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September 1 / News

Looking After Oneself

It’s kind of crazy to think that if circumstances were different, I would be in Germany right now, making final preparations before UFC Hamburg. But, this is the way things are now – and I’m doing well, my back is on the mend and all I can do is prep for UFC 204!

I would like to take a moment to say a huge thanks to Neil Patel back home in London and Brett White out here in Florida who are my back doctors! They’re the guys who have been taking care of me, to make sure that I don’t do even more damage and that my recovery stays on track. I’ve been working with Neil for years now – I don’t know where I’d be without him!

It’s increasingly important for fighters to take good care of themselves – it’s the only way to have a long career. Not only do we need to fight smart, but we need to train smart too.  Especially at my age…

Recovery is as important as the training itself and given that the nature of the job means getting beat up on a daily basis, it’s essential to take care of our bodies!

I’ve never really focussed a lot on supplements, and aside from protein and multi vitamins which I take all year round – I often let that side of things slide. However, I focus on getting them right when I’m in camp. I can tell the difference – prep means I can get a better work out in, and the right combination of supplements helps me to recover quicker.

For those who are interested: I take a multivitamin and fish oil in the morning, BCAA, Protein and Creatine when I’m training – usually once or twice a day  – and at night time I take ZMA and Casein. All of my supplements come courtesy of Sports Nutrition UK, who I highly recommend! But it’s definitely worth checking out what will suit you and your training needs best before taking the plunge with supplements!

On top of all that… I also take ice baths here at ATT, and try to have massages as often as possible. They sort me right out! I also can’t recommend yoga enough – every Sunday I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga! It stretches me out and gets me back on track!

This weekend I’m off to the desert! I’m going to Burning Man Festival with a couple of friends. You’ll have to stay tuned next week to see what outfits I whip up, but trust me they’ll be worth the wait!! Hopefully I’ll find time to watch the fights – but I don’t know how good the internet connection is in the desert!!

I’m going to back Barnett in the main event. He’s very durable and can take some serious punishment which is pretty essential at that weight class. I think he’ll get him against the cage and then score a TKO victory, or possibly a submission. Latifi has been training here at ATT; I think he’s a bit of a slow bloomer! Winning against Bader will take him up a tier which would be great for him. He’s been doing well in his camp and looks great. It could be a close fight, but I’ll be cheering on Latifi for this one!

Finally – i’m looking forward to seeing Jim Wallhead make his UFC debut. We both started out at around the same time – he’s paid his dues! He’s got a great record and fought some of the best there are outside of the UFC (including ex-UFC-ers!). He’s a veteran like me and I’m looking forward to supporting him on Saturday night!

It still smarts that I can’t be there in Hamburg, but lots of my friends and family will be there watching the fights. I’ll make it up to everybody in Manchester!

August 26 / News

The Florida Fam

Sarah and Buddy went home this past weekend, so I started the week off a bit down. During my last camp, I was really buoyed by their visit – I had two weeks left and I went hell for leather with the training. This time, I have five weeks stretching in front of me without seeing my beautiful wife and boy. I know I’m in the right place, doing the right thing, but it’s hard to be away from Buddy when he’s growing so fast. Even while he was out here recently he really got the hang of hi-fives and waving; he learns so quickly.

But I’m out here with my Florida family who are taking good care of me, and I’m sure the time will fly by. I’ve spoken before about how important my coaches and team are to me but as far as I’m concerned they can’t get enough credit, so you’ll have to indulge me a little bit. Biggest credit goes to Mike Brown and his family for letting me stay at their house every fight camp. When I arrive back here each time, it’s like I’ve never been away – my room is the same, the dogs are the same and I just settle in and get down to business. It’s not like being a guest at somebody else’s house where you’re too uptight to relax – if there’s a rule about not putting your feet up on the sofa, I definitely ignore it here!

Of course Brownie is invaluable in the gym too. We’ve been doing a lot of work preparing for fighting a southpaw. Believe it or not, I’ve never prepped this way before. I’ve only fought one southpaw before – Vaughan Lee – and I didn’t know it until afterwards!! It’s actually been great as I’ve added a load of new knowledge to my arsenal and I’m solving that southpaw puzzle! Continuing that work is Dr Paulie Gloves – he’s not even a full time coach, but he really should be. We have a great relationship and really bounce off each other, but his interpersonal skills are what sets him apart a bit. He has a degree in behavioural science – and it shows. He’s an amazing asset! He’s been doing a lot of work with other guys at the gym too, including Jamie Alvarez and Matt Schnell who you can check out on the latest TUF series.

My third cornerman is Mickey Papas, but he’s back home in London. Of course that makes it harder for him to be involved on a day to day level but I send him footage of my sparring and he always provides invaluable feedback. He also does a lot of tape study of my opponents and gives me great tips and info based on that. He might not be physically by my side but he’s definitely part of the team.

I can’t forget Conan Silveira – he’s like a father figure to me. He’s always in my corner, even if it’s not literally on the night. I feel very comfortable with him, and sometimes just want to give him a big cuddle!

Dan Lambert one of the ATT owners is taking us all out for a posh steak dinner at the weekend; he did this before when Robbie Lawler won his title. This time around we’re celebrating Amanda Nunes’ recent victory at Chima’s in Ft Lauderdale. This is great for me as my fight is five weeks away and as I no longer fight at 125 I don’t have to be as careful with food, so I think I’ll have a great time!!

August 19 / News

The Cat’s Out Of The Bag!

Well, the cat is definitely out of the bag now on my new fight date! As announced on Monday, I’ll now be fighting at UFC 204 in Manchester on October 8. Or rather October 9! I’ll be fighting in the early hours of Sunday morning which will be a new experience for me. It maybe wouldn’t be so bad if I were flying back the week of the fight, but I’m coming home a bit earlier so I don’t miss Buddy’s birthday. I think my body clock will be back on UK time by then. I guess I’ll just have to try and sleep in late in the run up to the fight – not easy with a small child in the house – and see how I get on!

Excited to have a new date to train for though, and the card is shaping up nicely! A few people have messaged me about dropping off the Hamburg card – I feel so bad about it, but my injury has set me back a few weeks in camp and I just wouldn’t have been ready in time.  On the whole, fans have been understanding, and hopefully I’ll see a lot of you in Manchester too!

Let’s be honest, people are thinking about 202 this week! We’ve gotta get through this weekend before we get too far ahead of ourselves! It’s going to be explosive if the press conference was anything to go by! I know a lot of people are talking about whether Diaz and McGregor’s blow up was staged – no way, in my opinion! Nate is a loose cannon so I’m not surprised he walked out.

It’s worlds away from the way I am during fight week. They are on a whole other level of chaos and media scrutiny, I just can’t even imagine it! I guess they’re pretty used to it now but it must take a toll on them. What I think is quite interesting about this match up is that both of them make a point of trying to get into their opponent’s head before a fight – but I’m not sure either of them have truly managed it this time (probably hence the tension and the blow up!). Neither seem to be winning the mental battle this time around so we’ll have to stay tuned for what happens next.

I’m tempted to say that Conor takes this one – but by decision. They’ll have both prepared for each other, and for Conor that means pacing himself to go the distance if necessary. He can be a very technical fighter so if he sticks it out he could take it on points. However, I do think Nate’s reach advantage will be giving him some trouble throughout.

Elsewhere on the card, I’m looking forward to Cody Garbrandt vs. Takuya Mizugaki and Colby Covington vs. Max Griffin. Colby is a team mate at ATT and I always support my ATT family! Sabah Homasi is making his UFC debut this weekend too. He’s really one to watch out for, if you missed him on TUF. He’s been on a tear outside of the UFC recently, and is stepping up at the last minute to fight Tim Means. He’s going to do great but it’s still a big deal to make your UFC debut on the main card!  I’ll be watching with some of the ATT guys at Duffy’s, a local sports bar!

August 15 / News, UFC

All Change

If you’ve been following my fight camp blog over on The Sun UFC, you’ll have seen that I sustained an injury a couple of weeks ago. It’s an old injury that has resurfaced, but I’ve been taking anti-inflamatories and have amended my training to work around it. It’s under control, but just really bad timing.

As a result, I’ll now be fighting at UFC 204 in Manchester. I feel so bad for all the One Punch Army guys and girls who bought tickets to support me in Hamburg. I know you’ll all still have a great time out there as it’s still an amazing card –  I am personally really happy for Jimmy Wallhead getting his shot in the Octagon. I never take for granted the support of my fans, so this doesn’t feel good to let people down. I know following your favourite sports can be an expensive business but to those who can make it to Manchester – I promise I’ll put on a show!

Stay tuned to my fight blog (linked above), and follow the rest of my fight camp on Instagram and Twitter, or find me on Snapchat – One_PunchMMA

Thank you – as ever – for all the support and for sticking with me.

-ONE PUNCH

June 21 / News, UFC

Back at it!

As you likely will have seen already – my next fight is now confirmed! I’ll be taking on Enrique Briones at UFC Rotterdam! But before I get to that, I’ll recap on the last few months – I’ve not really been keeping up with the blogging!

My business partner/coach/friend Mickey and I held our second MMA event in April. ROC 2 was another great night of professional and amateur action and actually, it went even better than the first one! We’ve already started work on ROC 3 which will take place on October 15. If you’re around London, then head to the City Pavilion in Romford! We’re really trying to build the brand up and support up and coming athletes. We got quite a bit of attention in April as we had Josh Herdman making his MMA debut – it was a great fight, but everybody else seemed more interested in his former life alongside Harry Potter!!

I’ve actually just got back from Saigon. Myself and a few of the guys from the gym in London headed out there to check out a fantastic training facility – Saigon Sports Club. Chris Luu and Jimmy Johnstone invited us out and it was amazing. I wasn’t quite into training camp territory, which mean it was part work/ part holiday.

 

I still trained twice a day, but had time to check out some museums and culture too. This history of Vietnam is fascinating, and it’s crazy to think about the impact that it still has on the people there today. In amongst the education, I had some ridiculous massages where I was bent into a pretzel, and found a bit of time for some vodka Red Bulls and pulling some shapes on the dance floor.  I tried to stay awake for the first England game of the Euros, but the vodka got the better of me. I don’t really remember much of the game…

Anyway, the handwork starts here! Kind of… I mean, I’m taking Sarah and Buddy to Turkey this week, and THEN the hard work starts. I’ll be heading out to ATT in Florida again for my training camp. Same coaches, same team, same winning formula! Briones and I were scheduled to fight at UFC London back in February, but it wasn’t to be! I know that anything can happen between now and September though, so I won’t be training specifically for him. I really hope it happens though, as I think it will be a great fight!  I’ll be sure to keep you all updated throughout my fight camp so stay tuned!

-ONE PUNCH

March 9 / News, UFC

Post-fight Blog!

There’s such a big build up to a fight that once it’s all over, it’s hard to adapt to normal life. You go through a fight camp of ten weeks or so, and often way before that, before it’s announced you’ll know about the fight. And it’s all over in fifteen minutes.

Some people want to go straight back in and go to the gym and start training again. I didn’t sustain any injuries so I could go back and train this week, but I’m allowing myself the week off, and next week I’ll head back to the gym – for both light training and some coaching. But for this week I’m going to focus on match making for my own event (Rise of Champions), and spending some quality family time with Sarah and Buddy.

Everybody could see what an emotional night it was for me. I put so much pressure on myself in the run up to the fight. Like I said, I was truly fighting for my job; going into this fight with three recent losses was a big deal for me, and I had a lot of demons to contend with. Should I be retiring, was I too old? I’ve said it before and I stick to it, that when the UFC no longer want me, then I’m done. But whilst I can still fight and still win, I want to keep fighting. It’s my dream job, and I’m not ready to quit.

There’s been a lot of chat about the result – and I admit it was a close one. I lost the first and won the third, in my opinion, and it all came down to that second round. It could have gone either way, and I’ve been on the other end of a close decision so I know how Francisco feels. To say it was a robbery is a step too far, but I am so happy that it went my way as it could easily not have done. I’m not a religious man, but I admit that when we were waiting for the results, I was looking up and I spoke to my mum and dad. It was a close call.

I was actually happier with my performance in my previous fight against Thomas Almeida – I looked good, fought good, but got caught. In this fight I didn’t look as good, but I still got the W. Of course, I would rather look good and get the W…

I was really sorry to hear that Francisco is having a difficult time now he’s at home. As he returned home he found out that his best friend’s father had passed away and he’s been trying to help raise some money for funeral expenses. If you can help, with even just a few quid, click HERE to donate. A lot of people think that opponents have to be enemies, but it wasn’t like that for us. We were cutting weight in the sauna together, chatting about our lives and families. He’s a good guy and is trying to do something good for his friend – so I think all help will be appreciated.

All week in the run up to the fight, I had been eying up the cooked breakfast at the hotel, unable to have it. So, on Sunday morning, I got up and had myself a good old English fry up and then I drove home to spend the day with my family. A lot rides on this sport – including my mood!

I genuinely meant it when I said I was prepared to end my fighting career on Saturday if that’s the way the chips fell, but I feel re-energised and the pressure has lifted considerably. I was hyped up to keep fighting immediately after the event, but perhaps UFC Rotterdam is a bit soon to fit in another full fight camp and get back out to America, so I hope to be back in the Octagon by the end of June or thereabouts. For those who think I’m done, I suggest you check out a film called The Cinderella Man – it’s based on a true story…

Before I wrap this up, I just want to say thank you to my fans all around the world, but in particular the fans here in the UK. I do this for them too – I enjoy earning their respect, as well as that of my peers. I’m a very proud person, and their continued love and support means so much.

I also want to thank Funky Gums, Positiv Energy Drinks, Sports Nutrition UK, Venum, Scramble, G-Form, American Top Team (especially Paulie Gloves and Mike Brown), Team Titan and Athletic Edge. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for all my news!

January 1 / News

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year to all One Punch fans! Thanks so much for your support through 2015 – it means the world!

Looking back over my 2015, there were some definite ups and downs, I guess the same as there is for everybody.

I only fought once which was a downside – especially as I lost! But as I’ve said before, I have nothing but respect for Thomas Almeida, and I’m going to enjoy watching his career continue to progress.

On the upside, we welcomed Buddy James Pickett into the world in September! My wife and I have spent the last couple of months getting to know him and he is predictably awesome.

Setting up ROC was also a high point – it was a great new challenge for me and Mickey to get that show off the ground, and the feedback had us buzzing for weeks. ROC 2 will be happening on April 23rd, so get it in your diaries now!  It’s early days for Pioneer Sports Press, but the work we’ve already started with developing up and coming athletes has been hugely rewarding. Check my previous post for details on that if you missed it.

Oh, and Star Wars. When I look back on 2015, I’m going to think of Star Wars…

In 2016 I’m obviously looking forward to fighting at the O2 in February. I’ll be heading off to ATT in a week or so, and I’ll be returning to London in February ready to put on a show. Thanks to all you guys who bought tickets to come along and support me. Wear your One Punch shirts on the night, so I’ll be sure to spot the One Punch Army out in force!  I’m looking forward to developing ROC and Pioneer Sports Press – I’ve a feeling they’re both going to go from strength to strength over the next year.

Before I get stuck into all that though, we have UFC 195 this weekend. Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit is going to be an amazing fight – it’s evenly matched, two great fighters, both very capable. But Lawler has a way of digging very deep and pulling it out of the bag when he needs to. I think he’ll confidently be walking away with the W.  Michael McDonald makes his return at 195 too – a former opponent of mine, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s looking these days and how the time away from the Octagon has changed his game.

We’ve been waiting for Poirier vs. Duffy for a while now – and finally we’ll get it this weekend! I think the sheer magnitude of the Irish support for McGregor got to Poirier previously, but this time he’ll have steeled himself against that kind of force from Duffy’s fans. I don’t want to call this fight either way – not only am I a fan of watching both guys fight, but I’m fond of them as people too, having trained with both in the past. It will be a good fight, whatever goes down, but I can’t call this one. Let me know on Twitter, which way you think it will go though.

It’s a solid card to kick the year off with, that’s for sure. And while I do my best to work out what day of the week it is as I come out of this festive fog, I’m already looking forward to everything 2016 has in store. Thanks for coming along on the ride – stay tuned for more!

-ONE PUNCH.

December 18 / News

New Business

I wrote a little bit a while ago about Rise of Champions – a new promotions company I started this year with my coach and good friend, Mickey Papas. We were very clear when starting out that we want to consistently feature up and coming talent – the majority of the fights on our cards would be amateur.

Our first event, back in October, was a great success – we had over 900 in the venue watching a night of first class action, and hundreds more tuned in from around the world to our live stream. Not bad for our first go! Our second event is scheduled for April 23, 2016 – but I’ve got the little matter of a fight of my own to take care of first, so we’ll not be making many announcements for a while.

Anyway, I’ve started yet another venture – it’s as if training every day and having a new born son weren’t enough to keep me busy! – which actually ties in really well with what we’ve been doing at ROC. I’ve co-founded a PR company that focuses on MMA.

I’ve said it before but when I started out in MMA it wasn’t really an available  career choice. People didn’t grow up thinking they could make a living out of doing this! All that has changed in the last few years though – MMA has grown and grown and I’ve been privileged to be a part of that.

Twitter didn’t exist back then, Facebook wasn’t around and the media was a very small group of people. Everything has changed now – and I’m doing my best to keep up with the Vines, the Periscopes and Robert Whiteford continually texting me videos of himself in the bath.

I’ve teamed up with Becky Laverty, who helped us out a lot with the publicity for ROC, to set up Pioneer Sports Press. She’s been working for years in the music industry, coordinating press and publicity for international record labels, artists and festivals. We’re using our combined experiences and knowledge to work with hand picked group of athletes, and we’ll grow outwards from there.

We’re working with Bill Beaumont – who is on a huge winning streak and next scheduled to appear at UCMMA in February. Nathaniel Wood is under our watchful eye – and should be very much on your radar as he’ll be fighting for a title at BAMMA next year. At BCMMA at the beginning of this month, both Corrin Eaton and Luis Gonzales took home the W in impressive style. It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding training alongside these guys – I have a huge amount of confidence in their abilities.

In this day and age, being a skilled sportsperson isn’t always enough. We want to equip our roster of athletes with the knowledge, confidence and experience to publicise themselves. Not everybody is born with the gift of the gab like our pal, Conor – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t got something to say worth hearing.

Although we come from very different backgrounds, both Becky and myself really believe in being part of a positive change in terms of the way MMA athletes are perceived – both in our own little bubble and outside. You’re reading this – so you (hopefully!) already know we’re not all as bad as some mainstream media would have you believe!

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now – if you’d like to know more, have a look at ourwebsite and follow our Twitter. You can find info on us all there, and if you’d like to speak to any of us, drop Becky an email – same goes if you’d like to discuss working together in any other way. We’re always open to ideas.

In other news my money’s on dos Anjos for the main event this weekend. I think he’ll grind out a decision win – like he did against Pettis. Dos Santos will knock out Overeem… I think. After predicting Aldo vs. McGregor the wrong way, I’ve proven that I don’t always know what I’m talking about! It will be good to see Cole Miller back in action too!

Have a great weekend!

-ONE PUNCH

December 14 / News, UFC

#UFCLondon – Let’s do this!

Hey guys,

I’m really happy to finally be able to announce that I will officially be on the UFC London card in February.

I’ve said all along – there can’t be an event in my backyard without me on the card! My last London fight was against Neil Seery, when I was fighting at flyweight. I’ll be a bantamweight for this one, taking on Enrique Briones – he’s an aggressive fighter, predominantly a boxer, which suits me just fine! We both fought on the same event this summer, although not against each other- and we both lost!! I’m not dwelling on that, but I am determined to get the W this time around.

No doubt he feels the same… but I’ve got the support of my home crowd. I loved the support last time around at the O2- and I expect the same this time! There’s just something special about fighting on home turf – I always like to put on a good show, but even more so when my friends and family are there to watch. I’ve got some really loyal supporters, and I hope you’ve all got your tickets ready to show some One Punch love!  Also, never mind all these cockney accents – I’m the only true Londoner on the card!

I’ll be heading out to ATT in January for a six week fight camp. I already started prepping for this fight, as I’ve known about it a while – it’s just taken a few weeks to get everything finalised behind the scenes. Some of the guys from Titan Fighter that I’ve been training with are actually coming out to Florida with me in the new year. Bola, Corrin, Luis, Nathaniel, and Ashley will all be heading out with me – keep an eye on these guys, so when they hit the big time, you can say you saw ‘em first.

I’ll be blogging when I’m out in Florida – so you can’t escape me. Only I might be doing it from the beach, rather than grey old London.

 

I’m still processing this weekend’s fights, UFC 194 in particular. Wow! The only guy that would have predicted the headline fight playing out exactly that way is McGregor himself.  Like a few people, I feel cheated – I stayed up til 6am, and barely saw a fight! I would have loved to see those two go at it for a bit longer, if I’m honest.
I’ve always liked McGregor, but I’ve had a few doubts before that he couldn’t or wouldn’t do everything he predicted, but I don’t think I’ll be doubting him again!  I’m intrigued to see what happens next. Frankie Edgar should be next in line for a title shot, but he may have to wait a while if Conor decides to go up a division. I’m pretty sure the UFC will let him go where he wants, so we’ll see how it plays out.

I’ll not go on too much longer here but I was very impressed by Luke Rockhold. He did the job, but it wasn’t a one sided fight – a great watch. Paige Van Zant got somewhat found out last week, Namajunas was just by far the more technical fighter.  The problem is, when you’re outclassed, heart and guts gets you more of a beating. She needs to get her skill level up – but she knows that already.

All in all, a great batch of fights – some real history was made this weekend.

Follow me on Twitter, and catch you soon

-ONE PUNCH

December 10 / News, UFC

The biggest UFC fight ever?

Let me start off this blog by saying that if you’re not tuning into any of the events this week, then I’m pretty sure you’re not really an MMA fan! There’s something for everybody here!

So let’s start at the beginning…
UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs. VanZant
This is a great card to start the trio of events off with – it puts a lot of emphasis on young and/or up and coming athletes. At the centre of all the hype is Paige Van Zant and Sage Northcutt (AKA Guile from Street Fighter) – but the hype is so far justified.  There’s some real substance there, which is helped by their natural athleticism; you kind of get the impression that they could have taken up any sport and excelled at it. Luckily for us, they chose MMA. The UFC is obviously pushing them forward to represent the sport, which isn’t really a bad thing – good looking clean cut athletes who can deliver in the Octagon.
Elsewhere on the card, I’m looking forward to seeing what Nathan Coy brings to the table. He’s been at American Top Team (where I train) for a long time – he’s something of a team captain there, and I’m really happy to see him get this opportunity in the UFC. He’ll be taking on Danny Roberts – a young prospect from the UK – meaning this is another ATT vs Blackzilians match up.
Aljamain Sterling is also on this card – a guy with great striking and an unbeaten record.  Yet more young talent to kick the week off with.
The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale
It’s crazy how the headline fight here is totally overshadowed by what’s going to follow the next day. But it’s going to be a great fight – and Mendes and Edgar are fighting for the next title shot here, so it’s a key fight for them both. Of the top four guys in the featherweight division, only Edgar and McGregor are yet to face each other. My money’s on Edgar for this one.
Edson Barboza is a great athlete to watch – an exciting and creative striker. Tony Ferguson could take this one though, if he can get him down to the mat. Mind you, as exciting as Barboza is, his chin has been a bit exposed and now his opponents are less afraid to stand and fight with him – it could be worth it to risk it and go big.
The TUF finale should be a good one. I know who’s in the final (so will you probably by the time I publish this!) and it should be a good watch.  Overall, I’m really pleased to see the Europeans do so well in this season – I think the game has been raised! They’ve often outshone the American guys, and even out wrestled them at times, which is still sometimes a pleasant surprise!
UFC 194
Let’s work our way up to the top on this one…
Colby Covington seems like a good place to start. He’s an absolute stud! He’s always been a beast, but I think he’s going to really be on form for this one. He absolutely – and rightly – believes in his own abilities, and i’m excited to watch him maintain his winning record.
I don’t recall ever seeing Uriah Faber fight this low down on a card before! Frankie Saenz is a high level wrestler, but I think Faber has all the necessary tools to take this one via submission.
Max Holloway is very rangey with his striking; he knows what he’s doing. Jeremy Stephens is a very aggressive fighter – very exciting to watch. He was on the same card as be back at UFC 189 – I think he’s going to make this one an explosive one to watch.
Damian Maia and Gunnar Nelson are two athletes who both have astounding ground game.  If neither are willing or able to take it to the ground, we could end up with a boxing match. Hopefully that won’t be the case here, because we could be treated to some world class grappling, which is infinitely more preferable than an average boxing match.
I know I said Covington was a stud, but Yoel Romero is one heck of a specimen of a human being. If a lab were trying to create the recipe for the perfect athlete, I’d suggest they just clone Romero and be done with it! This is going to be a crazy good fight. Since his loss to Luke Rockhold in 2011, Jacare has been finishing guys at the highest level – he seems to be unstoppable! Romero also lost on that same Strikeforce card, but has been on a win streak since. Both guys have the ability to finish this, but I’ve a feeling it will go the distance.
It’s hard to find a good reason not to back an unbeaten champ, but my gut is going with Rockhold over Weidman.  Both are aggressive fighters who like to dominate the centre of the Octagon, but I think Rockhold will let Weidman do it, will wait for him to strike first, and then will dive right in. If it goes to the mat then I think Weidman will take it, purely because I’m not confident how well Rockhold will cope on his back – we’ve not seen much from him in that position. But if they stay standing, the key for both is striking – Rockhold just has the bigger arsenal.
As I said in my last blog, it’s insane that Aldo is going into this fight as the underdog – he’s one of the most dominant champs that this sport has ever seen! McGregor showed us a chink in his armour, and if Aldo is going to exploit that, then I think we can expect to see him take Conor to the ground pretty quickly and make him struggle the same way that Mendes did.  But I think Aldo is also more than capable of standing with him – he’s just so versatile in all areas. It’s been over a year since Aldo fought, and in that year McGregor’s star his gone up and up – but to forget what the champ is capable of would be an error.
McGregor has done so much for this sport – as has Ronda Rousey – in terms of exposing MMA to a wider audience. He does things on his terms, but he does them well – his personality is his big selling point, whether you love him or loathe him, it sells. As an athlete, he’s also made me question my own training, in fact I think he’s got a lot of people questioning the whole game – he comes at it all from such a unique angle. His creativity is not just confined to his shit-talking, he is also potentially pioneering in the way people will train in MMA going forwards – and that’s huge.
Aldo vs. McGregor is the biggest event in MMA history – no question. It leaves Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell in the shade! I’m going to put up my Christmas tree now, and settle down for three days of awesome MMA.
Tweet me and let me know if you think I’m wrong on any of the above (I’m not!).
-ONE PUNCH
November 26 / News

Returning to Blogging!

Hi guys,
It’s been a long time since I blogged, and also a long time since my website was updated. The first one – I’m fixing right now with this post, the second will take a while longer for the overhaul to be complete. Bear with me, it’s a work in progress.

I thought it was about time to start blogging again because there have been quite a lot of changes in my life recently that I want to share with you. Firstly, I recently became a dad! My wonderful wife, Sarah, and I welcomed little Buddy James into our lives at the end of September, and he’s a game changer!

And because I don’t like to make things easy for myself, I decided that three weeks after the birth of my first-born would be a good time to put on my first MMA show!  I partnered up with Mickey Papas – the head coach at Team Titan, and one of my best friends – and we created Rise of Champions.  Our first event took place on October 17 in Romford and I am so proud of what we achieved.

One of the main aims of Rise of Champions is to showcase up and coming amateur talent – and they didn’t let us down! Matchmaking was much harder than I thought it would be, so I’ve now got another level of respect for the guys that do this all the time. Injuries and pull outs were a nightmare, but in the end we had a card that was genuinely great. I’ll write more about it in another post some time, but for now I just want to  give a bit of a shout out to all the guys that fought, the team working with Mickey and I, the officials and everyone else that helped it run without a hitch.

Anyway, back in the real world… I’ve got my eye firmly on that UFC London card in February. It’s been cool to work on other things, but I’m still a fighter – I still think like a fighter, train like a fighter, and I am ready for my next challenge in the Octagon. Hopefully by the time I have something to announce regarding that, the website will be up to date, and I can give you all the info on my next fight. Whoever it’s with – I’m ready.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates! I promise I won’t leave it so long next time.

If you don’t already, then follow me on Twitter @One_Punch and check out Rise of Champions at @theRoCevents

 

-ONE PUNCH

November 26 / News, UFC

The return of Jon Jones & more…

I guess I called that Rousey/Holm fight the wrong way then… but I know I’m not alone in that, so don’t abandon my predictions just yet!
It really is true that the mark of a real champion is how they come back from a defeat, and I have every confidence that once Ronda has had some time to herself, she’ll be back in a big way.
Speaking of which, Ariel Helwani’s interview with Jon Jones has got me pretty fired up for his return. People usually have to lose a fight to lose a belt, but Jon has always done things differently I guess!  He’s looking amazing right now – he’s always been a big guy with a big frame, but he’d not quite filled out that frame before now. I’ve referred to Rousey as previously being a wolf among sheep, but Jones is a lion among all of them – he’s way above everyone else! I’d like to see him come back, take back “his” belt, and then move up to heavyweight.
It’s not easy to be a role model at any level – but that pressure is more than I can even imagine when you’re at the level of Jones (or indeed, Rousey). Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes, but when you’re doing it with a spotlight on you everything is magnified and you’re eventually going to be forced to confront your mistakes head on.  Jones must have felt under pressure to essentially not be himself, but rather the person – the champion – people wanted him to be, to the point that he wanted to walk away.  I’m glad he didn’t; he took the time he needed, and has now fallen back in love with the sport, which is genuinely music to my ears. I couldn’t be happier at the prospect of his return.
I know we’re still a couple of weeks away from Aldo vs. McGregor but I – along with everyone else – can’t wait! A lot can happen in two weeks though, which seems to be acknowledged by the fact that Frankie Edgar is waiting in the wings should disaster strike.  I have full belief that it will happen this time, and that it will be explosive.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Conor, but it’s absolutely INSANE that one of the most dominant champions this sport has ever seen is going into this fight as an underdog. It’s testament to the power of the hype around McGregor, but on top of the hype he has a massive self belief – and he backs it up. He keeps winning, and he keeps winning people over. His fans truly believe in him, and believe he can win this fight – as long as Aldo doesn’t start to believe him too, I think the Brazilian will come away triumphant.
Before that though, we have an event this weekend, UFC Fight Night in Seoul, headlined by Benson Henderson vs Jorge Masvidal.  Jorge is a good friend, and I love his style.  Henderson always does well against strikers, so I am a bit worried for Masvidal, but he does have an awesome takedown defence – we just don’t get to see it all that often. Hopefully he gets a chance to show that off this weekend. As for the rest of the card, let’s be honest, the fans are the winners when it comes to Tae Hyun Bang vs. Leo Kuntz.
Sorry, it was too easy.
Until next time, take it easy!
-ONE PUNCH
November 10 / News

Wimp 2 Warrior and more.

As promised, I’m doing my best to keep up with this blog, but things have been busy lately!

I’ve been working with the Wimp 2 Warrior guys on their first foray into the UK. The general idea is to to work with people who have little to no MMA training experience and put them through an intense six months of training boot camps so they come out the other end as warriors!

We had the first try outs a couple of weeks ago, with another session of try outs coming up at the beginning of December. They labelled it as “the ultimate human experiment”, and it’s actually pretty fascinating to meet the kind of people that sign up for this. For a start, there isn’t a distinct “type”, at least not physically!

I train all the time with people who have an extremely high level of athletic ability, but for Wimp 2 Warrior I’m training some people who have barely any! What they do have though is a mindset to succeed, which is an incredibly powerful thing. When it’s coupled with genuinely excellent athletic ability, more often than not you have a world champion on your hands. But even on its own, it’s an amazing thing to witness. I’ve been so impressed with the people who have tried out so far – not despite the sweating, vomiting, cramps, swearing and everything else, but because of it.

Me with fellow W2W coach Lee Aylett.

This coming weekend I’ll be cornering at BAMMA. We’ve got a couple of the guys from Team Titan on the card in Birmingham. Bill Beaumont is looking to maintain his perfect record, and I have every confidence in him.  Nathaniel Wood’s only losses in his professional career have been at BAMMA, but I think the third time’s a charm! Good luck lads. We might even make it home in time for UFC 193 if we’re lucky.

I have to say I was really impressed with Thomas Almeida this weekend! His striking was great, he looked really composed and in control. You could almost see it when he smelled blood and off he went. I’m a big fan of his fighting style – he doesn’t play it safe at all.  I think some people expect me to hold a grudge, but it’s not like that at all. Yes, he beat me, but I’m happy to see him go on and keep winning. I’d like to see him taking on someone inside the top ten for his next fight. I’ve a feeling this guy could go all the way.

That’s all from me for now, but more soon.

-ONE PUNCH

January 30 / News

Training update. A can do attitude

HI guys
There has been loads happening over the last couple of weeks and it has all been pretty full on.  As soon as I landed in Florida it has been straight down to business.
I am feeling really good, as my overall level of fitness is much higher now when I come out here to train.  So rather than spending the first couple of weeks getting in shape, I now kick off my fight camp in great condition.

Obviously I am fighting at a lighter weight class, so my diet has been much better in the UK as I wanted to start my fight camp at a much lighter weight, especially now I am dropping to Flyweight.  My strict diet still continues while I’m in the USA, so this has been a slight change as before I could have a good diet but still allow myself a few treats.  Now the treats are less, however my management have got me a couple of new great sponsors to provide me with some great protein and natural energy.  PRIMAL FEAST now provides all my meat/protein and the quality is incredible.  POSITIV also provide me with a new natural energy drink, which has no artificial ingredients, so I definitely feel that I am being as good to my body as I can.
I have been training twice a day during the week and there has been a big focus on explosiveness and fighting shorter quicker guys.  At the weekends I train once on the Saturday and then on the Sunday I just go for a 7 mile run.  So I feel like I have a very good balanced camp.  Good hard sessions and the important rest periods to enable my body to fully recover.
I am really happy with the sparring.  The sparring has been going really well and I have a great team to spar with.  I have done quite a few rounds with Scoggins and his younger brother. Linekar has also just started his camp, so he is a great addition to the team.  He is really tough, so I am looking forward to doing some rounds with him.
There haven’t been any major highlights.  I am actually just really happy with all areas.  I still feel like I am still learning and still improving, so that is a great feeling to have.
Obviously this is like my second home now so I have some great friends in and outside of the gym.  So it’s been great to get a bit of tenpin bowling in with the team and to beat everyone at FIFA 14 🙂 And then when I’m not playing FIFA 14, I am continuing to build the ONE PUNCH ARMY on Clash of Clans.  This is a great way for me to wind down and take my mind off training whilst I am recovering.

I will be updating you again shortly, but thanks so much for the continued support.  I am really looking forward to March 8th and I’m confident it will be a fight to remember.
Lastly I would like to thank:
Matt from SPIKED Athlete Management and all my sponsors, including VENUM, ALIENWARE, GFORM,FORCA LUTA, POSITIV, PRIMAL FEAST, TRAINING MASK, FUNKY GUMS and my brand new racing car sponsor WIX RACING who I will be full introducing on my next blog.

Thanks
ONE PUNCH

December 18 / News

Looking back on 2013 and setting goals for 2014

Hi guys, I hope all of you are all prepared and looking forward to Christmas.

I can’t wait, as last year I didn’t have much of one as I was fighting over the New Year.
This is my first Christmas as a married man so I am really going to enjoy it with my new wife Sarah.  We’re just going to be doing normal family things which will be great and of course I’ll fit a bit of Clash of Clans in, where I can with the newly formed ‘One Punch Army’ 🙂

This year has been a good one and has also given me some food for thought.  The best thing about the year was getting married to my beautiful wife who has stood by me throughout my career.  She is a great person and friend and I couldn’t have done it without her.  We had a great wedding with great friends and family and a fantastic honeymoon.  We saw some great things and travelled to some amazing places and it was while I was away that I really thought about my plans for 2014.

I looked at all my achievements within the bantamweight division and I am really proud of what I have achieved, however I really felt that the flyweight division was the place I wanted to be.  It seemed like a whole new challenge and something new to inspire me and train for.  Obviously beating the current world champion previously on WEC 48 was also a huge motivator.   So that’s really where the new goal and plan started from.  I talked to my team and the main factor was that it was going to be safe for me, so when I came back from honeymoon, we reviewed my walk about weight and agreed that if I was to tighten up on my daily and weekly diet I could reduce my weight outside of camp and then potentially have the same weight cut that I currently do.  So that’s what we’ve worked to.

My S&C has changed as I need to focus more on strength and speed rather than size and I’ve got two great new sponsors who are really helping with my weight, including POSITIV energy who are a brand new natural energy drink with natural caffeine and natural herbs and PRIMAL FEAST who provide me with the best fat free meats you can get.     I have also been going down to Gym 01, and training with a load of guys my weight and I also get on well with Brian Adams (He’s got a great a great voice).

I now feel 100% motivated.  I feel that after this I can look back at my life and know that I have tried everything,

I’ve got my eye on that belt, but my main focus is having a great Christmas and then beating McCall on March 8th.  It’s a great match up stylistically and it’s going to be an exciting fight.  He’s a popular guy so he’ll be bringing a lot of fans and so will I.   I believe I am better than McCall in every area.  Not by much, but I’m definitely confident to mix it up in all areas.  So get ready for another barn burner.

So apart from confirming my plan for 2014, Christmas for me is all about family and friends and then I’m off to ATT on Jan 5th and that is the start of my fight camp.

I will be aiming to do a weekly blog to keep you updated and some behind the scenes footage, which you can get through my ONE PUNCH phone app.

Thanks for your support, have a great Christmas and if you do fancy a game of CLASH of CLANS, please join the ONE PUNCH ARMY.

April 11 / News

WIN MY SHORTS

It’s a great feeling to get back into winning ways and the cuts and bruises from a tough night in Sweden are starting to heal nicely. I’ve enjoyed a few days of relaxation and cookie eating which has given me some time to look back at the weekend and watch the fight again.

Mike Easton probably wouldn’t have been my first choice after coming off a loss, he’s a tough dude and very hungry. Then again, there are no easy fights in the UFC and that’s part of the reason I love it so much.

I did feel much more relaxed for this fight but that’s because I’ve been very busy over the last year or two with no real lay offs. Competition in the Octagon is starting to feel second nature to me and that really helps take the stress out of my preparation. It did worry me at one point as it made me question my motivation and hunger; however, the way I felt in the fight quickly dispersed any questions I may have had. Fighting is quite simply what I love to do, it’s the ultimate form of competition and I will compete at just about anything, even eating cookies.

I do think I made it a little harder and closer than it needed to be. I switched up my style a little and was probably focused on working that in. After watching the tape back I felt like I’d won all three-rounds but judges will be judges. The first two rounds were very close and different judges score things differently. I was very happy to get the win along with another FOTN bonus and would like to thank Mike Easton for being such a willing and aggressive opponent.

It was fantastic to fight in Sweden again. I absolutely love the Swedish fans! They’re a very knowledgeable and respectful crowd, always clapping good displays of skill and transitions, always mindful of how tough it is to be up there fighting. My Trilby hat comes off to them, very much appreciated.

My appreciation also to my growing fan base, I’m always very grateful for your messages before and after a fight. As a result I’ll be giving my signed fight shorts away to someone. It’s good to see so many of you showing your support by wearing the One Punch walkout T-shirt. Tweet me pictures (@One_Punch) of you guys wearing it and the most creative, random or funniest picture gets the shorts.

If you’ve seen the Fighter’s Only interview after the fight you may have seen me comment on the British media. It’s something that still perplexes me today and is a little bit of a touchy subject. In Nottingham and in Sweden I felt like they were completely disinterested. The fans all give me such a warm response, Dana White talks openly about me being a favourite fighter of his and then the media just seem to ignore me.

I’m up there as one of the top British fighters but I find it strange that I don’t seem to attract a lot of British press. The only question I was asked at the press conference was on the back of someone else’s question. I found it weird, it didn’t make sense to me.

What’s next for me? I made it clear that I want to fight again in August and I’d like someone ranked above me. There are plenty of good guys, McDonald, Bowles, Faber or even a rematch with Eddie Wineland. I’m not a fan of rematches, win or lose, as I like new challenges but it’s pretty tight at the top of my division so I can’t really be choosy. We’ll see what matchmaker Sean Shelby puts before me.

For now, it’s back to the gym. That’s what’s behind my constant improvement, it’s just hard work in the gym and it’s not a formula I intend on changing. As always thanks to you my fans and my sponsors Venum, Monkey Nutrition, Alienware, G-Form, Training Mask, Bayliss Ware and the people behind the scenes at American Top Team, Team Titan, Five Star Health and Fitness and Spiked Athlete Management. It’s great to have such an excellent team around me and receive such support.

All the best and don’t forget to send me your One Punch T-shirt images!

One Punch

January 22 / News

BRITS WILL BE BACK IN 2013

It was disappointing to see another fellow Brit lose at the weekend. Michael Bisping took on Vitor Belfort and ended up on the wrong end of a head kick. It’s always a danger with southpaws and Vitor landed it with great timing. I thought Bisping might have pushed the pace a bit earlier. He has great cardio and Vitor looked to be carrying a lot of muscle so I’m not sure how he would’ve faired if the pace was quicker.

Not great to have two UK guys pushing for a title lose but and I think both Mike and I will have things to think about after our defeats.

I’m not the sort of person to dwell on a defeat but it was good to watch my fight with Eddie Wineland back and see where things might’ve gone wrong. It was a very strange fight for me. Particularly as my last few fights have been good back and forth battles.

I expected Eddie to stand off a little bit as his style is definitely a counter strikers but I was still waiting for him to eventually come in and engage. It’s a hard situation to be in when you’re chasing a fight and I found it very frustrating. For that reason I must take my hat off to Eddie for a well-executed game plan. He did what he needed to do.

Someone asked me why I went chasing and didn’t just stand off myself. I’m simply not that kind of fighter. This sport is all about entertainment and two guys in the centre of an Octagon staring at each other is not entertaining. I also knew I’d lost that first round so I needed to make things happen.

Eddie also knew this, which is why his game plan worked so well. I did push for the take down but it’s very difficult to get one when you’re opponent is always moving backwards or to the side instead of at you. His movement was great but he never came forward, making a takedown almost impossible.

I still felt at the end of the fight that I’d done just enough but just enough is usually never enough in this sport and it wasn’t my kind of fight. My kind of fight is… a fight. It’s where two guys go toe to toe and try to finish each other. It’s what the fans want to see, it’s what Dana White wants to see. It’s the reason this sport is so entertaining.

That isn’t a swipe at counter strikers like Eddie Wineland. I think his style can be just as entertaining when it’s part of a fight and not the strategy for the whole fight. Like all styles of fighting they have their place in the UFC. The danger, however, is if the counter strikers won’t engage, and the guy they’re fighting sees the plan and doesn’t engage either, where does that leave everyone?

The answer I think lies in the judging. The system rewards a variety of things, amongst them, aggression. The guy who goes forward and pushes the fight. It seems, however, that judging instead focuses on strikes and takedowns. My worry is if we move to a situation like amateur boxing, where guys are outscoring instead of fighting and going for the finish.

This is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The judging has to reflect this. I’ve watched a fight on many occasions that’s appeared to be close on screen, but the stats on the striking will show one guy pushing the lead. By relying on strikes alone I don’t think you always get a true reflection of how the fight has gone down. That’s why the other elements are there to be scored.

Hats off to Eddie once again for a well executed game plan. He’s a very talented fighter and I don’t for one-minute want to tarnish his win. A win is a win and he implemented a game plan perfectly. It was a close fight and hopefully we’ll meet in the Octagon again one day.

No doubt I will bounce back and get things back on track. I’m already looking forward to my next match up. I’m back in the gym now after a relaxing holiday in South Africa. A great country and it was just what I needed after a busy year.

Being at one with nature helps to put perspective back into your life.

Thanks again to all those who support me.

Have a great 2013 everyone!

One Punch

December 28 / News

TIME TO FIGHT!

It always comes around so quickly. One minute the fight is announced and the next you’re in a sauna cutting weight and get ready to scrap.

It’s been an excellent fight camp and my confidence is high not just because of my recent performances. My work rate this year is taking my cardio and endurance levels to new heights and I always feel ready to push the pace. My coaching team has been fantastic as always both in the US and the UK. It’s a great feeling to have before a big fight like this one.

There has been some talk in the press about this being a fight for title contention and I certainly feel there’s some truth in that. Both Eddie and I are on form and I’m sure whoever wins will be staking a claim. Right now I’m focused on my performance on Saturday night. I’m not the sort of person to put unnecessary pressure on myself and feel the psychology part of my fight game has matured greatly over the last two years.

I love to fight. It excites me. I’ll go into the Octagon and think only about doing the best job I can. If that warrants me winning then great, if not, I was beaten by the better man on the night.

My weight cut has gone well again this week. A lot of people ask if it was a struggle over the Christmas period but weight cuts always require discipline whatever time of year it is. On Christmas day I was with Mike Brown and his girlfriend’s family, they’re Italian so there was plenty of lasagna and meatballs on the go. Fortunately, they are accustomed to having fighters in the house so I had a chicken breast and some veggies specially prepared for me.

The more times you do this the more natural it becomes. Discipline and focus on the task in hand are part of the job and necessary for success. I’d rather suffer now and know I’ve done everything I needed to do when I stare across the cage at my opponent.

I’ll hit a few workouts the day before and the day of the weigh ins and I’m ready to drop my final couple of pounds in the sauna. I always leave the last couple of pounds for the sauna. If you hit the sauna too early then it’s tough to find the energy for a workout to drop weight. After the weigh ins I’ll have my brown rice and chicken and start to rehydrate, usually I’ll put on 10-15 pounds in a few hours. Some fighters try to put on more but my body feels comfortable with this.

Being in Vegas again is always an enjoyable experience and I love the fight fans here. Unlike some of the smaller venues I’ve fought in recently, the MGM grand is huge so I’ve not seen my opponent over breakfast. I’ve been here a few times recently so it has a very familiar feel to it. It makes things a bit easier as I know where to eat, where to go. It’s a good place to get out and walk around and mingle with the fans. Even the day of my fight I like to get out and do a little workout to get my blood flowing. The worst thing I think you can do is stay cooped up in your hotel room, waiting for a fight like a death sentence and watching the hours drag out. That’s not me, I’m happy to be here, happy that this is my job.

As always my thanks go out to the great team I have around me along with sponsors Venom, G-Form, Monkey Nutrition and Alienware, thanks to all those who support me and follow my career. I hope I can continue to entertain you!

One Punch

December 20 / News

The Road to Vegas

What motivates me?. Is it to be the best?. No. That’s a given. What motivates me is that I hate losing. Here’s an insight into my world.

Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett from Tommy on Vimeo.

December 12 / News

READY FOR EDDIE

My preparation for Eddie Wineland is now starting to reach its peak. It’s been a very smooth camp so far with none of the little injuries that can sometimes hinder my training schedule. Physically I feel amazing and as always courtesy of Tim Benjamin at 5 Star Health and Fitness I came into camp in top condition.

Physically I’m starting to peak as an athlete but there’s more to fighting than being athletic. I’m under no illusions that a dangerous guy like Eddie Wineland could pull the plug on the winning streak I’m starting to put together.

Life at ATT is jam packed as usual. One of the things I love about the place is that it’s always busy and full of high-level guys. Dustin Poirer has been preparing for his fight and Sirwan Kakai has been a great sparring partner for me. I’m definitely an advocate of sparring hard in camp but it’s important that your partners are aware and don’t let things get out of hand. It’s a real bonus to have a great team around you helping you prepare to win.

I’m also lucky to be in a gym that has a lot of people at my weight class. I think it’s important to spar with your own or a similar weight class. Sounds obvious but I see a lot of injuries happening when a bigger guy throws too hard or lands awkwardly on a smaller guy.

The card this weekend in Seattle was a corker and I found it really entertaining from the prelims right up to the main event. Ben Henderson looked in exceptionally good shape and I was impressed by the level of his endurance. As I said in my last blog, there’s no gas tank in the cage if you run out and the Diaz brothers are no slouches when it comes to cardio.

To have that much energy in round five of a title fight when you’re a guy of his size and musculature is one of those things that takes the sport to the next level. He wasn’t just moving well but he was throwing hard and maintaining power for the whole fight.

It seems like every year the sport continues to evolve and grow with someone always bringing something new to the table. It’s going to be really interesting to follow Bendo’s career.

It’s always good to watch big events during camp and mentally I feel extremely excited about this fight. I think stylistically the fight favours me and I’m raring to go. Things are relaxed here in Florida and outside of my intense training sessions I have plenty of time to rest and recover. This usually involves grabbing a Monkey Nutrition shake and playing World of Warcraft on my AlienWare laptop. A few fans particularly in Sweden are getting involved and giving me a helping hand.

The Florida sunshine feels a bit strange around Christmas but I hope the preparations back in the UK or wherever you might be are going well. Not sure what I’ll be eating on Christmas day yet but I know it won’t have all the trimmings!

One Punch

November 21 / News

FIGHTER AND FAN

What a great weekend it was for UFC fans, I thought the main event lived up to expectations and resulted in a very exciting fight.  GSP did dominate in the way I expected him to and used his takedowns to great effect.  I always thought Carlos Condit might have some dangerous flashes and that kick certainly rocked GSP to the core. It’s the first time for a while that I’ve seen him look in real trouble.

The talk after the fight obviously turned to hype around a super fight with Anderson Silva. With Dana White confirming in an interview that he wants to make it happen, it’s easy to see why fans are getting so excited. The move could be a landmark event for the UFC with stadiums in Canada, the US and Brazil already being lined up for showdown.

I hate to take the jam out of the doughnut, but I don’t see it happening. From a fan perspective, of course I want this fight. From a fighter perspective it looks more unrealistic. Not just GSP Vs Silva but Silva Vs Jones. The UFC is the pinnacle of this sport and the difference between winning and losing can be tiny. Whoever moves up a weight division is knowingly giving away an advantage.

It may seem like a small one but trust me, there’s a reason why fighters excel in their natural weight class. The difference will really tell as soon as any clinching or grappling takes place. And we’re not just talking UFC fighters, we’re talking about three of the greatest UFC fighters of all time. There is so much on the line in terms of legacy and how these guys will be remembered and there are still guys in there own divisions trying to get a shot.

I just don’t think they would want to place their careers on the line like that and think they’ll much prefer to be remembered for their achievements in their respective weight classes. It’s also probably true that a perfectionist like GSP would probably want to fight someone else at middleweight rather than jumping straight in with Anderson Silva.

I really am torn about this, I want it to happen but can’t see how it would work. Who knows, it may well lie with Dana and his powers of persuasion. Perhaps he can make this work. If anyone understands what this could do for the sport it’s him. This could well be the boss man’s version of Pacquiao Vs Mayweather.

One thing the weekend did was get me pumped for my fight. Watching it made me want to train straight away. This camp I’ve had some visa issues which means I won’t get out to ATT in Florida as soon as I usually do, but I’ll still get enough time to refine my techniques. At the moment I’m sharpening my own tools and still learning from the guys I spar with, even the young ones. The styles and techniques they use and how they bring them together. Every training session is an opportunity to learn something new.

My conditioning is top-notch right now and as usual I’ve been working hard with Tim Benjamin at Five Star Health and fitness. Having someone like Tim who has competed at a high level but can still apply knowledge and science is critical.

I was watching a local show recently and both guys seemed to gas very quickly. It happens in MMA but it makes me wonder why fighters don’t look after their conditioning in a sport that’s so demanding. There are no gas stations once you get in the cage and if you run out that’s it, your tank’s on empty. It’s not just in a fight where it helps you either.

If you’re in shape then you will undoubtedly get much more from your training sessions. Drilling, sparring etc all become about perfecting the application of technique rather than trying to catch your breathe all the time. The best advice I would give to any beginner is to work on your conditioning and work it hard. The harder you push the easier it becomes in the long run.

A final good luck to all the UK guys on TUF The Smashes. It’s good to see Dean Amasinger is now being more careful with that black book.

One Punch

@one_punch

November 5 / News

FINISH WITH A BANG

As I mentioned in my last blog, the fight I wanted next was Michael McDonald, but on the flip side, Eddie Wineland is a guy I’ve always wanted to fight so I won’t complain. I think we’ll make a great contest and the old cliché ‘This will be a WAR’ certainly applies here.

The bantamweight divison is becoming a race right now with a few guys jockeying for position. Renan Barao is waiting for Dominic Cruz and there’s a number of guys including me that want to be next.  Michael McDonald is definitely up there, which is why I wanted that fight. Urijah Faber is also still a serious contender but I think there needs to be some new guys fighting in the mix before another shot for Urijah comes around.

A win against Eddie Wineland will cap a great year for me and certainly put me in the picture. He may not be up there in the rankings but ability wise he’s amongst the best in the division. His unorthodox style will be a challenge for me as it will be difficult to replicate in sparring. Something I’m sure my coaches will be able to help me figure out.

Right now, I can’t wait to get out to Florida and start camp, I’m just waiting on some visa issues to be fixed and then I’ll fly out to American Top Team and get started. In the meantime I’ll be working with the guys at Spiked and Five Star Health and Fitness to keep in shape and make sure I’m raring to go.

Lots of people have asked me how I feel about being in camp over Christmas but it’s not something that bothers me too much. Christmas hasn’t really been the same for me since my parents passed away and although I’ve had some great times with Sarah’s family, I’m happy to sacrifice it for my career. It’s part of being a fighter, this year I was in camp during my birthday but it’s just one of those things.

The life of a fighter can be a short career so you always have to make the most of the time you have. I’m sure when I have a family of my own Christmas will be important again, but all I want to do now is secure that future.

As always I’ll keep updates coming through out my camp so you can join in on the preparations and hopefully we can end 2012 in style!

One Punch

@one_punch

October 19 / News

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

There was a great deal of intrigue this week after Jones Vs Sonnen was announced for the next series of TUF. Chael is a great guy and arguably the most charismatic fighter in the UFC. There’s no doubt that this one has ruffled some feathers. Not just for the guys that are probably more deserving of a title shot but the fans are also divided.

Is it the right choice? I’m not sure, but it’s got potential to be the best TUF season yet. Who knows what will happen between those two. Jones portrays such a calm zen like exterior but if anyone can break that, it’s Chael, and he’ll have six weeks to do it.

While we’re on the subject of matchmaking, I’ve had a chance to gather my thoughts after Nottingham and come back down to earth. It was a great night and gave me some confidence that my hands can do real damage. Something I always knew but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

There’s been some clarity for my weight class lately as Renan Barao has announced he will wait for Dominick Cruz and won’t be defending his interim title.

It seems to be that Cruz may be coming back from the injury earlier than expected. Perhaps his camp know something the rest of us don’t. Cruz is an extremely competitive guy and was in excellent shape before the injury so chances are he’ll be back sooner than expected. No doubt it’ll be up to the UFC to decide but if Cruz is almost ready than Barao should be allowed to wait.

If Cruz and Barao are going to be slugging it out next year then I want to be next in line and for me that means a showdown with Michael McDonald. I’ve told the UFC I’m ready to fight again before the end of the year and McDonald is in my sights.

We’re both closing in at the top of the division and it would result in a fresh contender to face the winner of Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz. It’s a fight I want and a fight I feel I’ve earned. I’m not someone to go around calling guys out and have the greatest respect for Michael McDonald, but this makes sense and hopefully the UFC will agree.

The UK needs a UFC belt, it’s a fighting nation and I think the sport’s popularity could hugely benefit from a UK belt holder. I’m not saying I’m the best hope as there are plenty of talented Brits, Michael Bisping is pushing his claim but Anderson Silva stands in the way. A mammoth task! I was confounded by his performance in Rio. Standing there and taking shots on the chin while his belt is on the line? The man is human all said and done, but he does a good job of appearing invincible.

I was really proud of all my guys fighting on the TUF smashes series in Australia. Michael was really unlucky to get injured and Luke perhaps came out too hard with Bola giving a great account of himself. I’m proud of them all and hopefully this can be a great learning curve that fuels their hunger for a UFC career.

If you like following this blog and have some questions of your own, then I’ll be doing a Q+A with my sponsors Monkey Nutrition next Wednesday. You can find more details on their Facebook page.

Hopefully I’ll speak to some of you then!

One Punch

@one_punch

July 16 / News, UFC

VEGAS AND THE HUNT FOR KEITH HACKNEY

Seems like I’m in and out of Vegas a fair bit these days, one of the perks of being a UFC fighter. This time I had the UFC annual fighter summit, The UFC Expo and UFC 148 to keep me busy on a non-stop weekend of action.

I was really excited for the fight of the year between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva. Everyone was amped up for this after all the back and forth with words and I managed to bag some awesome seats. It was to be a night of surprises.

I was surprised at the Ivan Menjivar Vs Mike Easton fight, I was expecting a real back and forth war but Menjivar seemed quite passive which is very unlike him. Forrest and Tito was my fight of the night. Another close one which for me Tito won but I’m told Forrest landed a lot more strikes.

It definitely got me ready for the main event. As the first round started I was like Holy Shit, here we go again! I couldn’t believe Chael was going to do exactly the same thing again. Then down he went after missing a spinning back fist in the second and didn’t look the same again. Usually if you’re in the right frame of mind you can bounce right back up but Chael seemed a bit shocked and Anderson pounced.

Looking back you can see how Anderson craftily slips the shot from Chael. You do always see him doing a lot of work slipping and dodging a tennis ball… maybe I need to add that into my training as I seem to get punched in the face a lot.

It’s not that I can’t see them coming, I just don’t seem to have any driving determination of necessity to get out of the way. I must secretly enjoy it.

The Fighter’s summit was a mixed bag of fun and weirdness. We had some great speakers including an NFL player and all the usual stuff on how to handle the media and Twitter.

As soon as the social media guy took the stage everyone had their phones out taking pictures and tweeting. Dana White was as always on good form, it’s great to see him speak and he always comes across as having an honest, common sense approach. For me he’s the perfect boss for the perfect job.

There was one speaker and even now I know not of what she was talking about. I have absolutely no idea what she was trying to say or the points she was trying to make. I will never get that hour of my life back and perhaps never will learn just what she was looking to achieve.

As always, this weekend was a great chance to bag some autographs for my UFC encyclopedia. Lyoto Macheda, Noguira, Carlos Condit, Dos Santos among many others have all now signed the book. I still need to get GSP and Anderson Silva. Despite hanging around with Jon Jones one night I didn’t get his signature either.

The one I’m most excited about getting is Keith Hackney, the man that Judo chopped a sumo wrestler in one of the earliest UFC’s. I don’t quite know how I’m going to do this so I’m launching a campaign right now.

Hunt for Keith Hackney.

If you have information on this mans whereabouts or if you are indeed Keith Hackney then please tweet me at @One_Punch. It would be an honour to have you sign my book sir!

June 29 / News

FIGHTING ON HOME SOIL

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks but it’s been a lot of fun. The fight in Nottingham on September 29th with Canadian Yves Jabouin has been announced by the UFC and I can’t wait. As I mentioned in my last blog, fighting on home soil means added pressure but it’s something I need to get comfortable with. I’ve got high ambitions so the bigger the tests that the UFC can put my way the better.

I’ve started to structure my training accordingly and the hard work with S&C coach Tim Benjamin is well underway. Just like last time I’ll be going into my fight camp with American Top Team in excellent condition.

It’s not all been training lately though, I recently did some filming with MTV which was a good fun. They filmed lots of aspects of my daily life, at home, down at Team Titan and at the Spiked Gym in Ascot. They also came along to the Spurs legends game that I recently played in. If you’ve been reading my blogs you’ll know how competitive I am in any sporting situation. Even though it was a charity match, I was fired up for the win.

We got hammered 7-0!

The legends team that featured guys like Justin Edinburgh and Tony Galvin knew exactly what they we’re doing against a team full of boxers and businessmen. We got passed off the park in the first half and after 45 minutes of chasing shadows, a lot of the guys had nothing left for the second half. It wasn’t long before the goals were flying in.

I did score one for myself but the scrooge of a referee disallowed it as offside. I can hand on heart say that I was at least a yard onside, but my lightening pace obviously deceived everyone.

Back to MMA, watching the fights this weekend again highlighted how big this sport is getting in both the US and Brazil. The queues in Rio were huge and the arena was packed for the prelims.

Rich Franklin again proved he has what it takes to hang with the best and could potentially have one last run at the title. I was very impressed by the heart showed by both those guys. Nova Uniao fighter, Hacran Dias, also really impressed me with a very accomplished performance on his UFC debut.

The Atlantic City card was a little more controversial with Clay Guida employing what many people described as hit and run tactics. Whilst I can never see myself fighting like that I can completely understand what Clay was trying to do. Maynard is a tank and the last thing you want to do is stand in front of him while he tears you to pieces.

I don’t think it’s fair to start blaming it on Greg Jackson’s camp either. He has plenty of guys that go hard and take risks like Cub Swanson, Leonard Garcia, Diego Brandao and Donald Cerrone. Different styles and game plans are just a part of MMA. It makes things interesting. I might always come to fight hard but if I were fighting a guy like Mike Brown I’d switch things up because I know he hits like a sledgehammer.

For a guy like Guida, there was also a huge amount on the line. He’s pushing for his claim at the top of a stacked division. Lose a fight and it can send you tumbling out of contention with a mountain to climb again. It’s not about the fear of getting hurt for fighters in the UFC. Sometimes there’s just an awful lot at stake and that can temper the action a little. It can work both ways and hopefully the Brasil card gave the fans enough to get excited about.

I think the Ultimate Fighter Brasil has been a huge success; the guys have obviously become huge stars. It makes a big difference when you have a mainstream channel covering the sport. The first episode attracted 12m viewers and it’s easy to see how passionate the Brazilian fans are about MMA.

It was therefore great to hear UK Promotion BAMMA announce a deal with Channel 5 ahead of their next event in September. That’s going to be a big month in the UK for MMA and hopefully the fans will be out in force for both events.

I’ll be back in Vegas soon for the next UFC fan expo. There’s also the annual fighter summit. I’ll be like a kid in a sweet shop with my UFC encyclopedia in hand hunting autographs. I’ll try and get plenty of pictures for my next blog but hopefully will see some of you there!

 

One Punch

June 15 / News

What Happens in Vegas…

It was great to see the UFC announce a Nottingham card recently. I’m over the moon to be fighting on that card. The loss in Birmingham was a tough time for me but it’s something I want to put right. It was strange to be fighting on home soil after being in the WEC and it definitely meant more pressure.

Most fighters will say fighting on home soil is a double-edged sword. Sure, you have fantastic home support, but the expectation is so much higher. It means more press time and media attention, more work in the build up to the fight. I’m usually very good with pressure but the Birmingham fight put me to the test.

It did make me realize that being a main draw on home soil is probably very similar to the pressures of a title fight. In that sense I say the more the better, I’ve learned from last time so it would be awesome to go through the process again.  Developing as a fighter isn’t just about what we do in the gym. The role comes with all kinds of pressures and the more you can take them in your stride the more focused you’ll be when the cage door shuts.

Being in Vegas recently to corner my good buddy and training partner Mike Brown was no different. It was a must win fight for him and I was way more nervous than I am for my own fights. Playing the waiting game and going through the build up for the fight definitely put me in the mood for a scrap.

A fight fan came up to me while I was out there and asked me to sign a UFC encyclopedia. This book had everything in it from the very beginning! It was awesome and I want one. It might sound strange to some people but even though I’m fighting in the UFC it doesn’t stop me being a huge fan. I still go hunting autographs like a big kid and I know Ian Freeman’s in the book, so as soon as I get one I’m heading down to a UCMMA to get his scribble.

It was great to catch up with Dan Hardy before and after his fight at UFC 146. As much as I wanted Browny to win, if there was one other guy I was rooting for it was Dan. I know how much pressure I felt after losing two in a row so it was great to see him come out the way he did and impose his personality on the sport again, finishing it off with a superb knockout. Diversity is one of the great things about MMA and it needs guys like Dan.

As you may have seen from the gigantic vodka shots I posted on twitter, things got a little wild after the fight. I’m ashamed to say we didn’t even drink that much but I’m not just a bantamweight fighter. If you train all the time drinking is a rarity so when you do have a tipple it hits you like a front kick to the face. I would love to fill you in on the details but they are gone.

Staying in Vegas for a few days was great. I go to all these great places as a fighter but then end up flying home the day after a fight. We saw the touristy side of Vegas and took a helicopter up to the Grand Canyon, which was a liberating experience.

I’ll be back there soon for the UFC fan expo but for now I’m just ticking things over before my next fight is announced. Working my S&C with the very knowledgeable Tim Benjamin, doing some jits with Jude Samuels, boxing with Matt Walton and sparring with the guys down at Team Titan.

I’ve also got some seminars coming up. I love doing these as teaching and getting questions thrown at me forces me to have a deeper understanding of my methods. Look forward to seeing you if you’re coming along to one.

 

One Punch

March 30 / News

Trash talk’s not for me.

For those of you who don’t know I have been writing exclusively for the Mirror Online as I prepare for my upcoming bout with Page in Sweden.
This week I have been talking about trash talking and why I always leave emotion at the cage door. Follow me here Mirror Article.