Brian Ebersole (left) hopes to have his hand raised at UFC 133. | Photo: Scott Clark
Decorated welterweight Brian Ebersole (www.brianebersole.com) will blog his experiences leading up to his UFC 133 clash with Dennis Hallman for Sherdog.com readers.
As I sit in Hollywood, Calif., on my first day here, I finally have some time to reflect on what has been an interesting few months heading into UFC 133.
Very seldom have I ever had a training camp lasting over five weeks throughout my entire 11-year career. It feels like a blessing and a curse: A blessing due to the comfort and security of a signed bout (opponent, date, weight, and purse) but a curse in that there's way too much time to think about the fight and analyze every single training decision.
I’d originally hoped to be training in San Jose, Calif., at American Kickboxing Academy, but after discussions with their head trainer Bob Cook, it seemed most of its in-house talent at my weight were carrying serious injuries.
While AKA would have been a decent training environment and surely would have consisted of great coaching, part of my reason for wanting to be there was to train with top wrestlers again. It has been a while since I've had someone that could take me down at will, and I need that threat in order to really improve my own grappling game.
But alas, all problems and challenges were addressed. In brainstorming with my UFC cornerman and striking guru Ed Bavelock, the camp for UFC 133 began to come together. I had decided to do the bulk of my training in Melbourne, Australia, as I had a good (albeit short) lead-in to UFC 127 from there.
From May 17 to June 1, I attended a pre-season training camp in Phuket, Thailand. I arrived in the striker’s Mecca with an air of excitement along with my girlfriend Alecia. I had also talked Mark Hunt into heading over to begin his training for an upcoming bout.
I had been to Tiger Muay Thai once before and loved it, so I had great expectations upon arrival; they were well met (and probably exceeded). The training consisted of two daily sessions, both lasting two hours. My girlfriend's beginner classes went two and a half hours, which was a source of contentment for her and humor for me.
What a way to start “the season.” I was present at a beautiful outdoor setting in a hot and humid jungle with trainers who could kill you with a knee or a kick and had no sympathy for pain, difficulties, or deficiencies. It was marvelous.
My highlight of the trip: I refereed two bouts at a “BBQ Beatdown” event and one fight ended via rear-naked choke immediately after the winner had landed a “Pettis off-the-cage” superman punch. It was ridiculous!
I’d like to take a moment and thank everyone at Tiger Muay Thai. Their efforts to provide training, housing, and support went above and beyond what I could have expected.
The room was beautiful; having private lessons for both myself and my girlfriend was a great gift, and the videography (and resulting short-films) was a fantastic addition to the trip.
Next, I took off to ESS Performance. Here, I had everything I needed: A private facility with an awesome workout floor, a personal trainer, massage therapist, a physiotherapist, an osteopath, a striking coach (four times a week), access to Dominance MMA (and two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts as training partners) just up the street, and my very own dorm room.
Moving back to my dilemma, let’s examine the blessing and curse of a long training camp, which are both equally telling.
The blessing: the ability to take my time and spread out the real intense sessions.
The curse: being sore and banged up -- and having the slow days turn into a grind (and inherent guilt, as I’m used to having short camps and being unable to take extended “breaks” in training).
Looking back, I’m not sure if I really liked the “freedom to create my camp,” as opposed to the “just do it” attitude that I've had to take into all other fight camps (where the bout was not signed three months in advance).
I like things to be a bit spontaneous but I was on other people’s schedules, which made that tough. All of the planed sessions were truly focused on me; again putting me in small groups and affecting others’ schedules, which is a huge departure from the norm.
Normally, I train during the day in isolation or small groups -- then attend a dojo in the evening which is full of fighters, students, classes, and some open mat time.
After returning to Australia, I was able to finish my Melbourne camp on a high note, with my last two hard grappling sessions bringing me immense confidence.
The number of rounds completed at a very high pace versus opponents who were splitting the rounds amongst one another has me feeling strong, confident, and very ready to compete in Philadelphia at UFC 133. If I can grind down the cardio, conditioning, and will to fight multiple opponents, one should be easy, right?
Well, probably not easy … but certainly within my means!
I arrived in Hollywood yesterday, or is that today? Well, it’s tomorrow in Australia. I feel like a time traveler.
It’s a strange feeling, leaving Australia at 2 p.m. Saturday (flying for 13 hours) and arriving in Los Angeles at 11 a.m. Saturday. I’m unsure of how the sleep pattern is going to work out. We'll see how that goes.
How long can the glitz and glamour of the City of Angles keep me awake? And when will I have my big crash, and sleep a whole day away? Only time will tell. And speaking of time, I want some. So I gotta leave you guys, take my time, and go do something with it. Peace.