Khai Wu takes on Alejandro Rodriguez in a bantamweight bout at Colorado Combat Club 7.
This clash at 135 pounds is set as the main event of the show. It all goes down on Saturday, July 24th.
There’s a tangible sense of relief in getting back to competing and having a defined date and goal to look forward to for Wu.
“Oh, man, it’s great. It just feels great. So good to be back to normal, you know, or what the new normal is called, right? You know, despite COVID and all this crazy stuff, it’s really nice to be able to train for a fight again.”
“Because I never really knew during COVID…You never saw the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s kind of how bad it was. And I’m just glad that I have this opportunity. And I thank the promotion. I thank my opponent, and I’m just glad things are working out again.”
Return To The Cage
After 18 months out of the cage and now being in the main event with some semblance of a live audience in attendance, there are several cool facets to Wu’s return from his pandemic hiatus.
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, out a year and a half, I was at the prime of my career at the top, you know, I mean, I would say still am. Just imagine building your career on this crazy run, only to have not injuries but just some random pandemic that happens once in a lifetime halt your momentum?”
“If you look at my fights, I’ve always spent a lot of time-fighting. My turnaround time has always been very fast due to the lack of amateur experience, you know. So when this fight came along, and it turns out, it’s a main event, for me I’m like, Man, what an honor it is. To come back first fight, main event, you know.”
Khai Wu vs Alejandro Rodriguez
Khai Wu continued, “I would have taken any fight to be honest, on the undercard, it doesn’t matter. But the fact that I got a great management team, Dodge Sports that looks after me now. And they made sure to get me the fights that they think I deserve. So it was really nice to be able to come back from this long layoff to be in a main event.”
Wu experienced a myriad of roadblocks amid the pandemic as many can relate to. A tumultuous timeline littered with everything from irritating inconveniences to meaningful losses in life.
“Yeah, I think, definitely, beginning was just pure frustration. Everyone could understand right? In the beginning, it was like two weeks locked down, and then it went a month then two months, and three months. And then you know, we’re still kind of in it, right. But it was just nonstop problem after problem. And when I say last year wasn’t my year, I really mean it. Because I had like car accidents.”
“You know, even the simplest of things. Where we couldn’t go out and get food, but you could get food delivered. Even the simplest things of like, if I got a Doordash right, the food would get delivered to the wrong house. And I kept saying, I mean, this is probably my fault, but I kept saying like it can’t get any worse than this. It actually did you know. So it wasn’t fun. It was pure frustration in the beginning.”
“But looking back at it now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I did it. How I did it. I think I just took everything one at a time. But looking back at it now, if I just kind of like added it all up. I’m like, Dude, that is the worst thing ever. You know, but it was really unfortunate. There’s a lot of other things that happened. Man, it was rough.”
Khai Wu continued, “I had good friends I had met overseas 2019, trained with, and we came back. Locked down and a few of them passed away due to taking their own life. Just because of the pure depression that was going on in the lockdown. It was very sad. But I was frustrated but then you know, you take a look at the positives. You just have to.”
“I’m not trying to give a motivational speech. But that is the only thing that kind of keeps you sane is looking at the positives you know. So I did look at the positives. I did start training more and did whatever I could. Did the max amount of whatever I could.”
“Built a gym around my garage. Like you see a lot of these fighters. They started building gyms in their garages. I moved a lot of weights and all that stuff from into my garage. Bag, racks, mats. So then I was able to train with some of my guys during the heat of it all. So I started getting back into it and whatnot.”
“Slowly but surely things open up. We got back into our gyms and whatnot. So that definitely turned into like what you said, which is motivation towards the end. But the beginning was definitely pure frustration.”
Colorado Combat Club 7
Omni Movement MMA and Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu in Northern California have been among the primary spaces where Wu has been sharpening his tools.
“Yes. So Resistance opened up during the pandemic as well. So Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu to Dave Camarillo our head instructor that was our main gym. That’s been our main gym since I mean, gosh, I don’t know when. Like that’s literally been my gym.”
“Because, you know, for those that don’t know, Dave Camarillo is my brother-in-law. So it’s kind of been in the family training with him at the gym. But then unfortunately, the gym closed down due to the pandemic and just all this crazy stuff.”
The Day The Bullying Stopped
As a kid, martial arts helped Khai Wu overcome bullying in his formative years. The training was rough early on but Wu grew to enjoy it with time.
A sort of coming-of-age moment in high school turned a bit of a light bulb on for Wu as far as realizing the full effectiveness of his techniques.
“This is a funny story, but I don’t think there was one specific moment. But I do recall the one moment I had. So yeah, you’re right. I hated training with adults. I don’t feel like it paid off. You know, when you’re going like day by day, nothing seems like it changes. But when you look back at it, everything’s different. You know, that’s kind of like the same way my martial arts journey was.”
“One time at school, it was in high school. I believe I was a sophomore. I had already been training jiu-jitsu for like four or five years now. This kid basically I think it was during wrestling practice. Because he just shouted some racial slurs at me. Something silly that, you know, kids. I mean, we’re just kids, you know. We’re teenagers, we say stupid stuff to each other.”
Khai Wu continued, “But he specifically picked on me because I was Asian or something like that. And I was smaller. So then he ran after me during wrestling practice, because I just mouthed off something back. Just along the lines of like, you know, I just made fun of him. Just whatever he said, I kind of gave back. He ran after me in the wrestling practice, because I believe, from what I remember, he was with his girlfriend.”
“And you know we’re high school kids, big group. He said, something to me, he didn’t expect me to say something back. I think I was just fed up, ran after me in the locker room, he ran into a guillotine of mine. I fell on my back and I choked him unconscious. And that’s when I was like, oh, shoot, this is awesome. I don’t promote violence, but come on like the kid could have tackled me onto the ground and cracked my head.”
This bully in question was a big football player and the bullying subsided shortly thereafter for Wu.
Bullying towards him once felt like a flurry of offense that he could not stop. Martial arts training gave him a tempered focus in the moment and familiarity with what to do in response.
Being The Batman Of MMA
The tape study methodology has differed a little bit for this particular fight. That’s mostly informed by the elongated nature of this camp.
“No, we do. We do film study and whatnot. But it’s kind of weird, because I used to… I like to think of myself as like the Batman of MMA. No superpowers, but you know, do my homework. I got my prep time going. So I’d have like several computer monitor screens in a dark room to simulate the cave. And I just look up all this footage and whatnot. I used to do that. But not this time.”
“And the reason why I say not this time is because I honestly trained so much during the pandemic. Because I got to have fun. There was no goal, I got to just go in the gym and practice stuff that I suck at… I just worked on being in all these bad positions. So that when I end up in them, I know how to escape. I have the confidence to know how to escape.”
The cerebral approach to martial arts Khai Wu brings to the table is informed by thorough studying of the game at large. Developing a measured understanding of his own individual biochemistry was key.
“I think the reason why I need that is because of the lack of like, I need efficiency. The reason I need efficiency is because I don’t have any of those gifts that some of these athletes have. So when you say the word cerebral, you know, what I think of is not only the preparation but like you said the defensiveness as well. I need to be defensive because I don’t like getting hit.”
“You’ve got guys like Nate Diaz that are zombies, you know, or Korean Zombie who just fought…Guys like that. Who don’t mind eating a punch to trade. I don’t have an adamantium skull, you know. Like my skull isn’t thick like there’s. I’m already not very good at school. You know, I did finish college. I definitely don’t want to get hit more than I need to.”
Colorado Combat Club
Wu continued, “And it’s not like I have these hands of stone. Or like these shins of steel where like I could just trade and get in firefights. I know how much damage my body could take. And before people go, like, Yeah, but it has to do with your mindset this and that. I’m like, no, it has to do with genetics too. If you’re not built for a firefight, don’t go in there thinking you are capable of a firefight. Because your career is gonna get cut short.”
“Not everyone’s like Robbie Lawler. You know, not everyone’s like Anderson Silva, who could fight later into their careers. You can use these people as inspiration. But don’t use them as a gauge. Because you’re not them, you know, and I learned that early on. I’m like, I’m not these guys. I’m not Manny Pacquiao, I’m not Floyd Mayweather, I can’t do what they do.”
Genetic Ceilings and The Boba King
“So I need to develop a sense of, I need to take inspiration from them and see what works, you know. You see Manny Pacquiao, what is his main weapon? Speed. So I’m like, Okay, well I need to develop some sort of speed, I can’t just be weak. So I trained really hard to rewire my body and brain. I’m like a 50-50 type of believer, it’s like, you have a max limit of speed and strength because of your genetics.”
Khai Wu continued, “But then at the same time, I feel like if you think like that, you’re going to limit yourself too. You know what I’m saying? Like, if I can only bench 200 pounds because my genetics tell me, I feel like you’re limiting yourself. Because you can always probably do more than what you think you’re capable of. But at the same time, I do recognize that there might be a limit, I just don’t care to find out what the limit is.”
Wu’s official nickname is The Shadow but his street nickname is The Boba King. A moniker that has lead to him getting a lot of boba gifted to him by enthusiastic fans for past MMA bouts in Taiwan.
After a past prizefight there, a fan in Taiwan secured a signed boba cup and left it undrunk. A cup that is now immortalized as it acts as a shrine component next to Wu’s old fight gloves that this fan also owns.
Parting Thoughts From Khai Wu
“Yeah, thank you for that. I really appreciate your time too, for reaching out. You know, I never thought I’d get another… I never knew when I was going to get another fight interview. So I’m super excited that I got all these interviews and chat with you guys. The MMA press again, you guys are awesome. Thank you for your time.”
Khai Wu continued, “And I’d like to just thank my management team for getting me this fight, all my new sponsors, and there’s too many to list off. So if anyone just wants to follow me, you can follow me on Instagram. My @ is Khai Wu. Same thing for Twitter and Tik Tok. Because Tik Tok’s a thing now. I’m still learning how to use that and then I also have a Youtube channel. You could just Google me, and I’m sure you could find it.”