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Adam Maciejewski is Back and Aiming High in 2014

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Adam Maciejewski at XFO 49

by Matt Lo Cascio

While doctors tended to a dazed Miodrag Petkovich on the canvas at XFO 49, Adam Maciejewski donned his hat, walked to the edge of the cage, pointed his finger at the crowd and said, ‘This is my house.’ There were no disagreements.

You wouldn’t have known it was Maciejewski’s first fight in the U.S. in over four years. His body look chiseled, his cardio was excellent and he violently finished off Petkovich in the second round.

Petkovich is no longer the man that beat former UFC fighters Tim Hague, Travis Fulton and Igor Pokrajac. He’s now 44, but he remains durable, smart and strong. None of that mattered to Maciejewski, as he threw the 240-pound Serb around the cage as if he was tossing the morning paper at your front door. He made it look that easy, walking him down and engaging until he got what he wanted: a fantastic finish that screamed ‘I’m back!’

The immediate questions that came to mind after the fight: Where has Maciejewski been and how did he dominate like that after so much time away from the sport?

“The main reason for taking several years off was due to a knee injury which occurred during a fight. The end result was knee surgery. During all of this I was going through personal problems which stood in the way of training,” Maciejewski told Chicago’s MMA. “The reason I came back is simple, I can’t live without fighting. I believe this is in my blood. I’m 33 years old now, my body is the strongest it’s ever been. It’s time to show the non-believers that I can steer something serious in this sport.”

Alex Trujillo gives instructions to Adam Maciejewski at XFO 49

Alex Trujillo gives instructions to Adam Maciejewski at XFO 49.

Maciejewski fights out of Midwest Training Center in Schaumburg, and his coach Alex Trujillo was counting on him to put on a comeback like that.

“I was pretty impressed and I have to say that we did expect him to be able to dominate the fight. We know Miodrag pretty well, he’s very tough and experienced. In fact, a few sites were picking him to beat Adam. We knew he would be tough but Adam is looking great right now so we felt like he could not only win but do it in impressive fashion. He did just that,” Trujillo said.

Maciejewski and his coach have deleted the long layoff from their minds, both strongly focused on attaining huge goals in 2014.

“There are a few fights on the way. In February I will be fighting in Poland and in March at XFO 50. I can’t hide the fact that I want to end both fights with a knockout. 2014 is going to be my year. I can say with confidence that my trainers and I are aiming very high,” Maciejewski said. How high? “The UFC of course.”

Trujillo has the same goal in mind, and a plan laid out to get Maciejewski to the big stage.

“Adam is already back to training and we are currently preparing for the fight in March. After that we want maybe one more smaller win and then yes, we have some plans for Adam to get back to the higher level of the sport. When he puts a couple more wins together and if he can finish those fights as well, then I think he will be ready to fight some of the sport’s best. 2014 will be a big year for Adam. He is certainly in a great position to do some big things in the heavyweight division.”

Maciejewski has the privilege of fighting in front of a huge fan base here in Chicago, where his fellow Poles come out to support him in a big way. He now goes by the nickname ‘Maja,’ although I remember him as the ‘Polish Pitbull’ from back in his IFL days.

There was also plenty of media following him and Rafal Skibinski at XFO 49, trying to capture every moment of the experience on both video and photo. They stalked around the apron of the cage, drawing the scorn of the event’s sanctioning body for repeatedly breaking the rules. At one point, a cage-side official had to raise his voice to get a photographer off the apron and back down to the floor. “But that’s my guy,” the photographer pleaded, smiling.

“I definitely appreciate all the support from my fans and friends in Chicago. I love this city and I would like to fight here whenever possible,” Maciejewski said.

“Maya” is so popular with his fans that he even has a Polish rap song about him. Here is a clip of the song with highlights from the Petkovich fight interspersed.

Can Maciejewski get to the UFC in just one year after being away from the sport for almost five years? It’s a very lofty goal, but don’t be surprised if it happens.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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