Ive been travelling all over to get the right sparring partners for my next fight with Douglas Lima. I was in Amsterdam with Gegard Mousasi, training and sparring with him.
I also sparred with Costello van Steenis too, a Bellator middleweight and Frank Munoz, who Daniel Cormier used to prepare for Jon Jones. I had the UFC welterweight Neil Magny over for a week as well.
Im flying to Barcelona this week to train with some Glory kickboxing guys. Its non-stop, and as you may have guessed, I do a lot of sparring. I want sparring partners that can replicate how strong Douglas Lima is in all areas. You need training partners who can work in the same game, so when the fight moves from grappling to striking to jiu jitsu, Im still making the right decisions.
Mousasi is a lot bigger than me, but his experience is almost unmatched in MMA. I see him as a bigger, more experienced version of Lima. Getting pointers from him was fantastic. Gegard Mousasi for me, is probably the best fighter Bellator has. Its hard to believe hes only 33. Hes one of the most dangerous fighters in mixed martial arts today.
Its great for fans hes headlining in London for Bellator this summer. Another man who is on the London card is Paul Daley. He said he thinks hes given Lima the blueprint to beat me, and I know a lot of people might think that. But in all honesty, physically I might have been there in my fight with Semtex, but mentally I wasnt. I was at my worse, but I still managed to drag out the win. Im feeling a lot better now and everyone will see the difference.
London Shootfighters are known for their sparring camps. Monday is hell. Tuesday is more hell. Wednesday is hellfire… my coach, Alexis Demetriades, has no chill. I could get in a car crash today and he would expect to see me in the gym tomorrow. Ive never understood camps. Other fighters often say theyre about to start their eight-week camp – I dont even know what that looks like. Whether Im fighting or not, Im always training for a fight. Theres always somebody getting ready for a fight in the gym and we all help each other out.
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are the longest days. I can be in the gym six hours, sometimes longer, going over technical aspects. Wednesday and Friday are usually shorter days, but more intense. Thats when we get sparring done or do strength and conditioning and fitness drills. A lot of gyms and fighters are very particular about sparring work, but not mine. We might usually spar on Wednesday and Friday, but if someone came in on a Monday to spar, then we spar.
Were flexible when it comes to sparring and ready to go at any time. From the gyms Ive been to, thats something unique in my team. All this week and last week, Ive been doing fitness every day. Thats because the Lima fight will be five rounds and one of the things that helped me massively in the win over Daley was my endurance. I had the energy to keep working until the fight turned in my favour. Fitness is key for so many fights.
I tend to work on my fitness by doing what I know my body will be asked to do during the fight. Well do sets of grappling, then go straight into ground-and-pound work and then into a fitness machine, maybe rowing or something. Then straight back into grappling and then into light work on the weights. Its about engaging your muscles for the period of time youd be fighting, so five or six minutes. You have your minute rest and you start again. Ill be doing a lot of bouncing on my toes and then someone will grab me and itll be clinch work, from the clinch work I have to get up and go back to landing strikes and then Ill go back to the floor. Our weeks are very intense and SundaysRead More – Source