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Old 08-10-2010, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Pena View Post
First off, I cant explain how satisfied I am with the final results of Matt's performance on Saturday. I dont spend a whole lot of time on MMA forums, but occasionally I do glance at those and the odds. And to say that nobody except his most true supporters thought he would win is vary fair to say. That stuff serves as great fodder for me. When I saw this, my conviction to find a holes in Almeida was even more sustained (if possible). Especially when I believe that Matt could be on top of the MMA world again, if he chose to train his striking all year round. I truly believe in the power of intent!

That first section almost sounded like I dictated the win, and thats not the case. I just read Matt's blog from a couple entries ago. He stated that he thought he has the best corner in the world. It might come off arrogant, but I truly believe this. Partially cause I have tons of confidence in my experience and knowledge. But look at who's on my side, Jeremy Horn. Horn is the ultimate fan, student, practitioner, and teacher of MMA. Our third man, Robbie Lawler... Many people out there have no idea how valuable Robbie Lawler is to a team, unless you have shared the workout room with him. His knowledge and discipline for the sport will not be understood, unless you've had the time to work with him. I could go on for days about Rob, but wont to keep this short. Ok, one last sentence. His presence alone exudes positive energy and confidence, it's contagious. You have us at the helm, calling plays for the an amazing athlete and Hall of Famer, Matt Hughes.

People ask me all the time, what we tell each other right when Hughes gives us a hug before he steps into the ring. Usually we are trying to make sure he understands that the octagon is still HIS cage. At times, we are simplifying the game. "Its a simple game of controlling space, see it and hit it". The part that always, catches me by surprise, even though I hear it every time. He replies, "Talk to me in there". The amazing part is, he is so relaxed and composed amid a fight with 20,000 to 30,000 screaming people, that he can actually hear us.

Jeremy and I watch so many videos leading up to a fight. We are looking for tendencies, positions were we think the fight will be. That front headlock position and the submission was something that Jeremy and Matt worked on the week of the fight. The left hook was something I was calling for during the fight. If you go back to the tape you will see the feints that Almeida was doing was making Matt sit pretty heavy on his front foot. Most will take your leg out or hit you with straight rights, but Almeida did neither effectively. When your on that front foot you can get tons of power out of a left hook. Thats why I was calling for it. But again, you can have the best talkers in the game with around you. Its meaningless if you dont have one of the best do'ers in the game to execute. His poise is truly impressive. In the face of so many doubters, this has to be the most satisfying performance of Matt's that I've been cageside for. I dont know if I successfully conveyed my thoughts, but I love and have the ultimate confidence in our team.

My mom told me that she has never seen Matt smile so big after a fight. I will tell you all like I told her. He was probably laughing at me. You see, after Matt got his first stoppage by striking against Renzo, on the way back to the locker room, I told him I should get a gun for that. He laughed and said, depends which one. This time before we started working, we made a deal that if he KO's or drops Almeida before finishing the fight that I would get a .308. Then he let Horn in on the deal saying that if he gets a submission, that Horn would get a .308. So right when the referee stopped the fight, he looked over in our corner. Im crouched with two fingers up, yelling, "TWO GUNS BABY". He found this to be quite funny, (which we imitated in the locker room later). And he has quite a bit to be happy about!
Man, awesome insights, Pena, thanks! I gotta admit, it was such a pleasure to have met & talked with you back at UFC 98 & I was bummed I didn't get the chance to say hi again this past weekend. O well, next year when Matt wins the title, I'll buy you a drink!
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