Costa On The Lightweights

“Naumann will not stand with Leon”

Johannesburg (South Africa) – Former lightweight champion Costa Ioannou has been out of competition since his outing against Don Madge in June 2013. In this interview Ioannou calls EFC AFRICA 27’s lightweight title fight, and gives fans an update on his Hexagon plans in 2014.

What do you think of the EFC 27 card? 

It’s a really crazy way to start the best year yet for African MMA. There are really great matchups that I’ve wanted to see for a long time.

Did you read Naumann’s interview? He predicts that he’ll finish Mynhardt inside two rounds. Agree?

Naumann needs to realise that he fought no current number one contenders to get to the title shot. Leon will be a big step up in competition.

What is your estimation of Naumann? Is he ready for a title fight?

He’s going to realise that he needs to take the fight to the ground and that’s where we’ll see if he has any wrestling skills, and we haven’t seen any as yet. Leon is a tough competitor and a champion and he will not sit there and let it get taken from him. Naumann will not stand toe-to-toe with Leon, like he says, for very long.

How do you see that fight going?

I don’t see Naumann trying to beat Leon at his own game. He will try to put Leon on his back and beat him there. Leon will be super aware of Naumann’s intentions though, so it’s not going to be an easy night for either of them.

You’ve fought Mynhardt before. Any advice for Naumann?

Good luck!

You’ve been out for a while with an injury. Could you tell us what the current situation is?

The injury with my neck is honestly the hardest thing I’ve had to go through. Going from being active to not even being able to jog or use your strong hand properly was so frustrating. I also got to see which sponsors truly were with me for the long run. All I did was go between physio’s, chiro’s, etc. all day, every week. My neck only came right in November and it’s only starting to feel a bit more stable now.

When will you be back in training?

I am back in training but taking it slow. My body is taking strain jumping into full training after so many months off. I’m loving training now more than I have in a year or two.

Any thoughts on when you’ll be back in the Hex, and who you’d like to fight first?

I planned to jump back in on the March card but as I said my body is taking strain with full training so instead of going into a fight camp and picking up a serious injury again I’m building up slowly. Hopefully I’ll get to compete before long.

What are your plans for 2014?

2014 is so exciting for me. I have decided to do the things I love again as well as compete. I plan to start coaching at my gym again. I also have a few other things planned that hopefully I can speak about soon.

Lastly, congratulations on your wedding! Did you manage to take a honeymoon?

Thanks so much! Our wedding was everything we wanted it to be and I owe that all to my wife and the hard work she put in. We did manage to get away for a honeymoon and it was a much needed getaway and rest for us both. It was amazing!

For regular updates follow @costamma on Twitter for regular updates.

EFC AFRICA 27, presented by MusclePharm, takes place on Thursday 27 February 2014 at the Big Top Arena, Carnival City, Johannesburg. Tickets on sale now at

Broadcast information and full fight card available at