Pasar al contenido principal
Ray Longo is seen in the corner of Merab Dvalishvili of Georgia prior to his bantamweight fight against Ricky Simon during the UFC Fight Night event at the Boardwalk Hall on April 21, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Zuffa LLC)
UFC Fight Pass

Training Top Prospects is Keeping Ray Longo Young | UFC Fight Pass

MMA Legend Ray Longo's Passion For The Fight Game Is Still Burning Bright.

Ray Longo has nothing left to prove. In 2007, he helped Matt Serra slay the beast that was Georges St-Pierre. In 2013, when Chris Weidman was in the heat of battle against Anderson Silva, Longo famously told Weidman, “Punch a hole in his f------ chest,” moments before Chris knocked out Silva to claim the middleweight title. And in 2022, he prepared Aljamain Sterling to defeat Petr Yan, and cement himself as the best bantamweight fighter on the planet.

It’s not just the champions, though. Longo has spent decades turning local Long Island fighters into UFC talent. “The Godfather” has established Long Island as one of the fight capitals of the world and helped inspire kids from all over New York to believe it’s possible for them to someday step inside the Octagon.

Now in his 60s, Longo’s passion is as strong as ever, and he especially enjoys working with the gym’s younger prospects.

“Having young guys in the gym definitely keeps me mentally younger. It makes it harder for me to walk away,” Longo said.

Subscribe To UFC Fight Pass Today!

At the moment, Longo has turned his attention to top lightweight prospect Dennis Buzukja, who’s fighting Soslan Abanokov at Cage Fury 120 on June 16. 

Buzukja has seemingly been knocking on the door of the UFC for some time now, including a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series, and Longo thinks that a big showing at CFFC for Buzukja could take his career to the next level.

Enter To Win An All Expense Paid Trip To Las Vegas For International Fight Week 2023

“In his last fight he went to Abu Dhabi and knocked the guy out, and I think he’s going to do the same thing here,” Longo said. “I just hope that they take notice and see how good he is. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to see that this kid can fight.”

Beyond the Xs and Os that come with over two decades of training fighters, a huge part of Longo’s brilliance is his ability to foster a family-like environment that is conducive to winning fights.

RELATED: Dennis Buzukja Looks To Keep Serra-Longo Fight Team's Hot Streak Alive

For young guys like Buzukja, they are lucky to not only receive guidance from mastermind coaches like Longo and Serra, but also gain regular experience working with top active fighters such as Sterling and Merab Dvalishvili.

“I love the camaraderie. I think it’s great that for the rest of their lives these guys get to be a part of something, learn to help other people, and not be selfish,” Longo said.  

Dennis Buzukja punches Kaleio Romero in a featherweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series Season 6 Week 1 at UFC APEX on July 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Dennis Buzukja punches Kaleio Romero in a featherweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series Season 6 Week 1 at UFC APEX on July 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I think it’s almost like the more you give, the more you get. You don’t want to live in a world of just takers. I’m really proud about that, maybe prouder than you would think I am,” he added.

The benefit of training on such a storied team has perks beyond the in-cage skillset, as well. When it comes to career development, outside the cage ventures, and anything else, there’s always another fighter for up-and-comers to seek guidance from.

“That’s what I love about the gym; you can always go back in history and find guys that were in similar spots and work off that,” Longo said.

RELATED: UFC Bantamweight Rankings

From training legends like Serra, who’s now a Hall of Famer, to prospects like Buzukja, Longo’s passion hasn’t waned one bit. To those who know Ray, that statement isn’t the least bit surprising, but to him, the lasting passion is something he’ll never take for granted.

“I’m actually really grateful that I still give a s—t,” He laughed. “I actually still care about everything. I still care about school, about martial arts, about fighting. I think that’s my blessing. It never got stale to me.”

If you’re worried about Longo getting burned out, don’t be. He’s as busy and passionate as ever. And at Cage Fury 120, he’ll be looking to help put yet another fighter into the UFC.