After a long career as a WEC and UFC bantamweight contender, Brad Pickett retired in 2017 and is now focusing on coaching and managing fighters.
Picket always knew he would get into coaching. While he was a UFC fighter he loved helping out the younger fighters improve and show them what it takes to make it to the UFC. Although he was helping the fighters back then, he says it’s been different to focus exclusively on coaching.
“It is completely different. I guess it is a natural progression for some I guess, definitely for myself,” Pickett said to BJPENN.com. “Even though I was fighting for many years, I was always coaching throughout my career and helping people out when I can. Just really helping out the younger generation while I was still active. I now have spent a lot more time with the younger generation.”
Pickett is currently coaching at Titan gym in North London but the goal for him is to open his own gym soon. He wants to be a head coach of several fighters, and fighters that are successful as professionals, whether they’re fighting in the UFC, Bellator, ONE Championship or elsewhere.
Even though Pickett is only coaching and managing a few fighters, it hasn’t been easy. It’s time-consuming work, and he is always thinking of ways to improve his fighters and find them work.
“It is different. Some parts of the role I really suit and I do really well for it,” Pickett said. “Sometimes it can be quite challenging. To be a good coach you have to very selfless, be some kind of counsellor as well. It is challenging at times but it is also very rewarding when you teach someone a certain technique and they are finishing fights and doing really well. So yeah, it is very rewarding as well.”
While his recent priority has been coaching, Pickett says he is still willing to fight. Although he is currently retired, the Englishman misses stepping into the cage and performing. In fact, Pickett actually agreed to fight for Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) in 2018, but unfortunately the fight didn’t happen.
“ACB came over with some political problems and they had to cancel a few of their shows. My show I was fighting on was one of the shows they canceled. So basically, it left me in a bit of a dilemma,” Pickett said. “If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. When most people retire it is due to injury. For me, I retired because I fell out of love with the sport. It became, even though it was a job, it felt like a job where I was traveling away a lot. I had a newborn son at the time and I felt traveling away was difficult. I wasn’t enjoying the sport as much as I used to.
“But, stepping away and coaching, I am a very active coach so I still get to spar, so I stay in good shape. Also, I still compete, I compete with all the guys in the gym, and see everyone in the gym doing well and winning belts here and there and everywhere. I was like well I still got it, and for me, it made financial sense. They offered me a bunch of money so like why wouldn’t I do it,” he continued. “Also, I am not stupid, I am not the kind of guy where I am like, ‘yes I am going to make another run for a title,’ and fight some young 21-year-old stud. I wasn’t stupid, I didn’t want to fight a young 21-year-old stud. For me, I have proven what I am about and just wanted to fight on a level playing field.”
The 40-year-old Englishman is using his wealth of experience to prepare the next batch of great English MMA fighters, and it’s work he finds very rewarding. That being said, it sounds like he’s willing to fight again if the right opportunity arises.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/10/2018.