When it comes to bad jobs, Oktagon MMA welterweight champion David Kozma has had to endure his fair share.
Kozma (30-11) spent his childhood years in a small town in his native Czech Republic, and entered judo classes early on. “There were basically no other martial arts,” Kozma told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview, explaining that the lack of alternatives led his parents to enroll him in judo classes as a child — they wanted their boy to know how to defend himself.
“It’s kind of rough,” Kozma said of his home town. “The community there is not really like in big cities. That’s why they [his parents] put me into martial arts. Because they wanted me to know how to defend myself in school.” Luckily, Kozma has never been in a situation where he needed to do any fighting outside the cage. That doesn’t mean, however, that he hasn’t had some outright wild encounters.
Early on in his fighting career, the small-town born and raised Kozma moved to Prague, the Czech capital, and found himself working at a KFC. That was his first job in the big city, Kozma recounted for us, and lasted “only for like a month and a half. Then I started to look for other jobs.” All the while still proceeding with his MMA career.
While working for the fried chicken outlet, Kozma was already champion for GCF [Global Championship Fighting], and one of his co-workers happened to be an MMA fan. His pursuits were far from secret. Despite that, he was looking for something different. After KFC, there was a stint as a door-to-door electricity salesman.
That’s when things got dicey.
“There’s a company that goes from door-to-door and offers people electricity for less money than they have [with their current provider],” Kozma explained. While out knocking on doors, Kozma wound up in a life-threatening situation with one would-be customer.
Kozma recalled “talking to a woman, describing the product and the offer, then some weapon came from the door, and they basically shot — but it wasn’t aimed [at me].” At that point, Kozma high-tailed it out of there. Surprisingly, he didn’t quit on the spot.
“This was actually my first day at this job,” the fighter revealed. Believe it or not, Kozma continued showing up for work for another month, before finally turning in his notice. Not just because of the shooting incident, but “because it wasn’t for me, going door-to-door.”
What is for Kozma is fighting. The welterweight is the longest reigning Octagon MMA champion — he’s held his title since 2018 — and is undefeated in the promotion. Ahead of his December 3, 2022 title defense against Kaik Brito, he’s been training at SBG Ireland.
That said, when it comes to his success, “there’s no special secret.” I just have good discipline, work out, conditioning.” As Kozma put it, he’s working on himself to be “better and better” each fight.
Brito, meanwhile, is a strong starter, something of which Kozma is well aware. “Kaik Brito has really strong first rounds. He’s really fast and dangerous, but when he goes to other rounds, like the third and so on, he didn’t win that many fights.” Kozma, in turn, needs to be “careful in the first round, not to get any KO. Then just work throughout the rounds.”
The plan, in other words, is to drag Brito into deep waters.
At 30, Kozma is in his prime, is a defending champion, and has made a name for himself in Europe. It would seem he’s primed for a jump to the UFC or one of its rivals, especially with the profile of Czech MMA higher than ever thanks to UFC star Jiri Prochazka.
For Kozma, however, the next fight is all he’s thinking about. On that front, he explained that he “always focuses on the fight that’s ahead of me. Because the career always depends on the fight, [on the] next one that you have.” Once that is done, questions about the UFC or where he goes next can be considered. “We’ll see.”
As for a prediction, David Kozma is confident in the win. “The fight is going to go into the fourth or fifth round, when Brito is going to be tired,” he suggested, adding that he’d prefer a TKO — but maybe he’ll go the distance and take it by points.
Oktagon 37 takes place Saturday, December 3, 2022 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and is headlined by David Kozma vs. Kaik Brito.