Skip to main content
Christos Giagos has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 25, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Todd Lussier/Zuffa LLC)

Christos Giagos Flips The Switch

Veteran Talks New Gym, Welcoming Mental Challenges Ahead Of Return vs Ricky Glenn

To be in the UFC, you have to know how to fight. To succeed in the UFC, your mental game has to be on point.

Every. Single. Night.

Saturday's Fight By Fight Preview

Christos Giagos, eight fights into his second stint in the Octagon, knows this better than most. Unlike most, though, he loves the process to make sure his mind and body are both ready to go on fight night.

“I love challenging the mind, too,” he said. “Most people won't do it, and that's what I got to do.”

Christos Giagos opens UFC 262 with a D'Arce Choke | UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler
Christos Giagos opens UFC 262 with a D'Arce Choke | UFC 262: Oliveira vs Chandler

It’s why he packed up and left California nearly two years ago for sun and sand on the other side of the country in South Florida. And while training with the world-class squad at Kill Cliff FC was a perfect fit, it did take some time to acclimate.

“I’ve just been adapting, getting more comfortable and learning as I go,” said Giagos, who faces Ricky Glenn this Saturday in Las Vegas. “It did take a little bit to fully get adapted there and with the new environment. But it's only getting better as we go.”

FREE FIGHTS: Pavlovich vs Tuivasa | Blaydes vs Daukaus 

It’s clear that this is a fighter talking, because getting into daily fistfights with some of the top competitors in the game can’t be pleasant.

“Oh, I've had a couple of those days where I've almost turned the car back around,” he laughs. “But no, I can never let myself do that. You definitely think about it, but not so much anymore. I feel like I'm more excited to get to the gym now, but when I'm not in camp, you go through those mental battles like, ‘Oh, I don't really have to train today.’ So you definitely have those days, but in camp I feel like there's just a switch that goes off and then you get more excited to see where you're at.”

And as the old training adage goes, the more you sweat in the gym, the less you bleed in a fight.  

Christos Giagos reacts after the conclusion of his lightweight bout against Damir Hadzovic of Bosnia during the UFC Fight Night event at Ericsson Globe on June 1, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Victory vs Hadzovic, June 1, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“Definitely, the fighting is the easy part,” Giagos said. “It's probably more mentally draining, but no fight's ever as bad as the training in the gym. The gym's always the hardest part, especially when you’ve got a long camp. It's a lot of good days, a lot of bad days, and little nagging injuries. I'm not getting any younger, so you feel everything a lot more.”

Giagos laughs, knowing that at 33, he may very well be in his physical prime. That doesn’t mean the young guns in the gym aren’t aiming for the “UFC” guy, and the resident killers are always bringing it. Yeah, that will make you want to turn the car around, but Giagos has found the sweet spot in the gym, and he knows that he’s exactly where he wants – and needs – to be.

Christos Giagos punches Mizuto Hirota of Japan in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Adelaide Entertainment Centre on December 2, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
The war with Mizuto Hirota, December 2, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“In the beginning, I didn't really know anybody, so every round you get that little sense of the anxiety of not knowing who they are, what they're going to do, how hard they're going to go, how good they are,” he recalled. “Now I'm a little more aware and adapted and I'm a lot more comfortable and I know where I stand. But the thing is, there are no easy goes. Even with the young new guys, they're all tough as hell because they're going with high level guys, as well, all the time. And it'll toughen you up quick. A lot of guys who can't hang, they end up leaving, so all the good guys stay, all the tough guys stay.”

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Pavlovich Explosive | Fighters On The Rise | Key Main Event Notes 

Giagos is a tough guy, and he’s found the right place for him to take his career to the next level. In fact, after back-to-back losses to Arman Tsarukyan and Thiago Moises, he feels like he’s found the right opponent in Glenn to start fresh here in 2023.

Order UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo

“That's the plan,” he said. “I'm on a two-fight losing streak right now, and this is the second time in my life it's happened. I've never lost more than two fights in a row in my whole career and I’m entering my 30th fight, so I don't plan on having that start now. So I definitely do feel like I'm going to get back in that win column, especially because I do feel like I've gotten a lot better; I just haven't had a chance to prove it yet. And I still haven't got to show the world what I'm capable of, and I feel like this is the fight to do so because I feel like this is a great opportunity. I feel like I get to fight my fight, rather than trying to avoid things like I had to in the last two. I can just go out there and fight the way I want to fight and do whatever I want to do.”

UFC Fight Night: Pavlovich vs Blaydes took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on April 22, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass