When he was growing up, Mackens Semerzier’s favorite movie was The Last Dragon. The movie was about a young African-American Leroy Green, who wanted to be just like his idol Bruce Lee. Because of his outfits, and interest in kung-fu, Leroy received the moniker “Bruce Leroy”. Even though a five-year old Mackens emulated Leroy, 30-year old Mackens wanted to be more like Leroy’s nemesis, Sho’nuff The Shogun of Harlem.
On the March 26th edition of UFC Fight Night, Semerzier is scheduled to take on 22-year old Alex Caceres, who interestingly enough calls himself “Bruce Leroy”. He doesn’t understand why Caceres would want the nickname, and has new, updated thoughts on his favorite childhood film.
“How old is this kid, 22? He’s way too young to know about The Last Dragon,” Semerzier said. “I was Bruce Leroy before he was. I watched the movie a couple of months ago, and it was terrible. I was ashamed I had ever liked this movie. The actors were bad, the choreography was horrendous, the music has terrible. I almost didn’t make it to the end. I highly doubt he’s ever seen it all the way through. If he has, then I don’t know why he would like that as a grown adult.”
Not only did the two share a liking for the same fictional character, even though it came at two entirely different moments in their lives, but they both come from the same city, Miami, Florida. Semerzier was born in Miami, as was Caceres. Even though Semerzier has since left the Magic City, and now resides in Orlando, he says he still represents the city a lot better than his opponent does.
“I’m way more Miami than him,” Semerzier said. “I don’t know if he was really born there, or not, but I was there way before he was. I was in Miami a couple of months back, and thought it’d be funny to bump into him. I’m definitely a better representative of the 305 [Miami’s area code] than he is.”
The bout against Caceres will be Semerzier’s first in the UFC. He came over in the WEC merger, and was immediately placed in this appealing matchup. Semerzier saw Caceres on The Ultimate Fighter and knows he wasn’t well liked among the cast, but he says once they step into the cage, none of that matters.
“It doesn’t matter if he’s well liked, or not,” Semerzier said. “If he has the guts to step into the Octagon with me, then I have to respect him. I know he’s an awkward fighter, and has great hand speed. Guys like that can be dangerous.”
To avoid Caceres’ dangerousness from coming out on top that night, Semerzier has flown up north, as he usually does before fights, to get fully prepared. He is working out with Team Curran in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He usually has to think long and hard before heading to Crystal Lake, but for this important bout he made the sacrifice to head up to the place where he says he gets the best training in the world.
“I know math. I grew up broke. So before I head up to Crystal Lake I have to think about what’s better for my family,” Semerzier said. “I have to pay my own way up there, and take time off from my job to do so. This time I think it’ll pay off. My family gave me their blessing, and I’m training with some top notch fighters. Aside from Jeff I train with Pat Curran, and other guys who are no joke. You have training partners all up in that gym. I don’t know a better way to get ready for a fight with Caceres than this one.”
The Haitian-American fighter knows this bout is a must win for him. After winning his last three professional MMA fights, Semerzier has lost his last three. The last was a split decision loss to Cub Swanson in November in what was WEC 52’s fight of the night. That close, razor-edge defeat was actually a confidence booster for him after two disappointing losses, but he still wishes it would’ve gone his way.
“I was upset it wasn’t a W,” Semerzier said. “I was happy though that I got to fight my fight, and express myself in the cage. I was able to fight hard, and go the distance against a very talented guy. He told me himself that he didn’t know how he made it the entire fight with all the pressure I was putting on him.”
Pressure is precisely what Semerzier wants to put on Caceres. He knows it’s his best chance at a victory against a fighter on the move. He plans to come forward, and throw a lot of punches. He isn’t looking for a one punch knockout though; instead, he wants to punish Caceres.
“I want a TKO. I guess if the KO comes I’ll take it, but I want a stoppage,” Semerzier said. “I want to beat him up. I want to eat him up. I want to hit him until the referee, or the doctor stops the fight, and tells me, ‘Stop it Mack.’ That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Past this fight, Semerzier knows that being in the UFC, and more importantly scoring a huge win in the UFC, will do wonders for his career, and his family.
“I’m just looking to win fights, and hopefully get a few Fight of the Night bonuses, or Knockout of the Night bonuses,” Semerzier said. “I’m focused on winning. Hopefully I can win five to six in a row. I want to cash some checks. I have bills to pay, and three kids to support. Right now I know I’m not one fight away from anything big, so I have to go on a nice streak. I know I’m at the bottom right now, and there’s nowhere to go from up, and that’s exactly where I’ll be heading until I reach the top.”
Semerzier to make UFC Debut vs. Caceres
“I want a TKO. I guess if the KO comes I’ll take it, but I want a stoppage.” - Mackens Semerzier