("What has two thumbs, wears a red jersey and has an insatiable hunger for Hot Pockets right now?" PicProps: Ultimate Fighter.com)
Not to get sidetracked by the psychology of it all, but clearly a certain amount of success in athletics must be based on not thinking about it too much. Hence, the stunning percentage of dumb guys who are also professional athletes. Now, we’re not trying to say that Cody McKenzie is dumb, per se, only that he sure doesn’t appear to over think things. In fact, perhaps that blind confidence – coupled with a freaky guillotine — is his greatest strength as a fighter. There’s something about McKenzie’s particular blend of boundless enthusiasm and wanton hubris that we find incredibly endearing. His surprising run on “TUF 12,” during which he performed the MMA equivalent of continually poking a sleeping grizzly bear with a stick by talking an endless stream of shit to Josh Koscheck, was enough to win our hearts. His choke-out of Aaron Wilkinson at the show’s live finale? Well, that was just hilarious.
From the outside looking in, it appears the UFC may be just as bemused by McKenzie as we are, perhaps vowing to just keep giving him fights in rapid succession until somebody beats him. That – paired with the fact the kid just doesn’t seem know any better – would explain why the company is moving him straight from his victory over Wilkinson earlier this month into a short-notice fight with Yves Edwards on Jan. 22. It would also explain why he’s prone to say stuff like this: “I’d love to be able to cut down to 145 and fight (Jose) Aldo,” McKenzie told MMA Junkie this week. “I respect the guy, but I think that would be a war.”
Yeah, no. Clearly a complete inability to conceptualize your own limitations can only take you so far.
McKenzie will be an injury replacement for Melvin Guillard when he faces off with Edwards at Fight Night 23. He’ll also be seven weeks removed from a relatively light night of work that saw him catch Wilkinson in his patented modified guillotine. McKenzie says he’s long admired Edwards, a UFC veteran who’s on the comeback trail after his win over John Gunderson back in September. McKenzie was just a teen when he watched Edwards blast Josh Thomson in the face with a high kick at UFC 49. Come to think of it, that gives McKenzie an idea …
"I’m stoked … I was begging for (this fight)," he said. "I’m a big fan of Yves Edwards. The first UFC card I ever rented, I think I was a sophomore in high school, and he was on the card. I love that he kicked Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson in the face. I’d love to kick Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson in the face, too. (Thomson) talks a lot of shit on my training partner, Lyle Beerbohm. Lyle Beerbohm will smash him with one hand, so I don’t know why he’s running his mouth. Lyle’s a bad, bad dude."
See? Kind of makes McKenzie seem sort of overly suggestible, but in a totally likable way. Another thing we find likable about him? The following story he dropped on MMA Junkie about the time he made some extra scratch by choking a dude out in the parking lot of a local tavern in Alaska (or Washington, it’s unclear and, frankly, this shit could happen either place).
"Back in the day, I guillotined a guy outside of a bar at three in the morning and made $300," McKenzie said. Actually, according to the Junkie he ‘recalled (it) with a laugh.’ "He didn’t think I could get him. I showed him I could.
“He was a big wrestler and a crab fisherman guy. I was sleeping at the end of the bar. My brother wakes me up and is like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a match for you, Cody. That guy.’ I looked over, and it was a guy all amped up to try and wrestle with me. I went over there and guillotined him in like two seconds and made $300 … At one point I actually gave him a wedgie and a noogie."
Sleeping at the end of the bar? What’s not to love about that? As for our concerns that once UFC-level competition figures out McKenzie’s guillotine, we might see the end of his run in the Octagon? Well, we hope you don’t think he’s going to spend a lot of time thinking about it.
"A lot of people call me a ‘one-trick pony,’" McKenzie said. "I actually call myself a choke artist. People can say whatever they want. I’m 12-0 now, all first-round finishes except my first fight, which was a second-round TKO. I’m going in there, and I’m finishing people. That’s what the crowd wants to see. I think that’s why I have a lot of fans.”