Sherdog had a feature on Jorge Gurgel the other day that I slept on until just now. It discusses the talented grappler's struggles in the Octagon and his preparations for Cole Miller. He's basically decided that he was focusing too much on coaching other fighters -- Rich Franklin, Dustin Hazelett -- and not paying enough attention to himself. So he's rectifying the problem by going to Seattle to train with MMA founding father Matt Hume:
"I needed to be just a student," he says. "I needed somebody to say ‘OK, man, you do nothing but train with me and prepare for a fight.' Matt said, ‘You're going to come to Seattle and I'm going to take care of you.'
"I've never had a coach who focused on me. I have a school with 400-500 students. … I'm always working with pro fighters, the guys that we train, and training myself. I've never had a coach to tell me when to stop training, when to train more, when to train this technique, what to do."
He's also added a conditioning coach and the results are clear:
"My resting heart rate when I got here was 91, because I was always so hyper," Gurgel says. "Now it's below 60."
Most importantly he's doing something about his mind:
Gurgel's new training approach in Seattle, as well as his time with sports psychologist Brian Cain, who previously worked with Georges St. Pierre, has the 31-year-old native of Brazil feeling extremely confident going into his upcoming bout with Miller (13-3, 2-1 UFC).
I've repeatedly bashed Gurgel for fighting stupid, for avoiding his strengths (ie his BJJ game) and choosing to stand and bang instead. So 3/4 of the way through this article I'm thinking, wow, Jorge is finally getting smart. But no, he's just bringing a new, improved but still stupid game to the Octagon:
...Gurgel doesn't necessarily expect a large portion of the fight to take place on the mat.
"You never see me try and take anybody down," he says. "I always train to stand up with everybody. So if he wants to stand up and trade with me, he's more than welcome to."
Gurgel has often eschewed the ground game for striking, despite his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He says that his striking-first mentality stems from a desire to entertain during his fights and enjoy his time in the cage.
"People tell me I'm stupid for standing, that I should do things for me and not everybody else, but I'm there to put on a show for the fans," he explains. "I like to be a crowd pleaser, but mainly this is the job I chose to do for my life. If I'm not going to have fun fighting, why do it? I have a blast standing up."
Gurgel's going to go in there against Cole Miller, a guy with a six or seven inch reach advantage and insist on "standing and banging" -- wow, just wow.
He should have saved all that money he spent on coaches and psychologists, he's obviously not listening to them.