While the American Kickboxing Academy is home to some of the best fighters in the world, including UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, and top ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov to name just a few, the camp is often criticized for its fighters frequently pulling out of fights with injuries.
Both Rockhold and Cormier were set to fight in the month of November, however Rockhold withdrew from his ‘UFC Fight Night: Melbourne’ scrap with Jacare Souza, and Cormier withdrew from his UFC 206 scrap with Anthony Johnson. This added fuel to the fire of fans criticizing AKA fighters for training too hard, resulting in a copious amount of injuries.
During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Cormier responded to the criticism, saying:
“Guys have made changes (in AKA)”
“I promise you, when I fought the last fight, Cain and I made some changes to our training. It worked great for Cain, he looked fantastic against Travis Browne.”
“For me, I felt a little bit off,” he said. “I felt like I didn’t do as much as I needed to do and it really messed with me mentally. Now, I spar a lot, and I run a lot, and I train a lot. It’s the only way that I feel secure in my own mind. The biggest part of competition if knowing that I’ve done enough to fight. It’s scary if it’s the other way.
“When I fought Anderson Silva, I was worried. Like, man did I run enough? Did I put enough miles in? Did I spar enough rounds? And you don’t want to be questioning yourself. That was supposed to be Jon Jones.
“I actually had changed up my training situation, scared to get hurt, before I was going fight Jon Jones. It was a huge mistake and I didn’t like it. I’m going to go back to doing what I do. I’m going to train as hard as I can and I will hope I can make it to these fights man.”
While some blame the fighters for the injuries which occur in training, others blame the AKA coaching staff for not implementing a safer training regimen.
“It’s not Javier’s fault,” he stated. “This isn’t college. We’re not high-school athletes. Javier can tell me not to spar and I’ll be like, ‘Yeah sure, Jav.’ then I’ll go spar. I’ll do what I’ll do. We’re adults.
“I’m the reason I got hurt. I don’t know why. It wasn’t Javier Mendez or Bob Cook,” he said. “The decisions are mine. If I got hurt, it was my fault.”