Manny Flores Interview
Manny Flores Interview
By Darryl Satcher Team MMAmadhouse
There have been 3 installments of Lou Neglia’s and Artyom Sahakyan’s co-promoted event, Battle of the Millennium. This event has showcased some of the best fighters locally, nationally and even internationally. We have seen young rising stars and hardened veterans in their prime alike display their talents live in front of the Brooklyn faithful at the Master Theatre, which is just a stones throw from Brighton Beach.
On May 12th, the aforementioned Master Theatre will be host to the fourth edition of this event. Generally this has been event showcasing Kickboxing, however, in this juncture we will see an added fixture to the card that will feature a lone contested MMA bout between two up and comers in the scene of New York MMA. Manny Flores of Serra Longo fight team will look to keep his undefeated record in tact against a determined Marcus Chin.
This bout is yet another indicator that Mixed Martial Arts will have its place in New York after the sport was legalized back in 2016. We recently caught up with the hardworking and talented Manny Flores of the famed Serra Longo fight team as he prepares for his bout against Marcus Chin.
Just to give background to a lot of readers, Manny “The African Samurai” Flores is a Brown belt under former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra. He is currently 3-0. He trains alongside the likes of New York based standouts in Mixed Martial Arts, Chris Weidman, Eddie “Truck” Gordon, Pete “Drago” Sell, Aljamain Sterling, Al Iaquinta, James Jenkins, James “Speedy” Gonzalez, Merab Devashvili, Eddie Lenoci and Patrick DeFranco.
He is also devoted father of three that owns a company installing security systems into homes and business establishments, AMS Security. He is a prime example of a working class responsible man looking to provide for his family and a man that is hungry for success inside and outside the sport of MMA. This is our interview of the up and coming SerraBJJ standout Manny “The African Samurai” Flores.
DS-MMA Madhouse: You’ve embarked on a fairly impressive start to your amateur mixed martial arts career holding a current record of 3-0.
You’re a brown belt under Former UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra.
Please talk to us about how you got your start in the sport and what made you decide that you want to fight?
Flores: I started training in Martial Arts when I was young, High School came along, I fell off a little bit… I did a little bit of boxing, stayed in shape a little bit, nothing too crazy. I went to college, started partying, got fat and out of shape.
So I was actually watching that UFC primetime joint where they had this special on the fighters, that was when GSP (Georges St Pierre) was fighting Dan Hardy. Hardy was training with Matt Serra at that time. So as I was watching the show, they showed a clip of him doing an armbar escape and I was impressed right away, I was with jiujitsu right off the bat.
So when they zoomed out, I saw the phone number to Serra’s having a “631” area code. Mind you, this was like at midnight when I see this. So the next morning, I called… no one answered, it was too early. So I called again right around noon, someone answered. I got my membership going and never looked back.
DS-MMA Madhouse: That’s awesome. Your social media is definitely very positive, you post a lot of pictures of not only your journey in MMA but in life. You’ve definitely come a long way to live a healthier lifestyle. You’ve even said it yourself that you were out of shape before training full time. Speak to us about your journey and how it has included living a healthier lifestyle…
Flores: This Journey has absolutely led to myself living a healthier lifestyle. My life changed completely. When I first started, I was still smoking cigarettes. So about a month into it, I had a choice… it was either Jiujitsu or cigarettes. That was an easy one…
DS MMAMadhouse: EASY CHOICE! So who would you say has been your greatest influence inside Brazilian Jiujitsu and Mixed Martial Arts?
Flores: Big Tony Q (Tony Quagliata) one of Matt Serra’s blackbelts, he’s taken me under his wing pretty much since the beginning of my training and of course Drago (Pete Sell) comes along, he helps me out. Also the General, gotta thank the General for everything he’s doing for me because without him, I would not have this opportunity to shine.
DS MMAMADHOUSE: For those that don’t know, when he mentions “The General”… he is talking about Matt Serra himself.
Flores: Yes sir, yes sir…
DS MMAMADHOUSE: Sorry to interrupt you, go on…
Flores: No worries… so those are the people inside the gym, there are more, I just can’t name them all right now. As far as in the sport… Eddie “Truck” Gordon has a great story that influenced me as well. He was a big dude just like myself and he’s a great guy as well, love that guy. I love his story. As far as like technique and all that stuff goes… I don’t wanna say that I’m like any fighter because I’m myself but I enjoy picking up techniques from guys like Jon Jones and Mighty Mouse (Demetrious Johnson)… you know, top flight guys like that.
As far as outside of the sport… Family. Always. My parents always support me even though they don’t really like what I do but hey my father always say, “he doesn’t have a coward as a son.”
DS MMAMadhouse: Most definitely, this sport is definitely not for faint of heart…
Flores: As I’m sitting here with a black eye
DS MMA Madhouse: Two black eyes!
DS MMAMadhouse: Yeah it’s all part of the grind…
Now SerraLongo Fight team has produced champions in various organizations and has also produced not only tournament competitors on the largely successful reality series “The Ultimate Fighter” but has produced tournament champions.
Great fighters such as Chris Weidman, Al Iaquinta, Aljamain Sterling, Pete Drago Sell, Eddie Truck Gordon, Costas Phillipou, Gian Villante, James Jenkins…. I mentioned Matt Serra earlier, he’s a former undisputed champion of the UFC.
To people not familiar with the tristate area, other good fighters such as Pat DeFranco, Eddie Lenoci, James “Speedy” Gonzalez, current Ring of Combat National champion Merab Devashvili and of course there’s the outstanding Jason Rau killing it on the grappling circuit.
Talk to us about what it means to not only train alongside those guys but to be able to carve out your own niche to be successful in your own right..
Flores: So training alongside dudes like that is a dream come true. At first, obviously it is intimidating because you see these guys and it’s like “Oh My God” but once you put your mat time in and earn their respect… it’s all love. It is extremely inspiring to see them go out there and perform. For me, when I train hard with those guys, I can pretty much train hard and fight hard with anybody they put across that cage from me.
That alone is very inspiring and a strong motivator for me to keep coming to get better. You have no other option but to get better training with guys like that.
DS MMAmadhouse: Is there anything in particular that you’ve picked up from anyone on the team?
Flores: Nothing in particular, just to know how to GRIND. Everyone here that we train with is here on a grind. They are always trying to out-hustle the next guy and that right there… I take that and I run with it. There’s always little things that those individuals will tell you when you’re having a match, “Don’t do this, don’t do that…” It’s hard to remember everything but the biggest thing that sticks out, it’s the grind. Everybody here just wants to work, you’re not going to outwork us.
DS MMAmadhouse: Honestly that’s pretty much consistent with what goes on at Longo’s (Longo And Weidman MMA) … the same mentality.
Flores: Yeah man, we’re all family.
DS MMAMADHOUSE: To those that are unfamiliar with your fighting style, how you handle your business inside of that cage or in the case in your next fight coming up, that ring… how would you best describe it?
Flores: I don’t want to say I’m a standup guy or a jiujitsu guy. I would like to say I’m well rounded. I’m just a guy that likes to be in your face. We are in there to fight. So at the end of the day, I am gonna be in your face, I’m trying to take your head off and hey all punches are welcomed too. Again, it’s all about the grind, when I’m in there, I’m looking to just sap his will and make him want to quit. (I want to) make him feel like he’s drowning…. That’s my style.
DS MMAmadhouse: So basically you want to take him into deep water…
Flores: I want to take him into deep waters and drown him… I don’t want him to be floatin around or nothin. I want to drown him and keep him down there.
DS MMAMADHOUSE: Me studying your fights, I’ve noticed that you have an engine and a work-rate that will break any fighter than isn’t properly prepared to go three hard rounds…
Flores: Absolutely. One of my biggest things during my training camps or just training period is that I refuse to lose because I got tired. That is NOT an option. To lose because I got tired is not an option. If the guy beats me, it’s going to be because he’s better than me and that’s straight up. I’m not going to lose because I got tired and that’s for sure.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this interview as we will talk about his fight and we will be recapping the fight itself with a post fight interview from Manny “The African Samurai” Flores.
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