George “Relic” Maybroda headlines the United States Kickboxing Alliance (USKA) fight night when it comes to the Econo Lodge in Allentown on March 3rd. His headlining fight against Sean Morgan is also a title fight for the amateur cruiser weight division. Add in the fact that both opponents in the title affair are undefeated and it is a very impressive headliner. All of those facts are impressive enough without knowing the reason for Maybroda’s “Relic” nickname. Through in the reality that Maybroda is 46 years young, adding significance to the moniker and suddenly this fight becomes a much watch event. The Relic has a 3-0 record in the heavyweight division and is dropping to the cruiser weight class (195 pounds) for the first time in his career. Maybroda owns and operates Cornerstone Martial Arts, in Hockessin, while also managing his fight training. Maybroda shared about his body transformation, recovering from a potentially career ending injury, and his preparation for this title shot.
What motivated you to drop from the heavyweight division to the cruiser weight division?
Last April when I fought Mike I was disappointed in my performance. I knew that I could perform at a much higher level than I did. I’ve had the goal to win a title since I started on this journey back to fighting in February 2015. I knew that I had to pull out all the stops and get in the best possible shape to accomplish my goal. So quite literally I prayed and asked that I be shown whatever it would take to be the champion and I would 100 percent commit to that. I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. I was supposed to fight that June and then for a title back in July 2017 for the USKA as a heavyweight. Well, while training for those fights I ruptured my ACL. I remember thinking that it was over. I had limped off to the side and for 45 minutes watched my teammates train. I managed to keep it together until my wife came to pick me up then I lost it. I cried like a baby. I was crushed. My wife, who is my rock, said, “You’re a fighter and your son is watching.” I decided in that moment that this had happened for a reason and that this injury was the beginning of becoming a champion not the end of my fighting career. I move better when I am lighter and wanted to fight heavyweight at the bottom of that weight scale so I could fight cruiser weight too. So the weight loss was to get the excess weight off my knees but was also part of my performance plan.
What are some training changes you made in this camp?
I am a trainaholic. I don’t take rest days. I find at 46 that my body responds best by doing heavy and light training on specific days but a day off is counterproductive and I really enjoy the training process. It’s a grind but it’s a grind that I need and enjoy. I haven’t really changed anything except for my nutrition plan because for months after the surgery on my knee the cardio I could do was limited. I did a lot of strength and flexibility training to get back.
How are you feeling physically with the weight change?
Physically I feel like I am 18 years old until I pass a mirror and see my face. I had a B rated position to the Olympic trials in 1998 through the AAU for Tae Kwon Do and I am far better now than I was then. I’m stronger and faster. I honestly can do things now that I probably couldn’t do as well then. I am ready.
You and your opponent are both undefeated; how does that fact change your mindset or game plan?
Sean and I are both undefeated. We were actually teammates at Nak Muay which is now Algeo MMA and Kickboxing. The whole undefeated thing is not something I focus on. I hate to lose more than I like to win but I’m so OCD on what’s in front of me that I don’t think about it.
How is preparing for a title fight different than your other fights?
At first I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. The Athletic commission has always scrutinized my fights because of my age and I don’t know how many more they will allow me to do. That is in the back of my head at times but preparation for this fight isn’t any different than any other. I always train hard. I’m just in really good shape now. We can train at a different level than before because of the new weight class but it’s a fight and that’s what we are there to do. Being a champion isn’t something you’re awarded. I’ve been a martial arts champion in the past. My Tang Soo Do instructor, Master John Godwin, taught me that if you’re not a champion when you walk in nothing that happens before you walk out is going to change that.
How does it feel to have the opportunity to fight for a title?
I love this. I am eating this up. It’s literally a blast. I love the attention. The fact that my face is on a poster and that I have worked as hard as I have to be here is awesome. I was born for this moment. I started doing this so my son, Zane, could see me compete and go through all the challenges you face when achieving your goals. He has been at every fight. My students come out and watch. I think it’s very important as Martial Arts Instructors that the people that we teach see us put ourselves out there. Someone is going to walk out of that ring as the Champ. I know Sean and like me I know he believes it’s him. The beauty of it is having the guts to stand in that ring across from someone else and say “Let’s find out” and put it all out there. It’s not a guarantee; it’s a fight. I believe that people that have the courage to do that are rare and I am honored to be among them.
You are a lifelong martial artist. What have you learned about yourself from your journey?
Wow, this question is a book. I have probably learned more about myself in the last 3 years than I have in the how ever many before. The main thing I have learned and been reminded of over and over, since I’ve been in this circle, is that there are always two fights going on all the time: one fight with the man across from you, the other fight with the man inside of you. If you conquer the man inside of you the one across from you doesn’t matter.
What styles of martial arts do you find yourself naturally using the most in the sport of kickboxing?
Stylistically I’m definitely a Tang Soo Do/Tae kwon Do/Karate fighter at heart. I’ve always been in love with the Korean and Kyokushin Karate Kicking styles. Watching the Andy Hug, Phillip and Simon Rhee ,Hee Il Cho, Herb Perez, Mark Williams, and my Tang Soo Do teacher John Godwin compete and perform is my roots. That being said I am in love with Muay Thai. I love the pure combative of it. Now I watch Saenchai and Buakaw, and am a huge Ramon Dekkers fan.
Who are your supports in your fighting journey?
There are so many people to thank for supporting me. My wife and my children are first and foremost. I am pretty intense and not a lot of fun to be around during a fight camp. They are the true champs of this venture. Kru Joe Stripling has taken the time and invested a lot into me. Without his guidance and support I wouldn’t have had the success that I did. All of my training partners at Chok Dee Athletics especially Kyle “The Hammer” Gordon and Mikey “Beefcake” Sadlowski. All of my students from Iron Circle Martial Arts and Cornerstone Martial Arts are my brothers and sisters in The World Tang Soo Do Association. Also, Kru Dennis Nouansavanh. Master John Godwin and Master Rob Kloss. A Huge thank you to Irv Althouse and Jen Heffentrauger for going out of their way to match me up and all you do for the sport and the fighters. I will see you all on March 3rd.