Here's the article for all of those with work-blockers.
For my upcoming fight at UFC 135 in Denver, I stayed home in Hillsboro for a good portion of my training camp, and it was great because I had my family there. Weíve got a big house and weíve got some property, so the boys would ride four wheelers, swim in the pool and shoot some guns during the day. At night we had hotel rooms for them, so they went there to spend the night, which gave me my time with my family as well.
We did two-a-days, where we practiced in the morning and practiced at night and I was the guy getting beat on and torn down, so I didnít want to do anything spectacular during the middle of the day. I was going to conserve my energy for the mat, and being here helped me lay a good foundation, even with the change in opponents from Diego Sanchez to Josh Koscheck.
By this time, I bet youíre wondering who was in camp with me, and some of you may have seen the picture of the team together, and addition to my usual training partners -- guys like Jeremy Horn, Matt Pena, Robbie Lawler and DaMarques Johnson -- I brought in a couple of special guests Ė B.J. Penn and Pat Miletich.
Being around such great fighters and coaches is humbling, No. 1; and No. 2, it was a great learning environment because we all learned off each other. Iím around the other guys a lot -- Jeremy, and Matt Pena, and DaMarques -- but with Pat and B.J. being around there as well, they would bring up different situations, and then Jeremy would add stuff Iíd never seen on top of that. All I had to do was show up, not do anything on the mat, and I was gonna sit there and learn. If I wanted to, I could have charged admission and people would have loved to just sit there, watch and soak it in.
It had been years since Pat and I had worked together, probably since I left the gym, which was right after ďThe Ultimate Fighter 6Ē show in 2007. After that, me, Matt (Pena), Robbie (Lawler), and Marc Fiore -- the coaches for my team -- all came up with the gym concept. So itís been that long for us, but Pat and I have always stayed in contact and heís a brother of mine, thereís no doubt about that. So it was great to get my hands on him and wrestle with him, and the thing that wasnít so great were his quick jabs and his standup. Heís got ferocious standup. And if you were wondering, Patís still got it, but heís got it in certain time slots. He would not go three five-minute rounds, but he can have a decent five minute go, take a few minutes off, then go again later. It was great getting back in there with him. I still knew what his strengths and his weaknesses were and where he didnít like to be and what made him uncomfortable, and Iím sure he knew what made me uncomfortable, but I was the guy who was in shape, so things kinda went my way a bit.
As far as working with B.J., who I fought three times over the years, a lot of people really raise an eyebrow when I say that heís been training with me, but they might not know that I went out to Hawaii and helped B.J .with his takedowns for (his fight with Jon) Fitch. Heís repaying the favor I did for him and I found out a lot about B.J. when I went out to Hawaii and started training with him. We are actually a lot alike personality wise, and sense of humor wise for sure. We have a ball together and Iíve got to watch out for him because heís quick-witted. My brother Mark is very quick-witted as well, so Iíve just gotta stay on my toes. Heíll catch me a couple times, because Iím a little naÔve. But we really have a lot of fun together and weíve found out a lot about each other since our third fight last year.
And itís funny, but after working with both of them, I think B.J. and Robbie Lawler are a lot alike. Those two guys are extremely smart in dissecting opponents and seeing their tendencies, their weaknesses, and figuring out what theyíre gonna do in a fight from watching tape. Theyíre very intelligent cornermen, trainers, and fighters, and itís been important for me to have both of them around.
So weíve got a great group here, and when things go this smoothly in training camp, it reminds me that Iíve really got the best job in the world. I walk into the gym twice a day and I love it, Iíve got a crew of guys around me that I love to be around, I still love to work out, I love to sweat and a lot of times when weíre done with practice Iíll still jump on a stationary bike, and I am having a lot of fun. I wouldnít change my occupation for anything.
In my next blog, Iíll let you know about how the end of camp is going in Utah as I get ready for Sept. 24 and Josh Koscheck.
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."