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Mikey Musumeci Reveals Reason For Motivation Following ONE 167 Win

Mikey Musumeci
Black Belt Plus

Gabriel Sousa was the last man to defeat Mikey Musumeci, and he did it via submission. At ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II, the American got his revenge with a calf-slicer submission just over three minutes into their match.

But the heated post-match interview captured much of the attention, because Musumeci claimed his reason for being so aggressive was due to years of online bullying by his opponent.

“So for three or four years, this guy harassed me for every match that I did, discrediting me, ‘Yo, he’s not fighting me, he’s scared of me, he’s running away from me,’ just over and over and over and over,” Musumeci told ONE.

“Darth Rigatoni” was on a mission at ONE 167, and it paid off with a spectacular finish in his bantamweight scrap. The feelings within were not new to Musumeci, who has been dealing with bullies his entire life.

“It was just more about me finally shutting him up. The day before, he tried to make me flinch. He was walking chest out with me. And he brought out a part of me from when I was a kid,” the BJJ star recalled.

“I’m not really a tough guy, and my whole life competing with these alpha macho people, and they always would act tough, and I like action. So it just brought out me as a kid, always dealing with this type of people.”

Musumeci was apologetic after his match, but the overflow of emotions was a look into his character. Pushed to the brink by his rival, the American star used his feelings as motivation for one of his best performances to date.

“It brought out Little Mikey from when I was a kid, and my anger towards that personality and that person. But, again I got very emotional. I’m sorry, guys. But I just leave it all out there, you know,” Musumeci stated.

With ONE 167 behind him, Musumeci now has another test lined up. On September 6, “Darth Rigatoni” will challenge Kade Ruotolo for the ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Championship.

The flyweight star will move all the way up to lightweight but is not looking to get too bulky, as it may adversely affect his performance.

“For me, it’s not about putting on weight. It’s about just feeling as strong as I could be, right? I’m afraid if I get too heavy, I’ll lose cardio and gas out in the first minute, especially because Kade has the best cardio,” Musumeci said.

Working with strength and conditioning coaches, Musumeci is still focused on getting stronger. Against Ruotolo, he will need to be at his peak condition to dethrone his fellow American.

ONE 168: Denver is shaping up to have one of the most compelling submission grappling bouts of the year when the two pound-for-pound stars collide inside the Ball Arena.

“I’ll definitely probably stay lighter, and maybe if I can, I’ll try to put on another 5 pounds of muscle. I feel like that would be a reasonable number, 10 pounds max,” the American remarked.

“I was trying, for this match, to eat more protein, so that helped me get a little heavier. So maybe another 5 pounds, if that.”

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