Every now and then we see a fight take place and wonder if the guy getting dominated really took his training seriously.
I've felt like that in watching Rampage Jackson's last few fights, and it crossed my mind again after the performance BJ Penn gave his fans this past weekend. Then again, who are we to judge? Most of us aren't with the fighters as they train on a daily basis.
Enter Gegard Mousasi, a man who has 37 professional fights and has lost just three of them. He's been successful in DREAM and Strikeforce and hopes to make the jump to the UFC after his fight with Mike Kyle on January 12 (Strikeforce).
Mousasi explained he has never really trained for a fight. In all these years of fighting and title defenses, he hasn't had a real camp. Mousasi said this to "The MMA Hour" regarding his fight preparation:
"I was overstrained, not motivated, not training well. I think that had something to do with it. This year-layoff got me hungry again and I'm training really good now. I think, it was good (the layoff), I'm making it a positive thing. I was just fighting. I won the belt in DREAM, I won the belt in Strikeforce, every fight was just a fight, it wasn't something special, it just was getting in the ring and fighting. I didn't have a lot of motivation the last couple of years, but, I'm really excited to fight and with the idea after this fight maybe I can go to the UFC, so that is very motivating and I am training really well for this fight. Now, I have coaches and sparring partners. I am doing now everything right. Maybe this sounds weird, but, I don't believe I ever trained for a fight. Now, every day I am getting tired. I don't want to go to training. Back then, I used to run a little bit in the morning and do a little bit of sparring and when I would get tired, I would relax. Now, I have people that are pushing me every day and now I do feel like I am preparing for a fight. I f I go into this fight like how I am training now, I don't see how I can lose. I'm finally feeling that I finally training for a fight. I didn't know MMA fighting, was so difficult, training for a fight."
These candid statements stem from a long layoff for Mousasi. He will have 13 months in between fights once he steps into the cage against Kyle. Anytime somebody stays away from something they enjoy for an extended period of time they will typically have such a hunger to get back in that they start to say all the right things.
Will Mousasi reap the benefits of going through a consistent training camp, or will he once again become the unmotivated fighter we've seen so far from him?
The fact that he's been pretty successful as an "unmotivated" fighter without real training makes fans very curious as to how good he can be with some discipline. After all, he is still only 27 years old.
Joe Chacon is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.
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