Viewing post categorized under: UFC



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 22 / UFC

New Opponent

Hey guys,

Just a quick one to let you know that I’ve now got a new opponent for UFC London. Henry Briones pulled out due to an injury – and I wish him well with his recovery. I’ll now face Francisco Rivera.

I think Francisco will be a great opponent – and probably a more exciting match up for the fans! He’s a bit more of a name, and anyone who saw his fight with John Lineker will have an idea of what we’re in for. Stylistically we’re not too different, but I train for the fight, not the fighter. I’ve known that there would be an opponent change for the past couple of weeks, so I’m happy to finally have a new match up, but nothing changes in the fight camp – I just carry on trying to make myself a better athlete.

I’m blogging my fight camp for The Sun Sport – so if you want to keep up with everything I’m up to at American Top Team in the lead up to my fight, head over HERE!

-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, 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 12 / UFC

UFC 193

It’s a big weekend for UFC coming up! As I said in my last blog, I’ll be out on Saturday night, cornering some of my Team Titan boys at BAMMA 23, but whether I get home in time to watch it live, or play catch up on Sunday, I’m not missing out on UFC 193. I thought I’d give you a little run down on my thoughts on how a few of the fights play out…

Ronda Rousey VS Holly Holm
The main event has understandably got everyone talking – someone’s 0 has gotta go! Ronda has no doubt upped her striking game, but I just can’t see it going any way but a sub in the first round and Rousey remaining champ. There’s every chance this will be another “blink and you’ll miss it” courtesy of Rousey –  but fans keep on going wild for that.

Joanna Jerzejczyk VS Valerie Letourneau
The co-main features two incredibly tough women! I know Valerie well and as much as I’d love to see her win, I have a feeling it just might not go her way on Saturday. Joanna is just SO tough – but then so is Valerie, and in fact, if anything, Valerie’s toughness could be her downfall. She can take one hell of a beating, and she’s not a quitter so things could get pretty ugly. I’ve seen Joanna fighting up close and she strikes with incredible precision and amazing strength. I think she’s also going to be going home still a champ.

Mark Hunt VS Antonio Silva
I really think this one could go either way – but whichever way it goes, it’s going to be a knockout. Whoever makes a dent first will be victorious.  6/7 of Hunt’s last bouts, and 10/11 of Silva’s have ended with a KO or TKO. The only one that didn’t was when these guys last fought and it went to a decision – a draw. However, having said that, I don’t think it’s going the distance this time. If I was a betting man… well, I wouldn’t bet on this one either way!

Robert Whittaker VS Uriah Hall
This is another very evenly matched fight – Whittaker has looked great in his last couple of fights, and has won his last three in a row. Meanwhile Hall is heading into this event off the back of a huge win back in September when he won a performance of the night bonus as he defeated Mousasi via TKO.  So, another that’s close to call – one of them could end it on their feet, but just as easily it could go the distance.
If you think I’m on to something and place a bet – feel free to share your winnings. If I’m wrong, then I accept no responsibility!!

-ONE PUNCH

October 4 / UFC

FIGHT HIGH

Wow, that was some night in Nottingham. An electric atmosphere turned out a great night of victories for the Brits fighting on the card with me. It was also my first knock out punch in the UFC.

The elation of winning with a ‘Knock Out of the Night’ still hasn’t faded. I’ve got the full set of bonuses now with ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Submission of the Night’ already in the bag. That’s also a 100% bonus record in the UFC that I’ll be looking to keep at 100%. I said before this fight, only good things will come from winning. Winning is always my priority but to do it in such a fashion was the cherry on the cake.

Before the fight I had a lot of problems and injuries. My hand wasn’t great at the start of the camp so I struggled to train stand up. Then I busted my rib so couldn’t do much groundwork. I had a few cuts and bruises to contend with and train around. All in all it was pretty terrible prep for a fighter like Yves Jabouin.

I’m very much a fighter that will train hard outside of camp too and I think that helped massively to compensate for any adaptions I had to make in camp. I also know from experience that I’d perform on the night, no matter what’s gone on leading up to the fight.

Nottingham was a bit less hectic than Birmingham so fight week was a bit easier to deal with. I wanted to put my loss in Birmingham behind me and give the UK fans a victory to shout about but knew Jabouin would be a dangerous opponent. Against Barao one of my biggest self-criticisms is that I was over eager with my striking when perhaps I needed to be more patient. I was definitely more selective with my shots this time around without being afraid to pull the trigger.

The crowd was fantastic after the fight and I spoke to Dana White briefly to make sure he knows that I want to fight again before the year is out. Who and if I fight is out of my hands and it’s not even strictly in the UFC’s hands as injuries and different results can all dictate the matchmaking. A lot will also depend on Dominic Cruz and how soon he can return to the division as that has the knock on effect of whether Renan Barao waits it out or fights again.

For me personally, I’ll need to step away from the crisps and the chocolate at some point in the near future and ease my way back into the gym. I’m taking a small break just to let my body recover and heal up a few small niggling injuries that just need some rest.  Maintaining good year round fitness has always helped massively in camp so it won’t be too long before I’m back doing what I love best.

This weekend I’ll be at UCMMA taking a backseat. I’m really looking forward to a big night of fights there. I’m particularly excited about seeing Galore fight. I think he’s a natural athlete with a lot of potential. Also, I’ll be interested to see how Spencer Hewitt does in his Bantamweight clash.

Finally I’d just like to say thanks to a few people, my fiancée Sarah and brother Russell, Matt Walton my manager and the team at Spiked Athlete Management, my coaches at American Top Team, Team Titan and Five Star Health and Fitness, my sponsors Venum, Monkey Nutrition, Alienware, VIP Services, Topps Cards and G-Form.

Most importantly, thanks to the fans and all my followers.  I really appreciate your support and hope I can continue to entertain you.

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!