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!!