Last weekend, my brother arranged a special day for me at the Tottenham ground. I’ve been to many Spurs games over the years, but this was the first time I got to walk out of the players entrance and go into the changing room etc. It was a great day, and something I’m really grateful for!
Sirwan Kakai arrived on Sunday night… well, more like Monday morning by the time his flight actually landed. But we were right up and at ‘em on Monday morning, as we headed to wrestling. He’s been a great training partner for me this week. I’ve known him for years now – when we first met I was just into the UFC and he was an up and coming young fighter. I think he was really unlucky in the UFC, but he’s done well for himself regardless. He’ll also be a fantastic coach if/when he decides to do that full time. He’s a great guy to have on my team – incredibly motivating, and he pushes me in all the right ways.
Some of my Titan team mates have fights coming up very soon. Corrin Eaton will be on BCMMA this month, and he’s been training really hard for this one. Nathaniel Wood has a big fight coming up too – he’ll be the co-main event at Cage Warriors. He always looks good, and stays in shape but this is the best he’s ever looked, in my opinion. I feel like a bit of a dad to Nathaniel, so it’s great to see him in such great physical and mental shape. I’ve also been able to impart a fair bit of wisdom as his opponent is somebody I’ve fought too: Vaughan Lee.
This was the fight that you guys vote for me to run down for you. This was actually a bit later in my Cage Rage career, I’d already started training at ATT and fought a bit abroad (which I’ll come back to next week). Actually, I had lost my last two fights and was in a foul mood going into this fight with Vaughan. I had convinced myself that if I lost my next fight I was going to give it all up. I wasn’t ever in this to just make up the numbers, so if I wasn’t good enough to win, I wanted out.
There was no footage of him to watch back then, and I didn’t even meet him at the weigh ins – he wasn’t there! So the first time I saw this guy was when I walked into the cage. Looking back, you can tell I was furious in there. Probably the nicest way of putting it is that we both got away with things back then that we couldn’t today. There were definitely some body parts connecting that probably shouldn’t have been; it was a bit of a dirty fight, and pretty out of character for me.
I guess I just felt I had nothing to lose. And after all, what’s a chin in the eye socket, or a knee in the balls between friends? We’ve actually trained together since, funnily enough – he’s come out to ATT and stayed with me at Mike Brown’s house. He’s a very traditional martial artist and a great guy. He and Nathaniel are both very quick, so keep an eye on Cage Warriors for that fight (it’ll be shown on Fight Pass).
I said I was going to re-visit my fight with Ozzy Haluk, no matter which one you guys voted for. Back then Cage Rage was the biggest and best show in UKMMA. But the UK was so far behind the States, Japan and Brazil when it came to MMA. In a lot of ways it wasn’t really considered a sport here – it was just a hard man contest.
Of course I gained skills as I went along but a lot of the guys I was fighting were more experienced than me and had skills I didn’t yet possess. Fighting people like Robbie Olivier and Ozzy Haluk was crazy – they’d been training for years. But years of training didn’t help Ozzy much when I saw an opportunity to stomp on his head! Check out this video The Sprawl made of me talking through that fight.
Next week I’ll go through my fights when I went abroad for the first time. Vote on my Twitter for:
– John Trent – Absolute Fighting Championships (in Florida)
– Gilbert Sims – Bodog (in Costa Rica)
– Hideo Tokoro – Dynamite (Los Angeles)
Spoiler: I didn’t win all of these
I fly out to ATT on Sunday, so next week I’ll be blogging from Florida! Until then….