I always enjoy reading about a fighter’s preparation in the weeks leading up to the fight. What kind of diet are they following? Are they bulking up for a strength advantage or slimming down for speed and cardio? What kind of game planning themselves and their coaches are drawing up? How much fight film they’re watching to better know how their opponent thinks in the cage? One question that always has me thinking is; what kind of training/sparring partners are they bringing in (or have) to prepare for the bout, and why?
We have read so and so fighter bringing in this name and that name to help prepare, and sometimes I’m left either scratching my head in wonder, or applauding their decision. When I look at the Cruz vs Faber fight, I imagine that Faber has someone trying to emulate Cruz’s spastic movements in the cage, as well as someone with the same height and reach. Perhaps even someone a little stronger so when he gets in there it will be a little easier to manage him in the clinch. When I look at Diaz vs Miller, I imagine that while Miller is no slouch on the ground, he has a lanky BJJ guy giving him fits in training so it’s not a surprise come Saturday night.
I still wonder though, what is the best way to choose your training partners? I always felt that if I were to compete, I would want to grapple against guys bigger and stronger, so come competition time I won’t have to worry about being out-muscled. I would like harder punchers sparring with me so if I were to get tapped on the jaw I wouldn’t panic in the middle of the fight. But that poses the question, what if now the guy is quicker and faster than me? Now, do I change up my training and focus on guys that may not be as strong as me, but are way quicker so that way it will keep me on my toes and sharpen my reaction time? One is never going to have training partners that can replicate their opponent’s to the tee, but for some reason I always had the idea that fighting bigger guys in training would give me a better advantage. That theory was rattled when I read that Cruz (if I’m not mistaken) was stated as saying that he does not like to have larger training partners, just more or less his size and strength. No lie, that kind of baffled me.
On one hand, it would be great to have someone similar to you (or your opponent) to match all the physical qualities and not throw off your natural rhythm. Then again, being matched against someone a bit larger might give you the edge mentally and physically knowing you have been through the gauntlet with a bigger adversary. I enjoy sparring/training with both to be honest; fighting someone bigger taught me to be quicker and use better technique. Sparring with someone my size was great because it taught me that this guy may be quicker then me, and I need to use more fight IQ and maybe some extra strength that I never knew I had in order to find a way to get the better of the exchanges. With all of this being said, I’d love to hear your input my fellow MMA enthusiasts. What do you think would be better in training for a competition?