiewicz, who is the all-time leader at UGF with 59 career pins and 136 career victories is coming off a hard-fought win over Steve Cann by way of a unanimous decision on July 19 in the cage in Washington. It was a tough fight, but the judges scored each round in favor of Mazurkiewicz. The former Blue Pony standout got his other professional victory via submission in less than a minute and said he never likes leaving things up to the judges.
"I don't like leaving things up to the judges, I like to be able to finish, I couldn't quite do it my last match, but I was close," he said. "It's just a tense moment because you think you won but it's hard to remember everything you did. When you jump in (the cage), everything else fades out. It's just you and your opponent, then your instincts take over and you go with whatever comes natural. You do not have a lot of time to think about what you have done because you are trying to think about what you are going to do."
With so much at stake, Mazurkiewicz has done everything possible to prepare for the fight and recently spent time at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona, to train and prepare himself for three five-minute rounds in the Octagon.
"Training in Arizona has really been enlightening for me," Mazurkiewicz said. "Just getting to be around some of the top talent in MMA and seeing how guys handle their lives day in and day out, how they handle their nutrition, it's an everyday process. But they have been so willing to share information and help you get better that it's just been a great experience."
The transition from wrestling to MMA has been a natural one for Mazurkiewicz, but without being able to pin opponents and victories coming by knockout, technical knockout or submission, he has had to learn other ways to finish his matches as he broadens his skill set in mixed martial arts.
"I recognize that wrestling is the strongest part of my game, but I like to stand up and do it all," he said. "I try to use wrestling as my foundation, but I have been trying to take parts of mixed martial arts and piece them together and build on that. But when I get in trouble, I know I can go to my wrestling. My style of wrestling was always more of a brawler anyways. I enjoy getting in and finishing a fight, so however I have to do that, I would hate to limit myself to just wrestling. The whole game kind of changed when I came to MMA, and I just have to find different ways to finish."
Mazurkiewicz may be fresh on the MMA scene, but despite the fact that this is only his third professional fight, he is not lacking in confidence.
"I don't want to sound arrogant or anything like that, but I like my chances," he said. "I have just always believed in myself and had confidence in myself and hopefully I can go in there and come out on top."
The match between Mazurkiewicz and Mulvihill will be held Friday hight at the Four Seasons Arena. ICF 15 starts at 7 p.m. and is being billed as the biggest MMA event to ever be held in Great Falls.