Archive for June, 2009


The Benefits of Training at Different Gyms


By Eric Center

After almost two years of training at an all inclusive MMA gym (Xtreme Couture) I have realized something. As a fighter it is very important that you don’t stay stagnant, let me explain. I have had the blessing of learning the various aspect of MMA from some of the top instructors. Different trainers come to Xtreme Couture, share their craft and then move on to their next mission. The same goes with a lot of the professional fighters. Many come for their training camp and leave after their fight. Some come for months at a time before they leave. In my early days of fighting I would ask myself why so many trainers and fighters would come and go from Xtreme Couture like the seasons of the year. It was not until recently that I started to see the whole picture.

It’s all about stepping up your game. The martial arts like is water, forever changing with a constant ebb and flow.  Many fighters hit a ceiling when it comes to their training and the only way to break free is to change things up. A good example of this is Ricky Hatton. Ricky was with his trainer, Billy Graham, for 13 years winning  43 fights straight before losing his last 2 out of 3. Ricky knew it was time for a change so he dropped his long time trainer and picked up Mayweather Sr. Even as a future hall of famer, Ricky wanted to get a different perspective of his game and continue to grow.

For other fighters variety is the spice of life. Many fighters want to train with the best and be taught by the best. They will travel from camp to camp to do just this. Also, when a fighter has a weakness that he wants to tighten up, he will go to a camp or a trainer who is known for the specific area he is looking to improve.

As I prepare for my next fight August 22, it has dawned on me that I want more out of Jiu-Jitsu than what I have been getting. For this reason I have enrolled in Robert Drysdale’s Jiu-Jitsu school.  I’m not going to go into detail about Robert but just know he is a 100% certified bad ass. I got to learn from him briefly before he became one of the coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueria vs Team Mir. I feel that training at a pure Jiu-Jitsu school will increase this aspect of my training by leaps and bounds. It will also keep my head in a 100% pure Jiu-Jitsu mode without the distractions of a full blown MMA gym.

A down side of training at different gyms is the cost, both financially and when it comes to time. But if you are serious about your MMA career and have the time and money to spend, training at different gyms can open your eyes in a new way to the sport, causing you to see different situations in different ways ultimately adding to your arsenal of mental and physical weaponry.

My dream in life is to travel the world and train with the best: Hawaii with BJ Penn, Boston with Mark Delagrotte, Canada with GSP, Hollywood with Eddie Bravo, and of course New Mexico with Greg Jackson. At this stage of my life this is still a not a realistic option but I like to think that today I have started on a path of complete my dream.

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UFC 99 The Comback Predictions


The Ultimate Fighting Championship brings the world’s premier combat sport to Germany for the first time, and in the main event of UFC® 99, two of the game’s most revered superstars will battle it out, as former UFC® middleweight champion Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin squares off against former PRIDE® champion Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva in a true fight fan’s dream match.

UFC 99: The Comeback – Saturday, June 13th, live on Pay-Per-View from the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany

Rich Franklin Vs. Wanderlei Silva

Two former champions are meeting head to head in this 195 catch weight bout. Wanderlei just opened his new gym here is Las Vegas and I have to admit, it is definitely the best gym in the entire city, facility wise. Along with a new gym the Axe Murders has a solid team working with him for this fight. I think Wanderlei is too big and too experienced for Franklin. I predict a 1st round knock in favor of Silva.

Cheick Kongo Vs. Cain Velasquez

Cain Valasquez has been riding a huge wave of hype for this fight and rightfully so. He is 5-0 but more important, everybody who has came in contact with Valasquez says he has the skills be the one of the greatest fighters EVER!. Cheick Kongo on the other hand is a MMA vet who has fought all over the world. He has won 9 of his last 11 fights including 6 in the first round. Kongo home town of Paris is only a 4 hour drive from the venue in Germany so he should have a good contingent of fans coming to cheer him on. Valasquez will try to use his better wrestling to take Kongo down but ultimately Kongo will use his long legs to sprawl out. I predict UFC vet Kongo will hand Valasquez his first lost via Split Decision.

Mike Swick Vs. Ben Saunders

Two former TUF vets step into the cage in what will be a good display of Muay Thai from both of them. I predict Swick to win via unanimous decision.

Marcus Davis Vs. Dan Hardy

There are two things you never do to another man. 1 talk about his momma, and 2 disrespect his family and honor. Dan Hardy had the mistake of of pissing of Davis to the point of no return. I predict a 3rd round victory for Marcus Davis via Bitch Slap.

Spencer Fisher Vs. Caol Uno

Carol Uno is back! After getting his ass handed to him by a young BJ Penn, Uno manged to get a win before he returned to Japan. After six years Uno is back and he is matured both mentally and psychically. I predict Uno to grind out the Unanimous Decision.

Mirko Cro Cop Vs. Mostapha Al Turk

In my opinion, this is a do-or-die fight of Cro-Cop. I really believe Mirko is not going to blow this chance against a less experienced Al Turk. I predict a 1st round TKO win for Cro-Cop.

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The Greatest Stare Down Ever?

I came across this video of   Jerrel Venetiaan vs. Hirotaka Yokoi at Pride 23. This has to be the funniest and somehow most serious stare down video I have ever seen.

Hirotaka Yokoi won by submission over Jerrel Venetiaan at 3:29 in the second round. Yokoi achieved a full mount position on Venetiaan and eventually locked in an armbar.

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Conquering the Fear of Stepping into the Cage


By Eric Center





The biggest comment I get from people after they find out I am an amateur MMA fighter is, aren’t you afraid of getting hit in the face? My answer is no, let me explain. You have to understand that there is a means to every end. If you want to get to your mother’s house you have to get into the car a go. If you want an A on your math test you have to study. If you want to fight in the cage and win, you prepare to be punched in the face (Unless your name is Lyoto Machida). Receiving a strike from your opponent is a means to an end. It is up to you to minimize receiving these blows by studying and doing your homework.

I view getting punched in the face as a punishment for doing something wrong. I didn’t parry the jab I get punched in the face. I didn’t slip the hook, I get punched in the face. Instead of being fearful of getting a fist full of leather, I am much more fearful of not having the right head movement or executing the wrong footwork. In essence, you are waging war with yourself not your opponent.

“The greatest fighter you will ever face is yourself.” -Unknown

Not to scare anybody who is thinking about starting their own MMA career but getting punched in the face is the best thing that can happen to you during a fight. A knee to the head or a solid punch to the liver or kidneys are much more painful and a punch. This is why it is so important to work on all aspects of your game not just wrestling, boxing, etc.

“Everybody feels fear. Proper preparation must foster the courage you need to manage fear and forge ahead through adversity, for fear will be either the servant of your survival or the master of your demise.” – Unknown

I don’t care who you are, you are going to experience fear sometime throughout your fighting career. The key is not let the fear control your emotions. Whenever I get fearful before a fight, I visualize that fear as a dark cloud. But like all clouds, the cloud of fear must dissipate. I visualize myself overcoming that fear, that false evidence appearing real and when the cloud lifts the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I can see my goal.

I also think about our past as a human species, I mean think about it. Up until very recently in our history, men HAD to be men. Wars were fought not from a distance but up close and personal. You had to defend your family and your honor with a sword. Thousands of men would charge into battle and slaughter each other up close and personal for what they believed what was right. The majority of men today in my opinion have been overly feminized by society. If I ever do feel any fear, I think about our history of men, about the millions who have died defending what they believed in. They are the true warriors, the true fighters and I like to think what I am doing today is in homage to all of them.

Remember fear is in your mind. Train hard and build your confidence. Know you are the best, know it is not you who should be afraid but your opponent.

Write down the reasons why you want to be a mixed martial artist and before every fight read that list. Ask yourself, are you going to let a stranger take your goals away from you? Are you going to fear another man, a man who is reality is just of afraid of you then you are of him? HELL NO! If you are staring off in mixed martial arts remember, train hard and long and you will be the one making dark clouds and ruining their picnic.

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WEC Brown vs Faber 2 Predictions


On Sunday, June 7th, World Extreme Cagefighting returns to the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California for the most anticipated fight in WEC history. Featherweight champion Mike Brown defends the title against Sacramento’s own Urijah Faber in an epic rematch of their 2008 clash.

Mike Brown Vs. Urijah Faber

I think this fight will surprise many people. After defeating Faber the first time around, many people said Mike Browns victory was a fluke. Like the Kayne song, Brown is Bigger, Faster, and Stronger. I think Brown will show the naysayers who the real champ is and win via 1st round TKO.

Jose Aldo Vs. Cub Swanson

This is the fight I am most excited for. Aldo is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt with impressive stand up, and I am a sucker for black belts. If he wins this fight, Aldo should be next in line for the winner of Urijah-Brown. I think Aldo takes it via second round submission.

Donald Cerrone Vs. James Krause

Krause is 10-0 in which he has dominated all of his opponents. The problem is all of Krause’s opponents haven’t been of the highest caliber and all of his victories have been in smaller shows. I think Cerrone will use his superior skills and experience to pull out a 1st round TKO.

Josh Grispi Vs. Jens Pulver

34 year old Pulver has lost his last 5 out of 6 fights. 20 year Grispi is sure to give Jens a run for his money riding a 8 fight win streak. I still like Jens gets a 2 second round TKO for the simple fact that if he doesn’t pull it off, his career could be over.

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3 Tips on building Mental Toughness

By Eric Center

Mental WarriorsMental Warriors

Is fighting really 90% mental, yes. One of the many things that I have realized over the past year and a half of training mixed martial arts is the huge importance of being mentally strong. Let me explain, training for a mixed martial arts fight is one of the most difficult activities that one would ever put their self through. You always hear stories of extreme weight cutting, intense sparring sessions, and insane amounts of time fighters spend in the gym preparing for battle. It takes a very strong mind to stay motivated and to never give up. It takes a stronger mind to step into the cage, stay cool, calm, and collected with somebody who wants to essentially wants to kill you.

It takes will power to keep fighting after being on the receiving end of a devastating punch. It takes a strong mind to keep running that one extra mile after you feel like your legs are ready to explode. It takes extreme focus and concentration to dodge strikes flying at your head. Here are three tips to help you flex your mental muscle

  1. Relax – The best piece of advice I have received so far is to RELAX. When I first started fighting I was go go go go because this is how I thought the pros fought. It wasn’t until I started to really relax that I noticed there is a method to this madness we call mixed martial arts. A relaxed mind is a focused mind. After I started to relax during my training sessions, I felt as if somebody opened a window that I can clearly see out of. Punches and kicks started to slow down matrix style. I began to see opening and angles that previously didn’t exist in my mind. I was able to become a more technical striker just by simply relaxing my mind and relaxing my body.
  2. Visualize – This is another big one for me. I know you have heard this one before, but it is so true. If you can’t visualize yourself being the best how will you actually be the best in real life? I am constantly thinking about how I want my next fight to play out. I visualize my hand being raised at the end of the fight. Doing my daily visualizations had boosted my confidence in my mind, which in turn has boosted my fighting skills. Trust me on this one, just try it and I guarantee you will see results.
  3. Positive Affirmations – How can you be the best if you don’t believe it yourself? This is one of the few times I will tell you it is ok to lie to yourself. From the second I get into my car I am telling myself I am the best, I tell myself when I walk into Xtreme Couture everybody will be pissed because they know I’m a beast. As I warm up with the rest of the fighters I look each one of them in the eye and tell myself, they don’t want to see me, I the best in here tonight, I am the greatest ever. Now, I know many of the affirmation may not be true but I know one day they will be. My affirmations boost my confidence, they keep me going, and they strengthen me mentally.

Remember, in all professional sports the line that separates the best from the worst is a thin one. What really separates the haves from the have not’s is not their physical skills but their mental skills. Know you are the best and you will become the best.

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Randleman in StrikeForce

Kevin and I
I want to wish Kevin “The Monster” Randleman good luck in his fight tonight in StrikeForce. I had the opportunity to hang out with Kevin at Xtreme Couture while he was getting ready for his bout against Mike Whitehead. The Monster gets my Warrior Award for battling back from a life threatening staph infection to be back on the worlds stage….Good Luck Kevin!

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Come Train With Me!

I offer hour long personal training sessions at the world famous Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts Gym. You don't have to be a fighter and it doesn't matter what age, skill level, or gender you are. All my workouts are personalized to your individual goals and all my workouts are fun and exciting.The best part about it is I'm cheap! So come and meet your favorite fighters and train like them. Contact me for more details.

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