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Training the Best

Sherdog.com interviewed Fedor's striking trainer, Aleksander Vasilievich Michkov. Lots of good stuff there. One thing I noted, Michkov mentions that Fedor runs AT LEAST 15km a day even when he's not training for a fight. Do you hear that B.J. Penn?

herdog.com:  Who is responsible for coming up with the strategy for each of the fighters' upcoming matches?
VM: The two trainers, myself [Aleksander Vasilievich Michkov] and Vladimir Mihailovich Voronin [wrestling/grappling trainer] and the fighter. It's completely logical; we look for our strong points that we can use to exploit their weak points. There is nothing more fancy than that.

This is such a key point. Fedor has gotten where he is by identifying his advantages over opponents and then mercilessly preying on their weakness. Here's an example -- all I can say is, poor Mark Coleman.

Back to the interview with Michkov:

Sherdog.com:  What was Fedor's boxing like when you started with him?
VM: Initially when we started he was basically self-taught in boxing. He would practice with punching bags or sparring partners and develop his own technique. ... I adjusted his technique slightly, but did not need to change it completely.

Sherdog.com: Fedor's boxing technique is not typical of traditional boxing. Is this due to his own adaptation or specific strategies?
VM: If you look carefully, it is standard, formal boxing technique. Sometimes it changes slightly, but I train him in standard boxing technique.

This highlight reel of Fedor's fight with Cro Cop really shows off his striking.

And why Fedor is the best, he's the smartest and he LISTENS to his trainers:

Sherdog.com: What makes Fedor who he is?
VM: He is a thinking fighter. His intelligence, and ability to think differentiates him. He is very smart. He always listens to us [trainers]. About 50 percent of fighters do not listen to trainers, or pretend they do but it comes right out of the other ear. They don't necessarily think they know better than us, but their own status blinds them sometimes. A fighter will continue to grow and achieve ever-higher goals, as long as they listen to their trainer. Fighters who stop listening to their trainers will remain on the same level and eventually start dropping. That is why Fedor will keep improving indefinitely. Another illustration of this is the way Fedya fights. In the ring he hears everything we [trainers] yell at him. Often less intelligent fighters can only think of their immediate fear of their opponent and are oblivious to their corner during each round. Fedya can hear everything we say and follows instructions. Mihailich [Vladimir Mihailovich Voronin] has a voice like a bullhorn, he hears him. I am quieter and he still hears everything I say. We take turns: I yell instructions if the fight is on the feet, Mihailich if it's on the ground. He [Fedor] will come back to the corner in the break between rounds and tell us that he heard everything and thank us for the help.

And lastly:

Sherdog.com:  What did you think when Kevin Randleman (Pictures) suplexed Fedor onto his head?
VM: I was not so much thinking as having a heart attack. Fedor says that everything was fine, he was aware of absolutely everything as it was happening and was not concerned about his health. Then when I saw that Fedya was OK I reacted by telling him to just punch Kevin and keep punching. If you count them, Fedor throws 32 punches, because I am yelling at him to do it, as I want to end it as quickly as possible.

Here's the slam in question. Very scary. Randleman is the classic example of a fighter having a "puncher's chance" -- in this case a "slammer's chance". Of course the great Fedor was able to recover, reverse and get the kimura but 99% of fighters would have been out, and 1% would be dead.