UFC Vegas 88’s Charalampos Grigoriou Credits Tough Times, Ray Longo Ahead of Debut

It wasn’t so long ago that Charalampos Grigoriou wasn’t really even on anybody’s prospect radar. After coming out of the gate for his professional career like a rocket, he found himself at 4-3 and not really in the spot he wanted to be. However, he deels that those

“It’s funny because the other day we had the same conversation at the gym with Ray [Longo],” Grigoriou said. “I remember myself when I was 4-1 and I was trying to sign with the UFC and it didn’t happen and then I got two losses back-to-back. The two losses were the best lesson for me because I knew if I was signed to the UFC when I was 4-1, I don’t think I’d be in the UFC now.”

The major change from those losses were a change in mental state. Even going into his most recent loss he knew something needed to change, and the loss plunged him further into uncertainty.

“I’m glad that I got the two losses because it made me wiser, mentally stronger and here I am today,” he said. “My last loss, from Christian Rodriguez, mentally I was bad. Even in the fight I knew I was gonna lose – even days before the fight. [After] I said, ‘okay, I’m going to stop. I’m not going to fight anymore.”

However, he didn’t walk away from the sport at that time. Instead, he spoke with his team and decided to take a couple months off to reset.

He returned to the gym refreshed and ready to put on an impressive run that led him to the UFC. While he credits those two losses as a big reason why he’s here, perhaps the biggest reason is the man who was greeting him at the gym. Ray Longo has been a huge part of many careers, but he holds a special place for Grigoriou.

“We always have fun with Ray – he makes me laugh all the time. We are very close, especially in fight camp,” he says with a laugh. “Yesterday he said ‘Pampos, I’m tired. I don’t want to see you anymore’ and I said to him ‘you’re going to see me for the rest of your life.”

And when he steps into the cage at UFC Vegas 88, he’ll have his coach and friend in his ming and his heart.

“I’m so happy I have Ray. He’s a great mentor and I’m going to make him proud,” Grigoriou said.

You can catch him doing just that when he takes on Chad Anheliger this Saturday. That fight card begins at 4pm EST on ESPN+.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:14