Just In UFC 242, Dustin’s Diaries: Why training camp is tough, family time, understanding Khabib MMA Life
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Interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier blogs for MMA Junkie each week on the road to his UFC 242 title unification bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov, which takes place Sept. 7 at The Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
In the second edition of “Dustin’s Diaries,” Poirier (25-5 MMA, 17-4 UFC) reveals how he gets through the hard days of training camp for Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC), why taking a mental break from training camp is necessary, and why he thinks “The Eagle” is keeping quiet during camp.
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Training camp has been no joke
Honestly, this camp has been a tough camp. It’s grinding. Wrestling every day with guys hanging on me, trying to keep me down and put me against the fence. Every day, every session is like a strength and conditioning session. I’m carrying my weight, carrying the weight of these guys who are trying to hold me down. It’s just a different type of camp. It’s very strenuous. Every training camp is very hard, but this one, just getting ready to wrestle, wrestle, wrestle and get up and build up off the fence and still try to have a high output, is draining over months at a time. This camp is going to be 10 weeks when it’s all said and done.
Learning from the hard days
I don’t beat myself up too much during the ups and downs of training camp. These guys rotating in on me, it might be their first round, but it’s my fourth. I’m doing six rounds of grappling or something; they have a guy on the sidelines waiting to jump in at Round 4. He’s coming in dry and feeling good and I’m just getting done scrapping for 15 minutes, and I have another 15 to go, so I understand that, too. I’ve been doing this long enough that I understand those things. Khabib can have the other 364 days a year. I just need 25 minutes on Sept. 7. He can have everything else. I just need to be better for 25 minutes, and I’m 100 percent sure I can do that.
I take lessons from each session. If I make a mistake when I get tired, then I try not to make that same mistake again when I’m in that position. The whole thing is a learning process and fighting is a lot mental. I believe in the heat of the moment that I can put it all together and be the best fighter. I do some days beat myself up if I make mistakes. If I make mistakes that I don’t want to happen in the fight, I will be tough on myself. I will come home and I’ll write things down and before my next session, I’ll reference those things. I’ll look at it and say, ‘Today I’m not going to do this,’ or ‘I’m not going to let this happen,’ or ‘I’m not going to give up this takedown.’ I come home and write things down. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I have methods in training camps that I do use to sharpen me up every week to make less mistakes, to push where I need to push.
Breaking away from the gym
I’m here in Florida doing this camp at American Top Team, and my family is with me the whole time. We’re in the condo I have out here, and we’re together. When I’m not in the gym, I’m with them. I got out of the gym for a day and took my wife and daughter to Miami and get a hotel room and take them to Miami Seaquarium and sleep out there then come back the next day and be ready to hit the gym refreshed. It’s good to pull back like that.
At American Top Team, everything is under one roof. My wrestling is there, my jiu-jitsu is there, and my conditioning is there. Spending 10 weeks of showing up to the same place twice a day – it’s good to pull away for a day and see some different scenery and show up ready to go again. It’s all about balance. That’s the key to longevity in this sport.
Khabib keeping quiet
Khabib has kept a low profile in the lead-up to this fight. We both know what’s about to happen. They are all big fights and serious fights at this level, but I think we both understand the type of fighter each other is. This is the type of fight that doesn’t need (expletive) talk to sell. This is the best vs. the best, and we’re going to show that out there. This is going to be an incredible fight.
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