From watching the UFC on television, it’s very easy to become oblivious to the incredible physical and mental demands that the athletes competing in the Octagon put themselves through before they step in there and fight. It might look simple but the life of a fighter is anything but easy. Professional mixed martial artists are among the hardest working athletes in the entire world. Countless hours are spent in the gym, sometimes two or three times daily. If you’re preparing for a fight you can’t afford to let anything distract you, including Santa Clause.
Such is the case for UFC light heavyweight Ryan Jimmo as he prepares to square off with James Te Huna at UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald. Jimmo is so focused for this matchup that he actually missed Christmas.
“I’m heading out [to London] Monday night and I’m firing on all cylinders. I had a great training camp and I’m so focused that I trained on Christmas and New Years to get ready for this fight,” Jimmo told BJPenn.com Radio.
“My mother called to wish me a Merry Christmas and I said ‘Oh is it Christmas, mom? I’ve got to go to the gym and then I need to take a nap and then I’ve got a chicken breast waiting for me in the oven. Bye mom, merry Christmas’. All I know is that I’m fighting in 10 days and that’s all that I have on my calendar and on my mind.”
This bout will be Jimmo’s second for the organization and his first since making a little bit of history in his Octagon debut. At UFC 149, Jimmo tied the record for the UFC’s fastest knockout ever, alongside veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig when he crushed Anthony Perosh in seven seconds. As thrilled as Jimmo was with his performance, he isn’t letting it affect his ego.
“It felt very good [to tie the UFC’s record for fastest knockout] and to have a big win in my UFC debut but I’ve been trying to forget about that so I don’t let it go to my head,” Jimmo said.
“I stay hungry and continue to train harder and harder. It’s never a good thing for a fighter to let things get to their head and cause any complications so since my last fight I have become even more focused than I was before.”
Te Huna is on the brink of cracking the divisional top ten with three consecutive victories and a 4-1 UFC record. He is most recently coming off a dominant victory over Joey Beltran in which he picked “The Mexicutioner” apart on the feet for three rounds. Jimmo respects Te Huna greatly and is very aware of how tough the New Zealander is.
“Everyone knows that James Te Huna is a tough dude that comes to fight. He’s a very game opponent, he’s tough, he’s aggressive and he’s fearless. I’ve been down to New Zealand before and those people are very big and strong,” Jimmo said.
“I remember once I was driving off the road and I saw this person and he was just a jack hammer. I was like ‘man this guy is huge’ because he was like 6’4 and 295 lbs but then I realized it was a woman. I know that when I step in there with James I’m not going to out-physical him, this is going to be a fight and he doesn’t have any huge holes that I can see so this is going to be a tough fight.”
A product of the Blackzilians fight team, Jimmo believes his camp is still among the best in the world despite recent setbacks. At UFC 156, both Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem fell shot in fights that they were expected to dominate. This has caused many fans, media and even UFC President Dana White to criticize the camp but Jimmo is very confident in his team.
“This isn’t a team sport, we train on a team but at the end of the day it is an individual sport. Every individual is different and goes through different things in their personal lives and [UFC 156] just wasn’t our night,” Jimmo said.
“I got Mike Van Arsdale down here right now working on my wrestling and all around MMA game. He had originally left the camp a little while ago but I brought him back in to help me finish up the last couple weeks of my camp. The guy is a wizard when it comes to wrestling and MMA and when I’m with him he makes me feel like I can conquer the world.”
As far as his fallen comrades are concerned, Jimmo still has plenty of faith in both of them. In this sport, sometimes you have the luxury of being the hammer but every now and then you become the nail. It doesn’t change Jimmo’s opinion of them and he still considers them to be elite competitors.
“Overeem was clearly dominating that fight early on but it’s a heavyweight fight and sometimes you get caught with a shot. In due time the belt will be Overeem’s, he’s a great athlete and he will be back,” Jimmo said.
“Rashad just had one of those nights where he couldn’t pull the trigger and that happens to the very best athletes. Sometimes you need something like that to wake you up. Two of our guys are coming off losses so I need to make sure I win.”
To listen to the full interview you can do so below:alistair overeem, Anthony Perosh, Barao vs McDonald, blackzilians, Christmas, James Te Huna, Mike Van Arsdale, New Zealand, Rashad Evans, ryan jimmo, ufc, ufc 156, ufc news, ufc on fuel tv