Karlos Vemola entered his middleweight debut with Octagon jitters. Despite having already fought three times in UFC contests, Vemola was nervous. He was 1-2 since joining the UFC and was in desperate need of a notch in the win column.

The Czech Republic native captalized on the opportunity en route to submitting Mike Massenzio in the second round of action at UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller. However, Vemola had to overcome unexpected nerves and gather his composure before he was able to capture the ninth win of his MMA career.

“I was very happy as I still do not think the UFC has seen the real me,” Vemola told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “It actually took me time to adapt and get over some initial nervous tension.”

Karlos Vemola (R) battles Mike Massenzio (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

“I think this is one of the reasons I look like I am going to gas out. I have never experienced that feeling before. I believe I will be comfortable heading into my next fight. This will be the first time that I am on the main card,” said Vemola. “I hope to win and do enought to stay in that position.”

Vemola’s nerves weren’t the only thing the 27-year-old had to overcome, as he’s taken part in one of the most bizzare weight drops the sport has ever seen. In 2008, Vemola began his cage-fighting career competing in the heavyweight division. It was a slow but steady drop in weight from there as he later made the transition to 205 pounds in just his second UFC fight.

After posting a sub-par record of 1-1 at light heavyweight, Vemola made his final move to the middleweight division. Through hours upon hours in the gym, Vemola managed to lose 50-plus pounds and ultimately change his own life for the better. But let it be known, it certainly wasn’t easy.

“I need to be honest, initially it was very tough,” Vemola admitted. “However, now I am walking around just a little over the middleweight limit. This is my natural weight, although everyone is teasing me about going down to welterweight.”

“When you see the top British guys at welterweight such as John Hathaway and Bola Omoyele, it might just be possible as they are both huge and no smaller than me. At this weight, I do have to watch what I eat a lot more, whereas at heavyweight, I was eating fives times a day to maintain my weight and doing a lot of weights in the gym.”

While Vemola has undoubtedly overcome several obstacles in order to arrive to the position he’s in today, none have come larger than his decision to leave his home country and take his talents to the United States to fight for the world’s top promotion. After meeting the love of his life and seeing the countless opportunities in the States, Vemola boarded a plane and headed to the land that would forever change his life.

It was time for a change.

Karlos Vemola (R) battles Mike Massenzio (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

“Well, I actually came to the United Kingdom first to find work. There I met an English girl, and we now have two children together. I have been to some of the U.S. gyms and I must admit, they are at a whole other level. Not necessarily in terms of the training or the gym facilities, but we do not have the level of fighters here in the UK gyms,” said Vemola. “Sometimes we have to search for a sparring partner, whereas in the U.S., there are so many.”

Vemola will now look to capture his second UFC win when he meets Francis Carmont at UFC on Fuel 4 on Wednesday, July 11, in San Jose, Calif.

While Vemola isn’t entirely sure of how his bout will unfold with Carmont, he’s confident he’ll be able to come out on top in his 185-pound debut.

“I do not know how I will beat him, but I definitely will win this fight.”

Top Photo: Karlos Vemola has his hand raised after defeating Mike Massenzio at UFC on Fox 3 (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

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