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Fight camp with the UFC interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan

by Shaun Kober
November 8th 2021

Last weekend, Petr Yan beat Cory Sandhagen via unanimous decision for the UFC interim bantamweight title at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, and I had front row seats in his corner.

I am extremely gr... More

just jumping in here quickly to let you guys know that I have recently created a facebook group for listeners of the lift train performed podcast. So this private forum is the place to connect with other podcast listeners and guests as well as to interact with myself and other coaches who have provided content for the coach's corner episodes. So in this forum you can ask questions which I can then answer in the group or I can use them for episodes, former Q and A sessions, post relevant articles you can share memes. The goal is to create a network of like minded people um so that everyone can interact with each other. Um you guys are listeners, the audience members can interact with the network of professionals in the fitness industry that have provided good quality content for the podcast. To gain access to this private group. All you need to do is leave me a rating and review what this does is allows me to bump up the ratings, draw bigger names and bigger guest to the podcast for your listening pleasure. Um once you've left a rating and review, take a screenshot of that, send that through to my instagram at coach underscore codes ko bes once you've done that, go onto facebook type in live train perform that group will come up request access, answer the three questions and I will grant you access, I am in the process of building out my online business.

One of the income streams is going to be from the facebook forum, so I'm going to be allowing 50 people into that forum for free after that. It will be paid access only. So get in early, be one of the O. G. S. Thanks guys. Much appreciated. Hi guys, welcome to the live trade reform podcast. I'm your host, Sean Kober and joining me today is my man, Jamie O'donnell. I got Jamie on because I actually did record an episode covering the last couple of months of my life being in fight camp with Peter yan leading into his UFC bantamweight interim title that he won over the weekend and that recording that I did was probably a little bit lackluster. So I decided to get Jamie on to legitimately ask genuine questions that he's interested in. So Jamie, Jamie's been on before um great guy, one of my friends has his own podcast as well. Great communicator and Jamie, I couldn't think of anyone better to get on and have a conversation with brother cheers man, I appreciate it.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about the last couple of months mate. It's been like I messaged you on instagram on sunday when fight you when the fight went down in new Zealand and I don't know man, I was real proud to see you up there, like it sort of felt like that was the place where you belong to be and to see you in the corner after you know, all the years that you've invested in. Peter was pretty awesome man. So I'm looking forward to hearing more about it yeah, thank you brother, I really appreciate it man. The messages that have come through over the last couple of weeks have just been overwhelming man, like you know we were talking a little bit offline um just now about like the come down because it has been almost three months man that I've been in camp and obviously you know that culminated on the weekend with yarn walking out of the octagon with the title man and um you know it's been the last couple of days has just been kind of processing it all and replaying things back over in my head and um you know kind of going through my own after action review and going all right, if you know this comes up again, what would I do different, you know what can we improve, what do we, what did we do really well um but obviously a lot of emotions that have gone on um and yeah, this last couple of days, I've actually need a little bit of downtime because I'm quite introverted and I've been like in camp with these dudes for 2.5 months man and you know, I was in Russia man and they don't speak any english, they've got enough english between them, there was like 678 dudes at any one time, but they've got enough english between them to be able to like get the main points across to me, but other than that, they're all speaking Russian, you know, so, you know, 56 hours a day with these dudes not being able to speak to them, like, um you know, it's really cool man, but then I also needed a little bit of time to, I need to unwind, I need to recharge my batteries, I need to have some time in solitude so I can, you know, refresh and recharge after, you know, all the crazy emotions that have gone on being brought so much energy as well, like the biggest stage, you know, like fighting is the ultimate clash of energies as well and you're investing so much in it.

So I can only imagine, so let's go back to the start, because I'm really interested you like when I was in Thailand in 2018 year, and Peter were just starting your journey together and he hadn't made his debut yet, and I remember walking up the stairs to the gym and you you guys were doing shuttles up and down the stairs and there's this dude who just clearly was switched on training, like an absolute madman and you guys were, you know, you could tell that you guys were well engaged at that point, but that was before really, Peter had burst onto the scene and then it has been a crazy couple of years where he went on to win the title and then obviously for the last fight for the title taken away again and then he's come back, he's won the interim title, he's got to the top, you know, the top of the division, he's clearly the best guy in that division. But you guys, you've been part of that journey the whole time. This is the first one that you've done with him outside of Thailand. So you traveled to Russia, you spend what, like 68 weeks in Russia in his environment, which I'm sure, you know, you get more exposure to his family and his world and and then you spend a bit of time in Dubai and then fight Island and then the fight, So take me back to the beginning, man, like how did it come about?

And what was it like heading over to Russia and putting yourself in a completely foreign environment, like you say, with different language barriers, people that you didn't know none of your normal environment around, you speak to that for a bit. Yeah, man. Um first of all, like, thank you for giving the audience that insight because it has been many years in the making and um you know, to give the audience a little bit more context into that. I, you know, I basically had been at Tiger for about eight or nine months at that stage, I had a two month intern contract. I had no idea what I was going to be doing. Just walked out of a five year relationship and you know, part of the reason for leaving was because I wasn't getting the opportunities that I wanted and you know, I had to put myself in that position at Tiger in Thailand to take up any opportunities that did come up. So, you know, I had that two month intern contract after one month, got offered a full time job, so I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time um and grateful to be given that opportunity and about four or five months later, um the previous head coach ended up leaving, took up another job, so I ended up getting the head coaching position.

Um so I've been a Tiger for maybe nine months at this stage and, you know, coming from military background coming from a rugby background, I hadn't worked with any professional fighters before, so I was using that time to invest and I was training some of these fighters for free so that I could build some experience and and get some knowledge and, you know, build out these frameworks that um I had used with other athletes, but you know, it hadn't actually had an opportunity to apply them and see if those principles worked with professional fighters. So, um I was investing that time and energy and effort into those guys and I remember coaching a 9 30 combat conditioning class one day, I probably would have been like early March ish. And uh I finished coaching the class and I was, I was at the front of the office? Near the stairs that you know what I'm talking about, where the, where the car park is and Peter Yarn was riding past on his scooter man, he saw me, he stopped and like looked up at me and looked up at me and he goes coach, I want to work with you and I was like alright, sweet man, you're working with anyone else.

And goes, yeah, I finished working with very broken english. Um you know, I couldn't really understand what he was saying, I just knew that he wanted to work together. So he said that he was working with another coach at the time and he said his his rehab had finished with him and he goes, speak to say speak to see who was his manager who works at Tiger as well. So I walked into the office and I spoke to see out and he goes, yeah man, this guy has just signed a contract with the UFC is going to be making his debut in june um you know, he wants to do some work with you but he's obviously up and coming, doesn't have any money, blah blah blah. So I was like, yeah man, dude, I'm more than happy to train the dude for free, so we all sat down in the office, I think it was the next day or the day after. I had a conversation when you're making debut, How long do we have, Who you're fighting? What's your game plan? Um blah, blah blah. I've seen him training in the gym for a number of months prior to that and I always thought, man, this dude is a fucking athlete and then obviously walked into the sparring and watched some of the other mm a combat sessions and I was like yeah, he's an athlete but he's got the talent and skill to go with it as well.

So I was really excited for that opportunity man. And you know, we started working together and um you know, he went on and had an awesome debut and then from there, you know, it just kept growing every time he came back to Tiger. I think we spent, I think we did five fight camps together at Tiger um including the preparation for the bantamweight title against Jose Aldo and that was all happening through the lockdown period. So he was coming around to my place man, like sneaking in and putting him through a training session, didn't have a gym or anything like I was just training him from home man. So very minimal equipment, just using bands and you know, bodyweight stuff, kettlebells and very simple training but very effective and you know, he was he was training with other guys with George and Alex and those guys with his mm maybe JJ striking coaches with johnny um and then obviously went over to abu Dhabi again and beach Jose Aldo for the title.

Um he couldn't get back into Thailand for the title defense against Al jemaine sterling. So he went over to America trained at American top team, flew johnny, the boxing coach, over who went through fight camp with him um after that fight camp, obviously he lost that the belt through disqualification. Um and then I got a message from him in late july, I woke up one morning, I remember this man, it was like a, it was a friday morning, I woke up had a message on WhatsApp coach, can you come to Russia, is this possible do you want? And I was like, fuck yeah bro, I didn't reply to him straight away, I walked into the office, went and spoke to me what the boss at Tiger and I was like, hey boss got this opportunity, Yarns asked me to go to Russia um you know, I'll obviously be representing tiger muay thai um blah blah blah and that was going to be two months and then we're just speaking offline, I can't say too much about it right now, but I've got another project coming up in the next couple of days, I'll be flying to India to work on my next project for, for the next month.

So um yeah, it worked out really well man and I basically just had to convince the boss, I was like, look, I'm gonna be representing Tiger the entire time. Um you know, this is a great opportunity for me, it's a great opportunity for peter, it's a great opportunity for Tiger. So yeah man, then, you know, had all the, all the admin stuff that I need to sort out with the pandemic. Like it was actually quite difficult to to leave poop, get to Bangkok, there was no flights or anything like that would fly a couple of hours out of Bangkok, get a car, drivin apply for my Russian visa, yarn, sorted out the invitation letter and all that admins from from that side. But yeah, I got that approved. And three weeks after that message came through, I was landing in Russia mate. What's it like when you touch down in Russia, you've never been before. The first time that you've ever been to Russia, first time in Russia man. So landed in a place called Krasnodar, which is, it's actually quite a big city. I didn't think it was going to be as big as it was and you can pick me up from the airport man. And it was, you know, it was a 3.5 hour drive from there to this small place called Anapa, which is a very tourist driven town.

A lot of it's like on the beach on the coast line. Um you know, a lot of families go there for holidays and things like that. It's good weather. Um so yeah, it was a 3.5 hour drive from Krasnodar to to another. And I was just sitting there just just catching up with yard man. I hadn't seen him for a year or so. So yeah that was really cool and his english has improved dramatically. He's been taking english lessons so that you can talk to the media and stuff man. So it's actually really cool to have those conversations with him. He was going to say how much chat was there in the three hour drive. Yeah it was cool man. Um Yeah so then we landed in an upper and you know I met his other coaches, he flew in, striking coach, flew in grappling coach guys that he'd worked with in the past that he knew from his childhood. Um And you know when he first got into M. M. A. Because obviously came from his boxing background. So um yeah I met those guys, we had a conversation as best we could to discuss, you know how long we're gonna be there for, what the training camp was going to look like, what days we're gonna be training, what what time we're gonna be training.

And it was cool man because it was for me it was almost like um being back on a military base again because of the location where we stayed, it accommodated 3000 people was like an all inclusive resort. So you know there was meal timings, meal timings from you know what, eight o'clock to 10 o'clock, 12 o'clock to two o'clock and then whatever, six o'clock to eight o'clock or whatever it was. So it's like 10 meals every day at this time we meet at this time, we have, we have feed and then we've got training at this time, we got training at this time and then time in between is your own. So you know, it was, it was pretty cool man, like it was, it was right on the beach. Um there was a massive jim, all the mm a stuff bags, like heavy bags, all the mats, there was an octagon there all the gym equipment that we needed a tennis court, soccer fields, a massive pool. Yeah, it was, it was awesome. It was a really cool experience. It looked incredible. And so when you land and you get into that team meeting, because initially you're, you're preparing for a fight with stealing, right?

So you've flown over there to go to do the rematch, um how much input, like what's your role in that moment? So you guys start piecing together a plan, you've got a range of different coaches, I guess you've all got to get on a level as a team as well and there's a language barrier, there's people coming from all different backgrounds and disciplines and you guys have to get on a page and create a cohesive plan of how we're gonna get this guy the title back, you're also preparing for for sterling and there's the whole background to that and I'm sure there's, I don't know the answer would be the right word, but there's a lot of frustration I would have imagined floating around based on what happened, so how does that work and what's your role and all of that and pulling it together? Yeah man. Um first of all, I don't know, I didn't feel any frustration from yarn, like he owned that bro, like he owned that man, he went up, I made a mistake, you know, I'm getting another shot, I'm grateful for this and I'm focused on the job at hand, so that's actually massive credit to him bro, and you know, it's funny like fast forward to being in abu Dhabi and doing the open workout.

Like his striking coach actually like got down on one knee and like put his, put his head up and hit it with a flying knee and then like put his hands up and like started laughing and ship and people asked him in the press conference after the fight man, like you know people, you're joking about this and that, like, you know, what do you say about this, is this only disrespect or whatever and he was like no man, like it's something that happened and it's it's a strike that I'm going to, I'm going to live with for the rest of my life, so it is what it is man, it's really interesting because it's a great example of just having a growth mindset, right? To be honest. In that moment it's been really interesting. There's been a few fighters recently, paul Acosta being one of them. Victoria was another one who have had genuine losses and they won't accept the loss, which means that they can never rebuild. Yeah, they can never rebuild from the right place though because they haven't admitted that they've lost. So then how do you put a plan together to get better if you don't take the learnings on board? So interesting that you say that about peter because you never know, I mean you're in camp, but you never know when you're watching through the media, you're only seeing little snippets and it did seem like he handled the whole thing really well and publicly.

He did, but it's interesting to hear that behind the scenes, that was just genuinely the case. That speaks a lot about the guy. Yeah, 100% man. And you know, he's always had a really good team around him. Um and I think that's a massive one as well as your environment, right? Like he's going, he flew in these guys, he flew in myself from Thailand he flew in his striking grappling coaches from his hometown um and then he flew in a heap of training partners as well. So going back to what you were saying earlier, yes, we were preparing for Al jemaine sterling. So that first month of fight camp was, you know, my role was to build. We went through like a stability, strength and power development phase for like 3 to 4 weeks. Um and whilst I was going through that he was focusing primarily on his grappling. So he had some really good wrestlers come in. A couple of guys from Dagestan came in to really test him with his wrestling man and you know, learn and develop that area of his game. You know, planning for al jemaine sterling. Um And then the second phase of fight camp or the next phase of fire camp, then we moved more into more um a little bit of stability work and then more power development, power endurance work for a couple of weeks.

And then we kind of transitioned to more, a little bit more focused on the, yeah, a little bit of wrestling, a little bit more focused on the jujitsu, but then incorporated some more striking ah and then the next phase was like speed, power endurance, um which then coincided with more striking based sparring with his training partners. So again, everything, everything worked really well man. And you know, I adjusted my training to work in with what the other coaches were doing and the other coaches adjusted their training to working with what I was doing, you know, I speak about this all the time. And with the um, you know, the heart rate variability and the waking heart rate and all that type of stuff to get an understanding of um you know, how much stress the organisms under and if someone's sucking, you know, when john and I first started working together years ago, you know, he'd come into strengthening, auditioning Tuesday thursday. Um and then he'd be going to train with his other coaches, you know, all the other days and I would see him getting hammered by his other coaches because everyone wants the best for him, right?

So I think they need to train him harder and harder and harder. But that meant that because I understood the importance of recovery, then I had to pull back on my training session, so I'm still doing enough to get what I could out of him, get the most out of him, but without doing over doing it and like taking away from his other training sessions. So the cool thing about being in camp this time is, you know, I'm with him the whole time, I can see what he's eating and I can see, I can see how he's performing. I can see what his energy levels are. Like, I can see, you know, when he hasn't slept well, so I'm constantly adjusting the session, but then I'm like, I'm having a chat to his other coaches as well, and, you know, watching his heart rate as he's going through. Maybe his his heavy bag work, watching his heart rate and I'm like, you know, walk up to the other coach is like giving a little bit of extra resting between rounds so we can keep that technique solid, keep that intensity high man. So yeah, really cool experience bro. Yeah, that's awesome. And what is a normal daylight, because from what I saw at Tiger anyway and you know, we were living there for, I think 9, 10 months when you guys first teed up.

So I did see you guys training together a lot and he seems like the sort of guy that you could put eight hours of training in front of him and you walk through it. Um what does an average day looks like in in fight camp, like how many sessions you're doing and what's what's the protocol? Yeah, so we were actually running a very similar program to what he was running at Tiger because that had worked well for him. Um we pretty much ran that same program, so monday would be like a position on monday morning, we train twice a day, so we would do, monday would be two sessions morning would be like a positional grappling um session, the afternoon would be like striking technique bag work. Um and then the next day would be a little bit more live rounds grappling in the morning and then a little bit of like more technical work, technical sparring, um Wednesday was just kind of a mix of anything that the coaches felt they needed, sorry, Tuesday, Tuesday morning, sorry, was the strengthening conditioning and then we went into the more technical work in the afternoon.

Um Wednesday did a hard session, had the afternoon off, focused on recovery, went sauna, ice bath, etcetera, ah and then thursday was a repeat, so thursday was strengthening edition in in the morning. Grappling in the afternoon, friday was some more technical spot, no technique works, striking technique work and then friday afternoon was sparring and then sunday was another conditioning session, so I had him three times a week, Tuesday, thursday saturday and then sunday was full day off. But yeah man, like we were just in camp the whole time, you know, so we barely actually left the camp, there's only a few days that we actually went out and you know went out on a boat and had some chill time or when we went to, there was this, there was a funny story man, there was this old Russian dude actually, so the first, the first recovery session they had a sauna on the camp right, so he went to the sauna and it wasn't hot enough, the boys didn't like it, so they contacted someone and then we're in this car, we're driving to this place man, we pull up this fucking house and I'm like what the heck is going on, coach coach, we go to whiskey bar.

Alright, sweet, so rocked up to this house man and like walking around the back of this house, got introduced this old dude um and we just walked out the shed and I walk in, there's just like homemade pool and like homemade fucking wood fired sauna bro. So that ended up becoming like a tradition, we ended up going there like every saturday recovery, saturday afternoon. So yeah, that was really cool man, that's awesome. And I assume what's it like? Just quickly peter's become a superstar in Russia, well everywhere, but I imagine in Russia it's crazy, so getting away, getting away and going to an isolated camp like that as part of that, just getting away from the public so you can focus yeah, 100% 100% and, and again, tying back into what I was just saying, like there was only a few times that we went out and um, you know, went and, and then explored and you know, had a look around and played the tourist card, but there was, as you said bro, like it's been, it's been really cool to see his journey, his growth I think when we first started working together, he had like 11 or 12,000 followers on instagram or some sh it man and like now he's got 1.21 point three million and you know, people are recognizing him everywhere and it was funny because you know, not only were people recognizing him but they were recognizing me and they were recognizing the other coaches and they would see us walking along and then they kind of like looking, you know like meerkats man, like looking around like and then they see him, then they come in like flock, there was one time we went to this place called 800 steps, it was like on this, on the coast as a massive cliff man, like a heap of steps, I think it's like 1.5 kilometers of steps to get down to the, this pebble Beach and um we went for a cruise there and, and you know, he put some stories up and then by the time we went down the bottom, hung out there for a little bit, had to swim and stuff.

We walked back up man, there was literally people running along the trail bro, like pissing sweat trying to find us mate and there was, there was one guy was like a couple of guys got photos and stuff and then they leave and then another guy like literally like saw us and came sprinting up, man pissing with sweat, probably run for like a kilometer and a half already and and he's like blah blah blah blah in Russian, I didn't, I obviously couldn't understand what was going on and then yan said something and then the dude like turned around and started running off and then everyone started laughing and then they yelled out to him, called him back, got a photo and stuff and I was like what just happened? And they're like oh that dude just came up and asked for a photo and john was like yeah yeah run down the bottom of the steps and then come back up and I'll give you a photo and the dude didn't even hesitate, he just took off and started running and that's another cool thing man like you know people don't people people and I was just saying like sucking Russians don't smile, they don't have a sense of humor mate but being in camp the whole time and I was laughing man, I was laughing so hard, I couldn't even understand what was going on most of the time right?

But just as you said like feeding off the energy man when you can't don't have that verbal communication to rely upon, you know you start relying upon you know body language, the energy and ship man like there's, there's so many times where I was laughing really hard just because the other boys are laughing, I don't even know what's happening man. Yeah I was just laughing because they were laughing, I was feeding off the energy man. Yeah that's cool man and how much I guess it's something you prepare for and all flights sports is a change of opponent at any minute. So I'm sure it's something you know that's not too new to peter but given the build up, given it was for a title, given it was the rematch, What was that process like? Because we were actually, I was messaging you on instagram when you first got over to Russia and when it had first changed, the opponent had first changed and you said uh Peter messaged me and said coach don't put too much up on instagram because sterling will pull out or something along those lines. So he was kind of prepared even before the pullout for that to happen anyway. But what was that situation like?

Then you change and you get cory and then you sort of gotta, I guess reading things a little bit in terms of the strategy and and go again. Right, yeah. Look man, um john knew from the start, he said to me he goes, sterling will pull out and you know, Not because he's a bit much maybe. Who knows? But you know, he he did have next surgery man. So there is a legitimate reason there and he thought that he was going to be ready to go October 30, obviously got back into training camp, couldn't perform the way that he wants, couldn't recover the way that he wants. So legitimate reason man. And here's the thing like would you prefer to, you know, see yarn demolished sterling and then sterling have these excuses of why wasn't ready didn't have enough recovery time or do you want to see him at his best, you know, you want to see two guys at the best. So like as far as that decision goes, it was a good move from him, probably more just the way he carried on in between that maybe takes a bit of credibility away from that. Yeah, 100%.

I mean there's a legitimate reason but that doesn't take that doesn't take away from him being a dick at times. So whatever man, that's what it is. But you know, I want to see, I want to see sterling at his best mate and I would imagine that's probably gonna happen, you know, don't quote me on this, like I'm not going off any um sources or anything like, but I would imagine it's probably gonna be, you know, late february through to late March, somewhere in that region. Um And I'm pretty sure Yarn is going to come back to Thailand because the borders have opened up a little bit and made it a lot easier. Um So I would imagine he's going to come back to Thailand for his next fight camp and probably fly in some of those same guys that are in training camp with him. But in terms of the training and how that changed man, it didn't really bro, you know, like we focused on yarn, we focused on getting him into the best shape possible to be able to fight the fight that he wanted to fight, no matter who's in front of him and that's what he's really good at, you know, he's very intelligent, he adapts to whoever's in front of him, you know, and yes, he's got a game plan, but he's very adaptable man and he figures out um you know, he always kind of, everyone always says he starts slow and finish a strong man, you know, that he uses that first round or two to kind of gauge people just have a look at their movement.

Yeah, he's just he's just making judgment calls man and then and then he comes out and he's like, you know, and then he's found his range, he's found his game playing, he's like, alright, starts, starts sucking, pulling it off, so um you know, nothing really changed in in terms of the preparation, you know, and it was relatively early in fight camp and like I said, we did that first, the first phase was very heavily focused on the grappling side of things. Um so once he pulled out and then word came in that sand Hagen was stepping in, it was going to be for an interim title, then, you know, we had that grappling base built so that it was more about like the striking the conditioning, So Yeah, yeah, that's cool man. Um it's interesting because what you're saying about his, I q I mean like you can see it happening in the in that fight with Corey, like the first couple of rounds, it's hard to see anyone beating him over five because maybe in three you can win the first round and then maybe maybe get lucky in the second and put enough pressure on him where you win in the first two rounds and then he's got to finish you in the third and he can't do it or something.

But over five, that guy's going to use the first round every time to get a read on his opponent and then it just accelerates round after round after round and like between his I. Q. And his ability to read and get a game plan together in the moment, not rely on the game plan like to be able to read what's happening and then adjust and his ridiculous conditioning base that he's got, he's got a motor that could go 10 rounds and and he's tough like how do you beat the guy? I mean, that's that's that's a piece of the puzzle that people haven't figured out yet. Yeah, I mean, I mean, let's be, let's be honest, you know, there's, there's no secret, right? Like everyone knows what his game plan is, His game plan is to keep it standing. His takedown defense is amazing. I think he's only been taken down like three or four times in his UFC career. Um you know, everyone knows he's going to keep it on the feet. So and, and you know out strike you, so, you know, knowing what someone is going to do and stopping it from happening, there are two different things and he's good enough to to you know for everyone to know what his game plan is, but also be able to implement it.

Yeah, because stan Hagen is like an incredible striker as well and he fought a hell of a good fight and maybe it was an amazing fight man, like in my like being caged side bro, it was, I was just in awe man, like just watching it all unfold and I was like man what a fucking amazing fight, what an amazing atmosphere. And it was so technical. Both guys were like you know they were they were fighting their game plan man, they were fighting the game plan and yarn just happened to um you know, be able to implement that a little bit better. One of the, one of the Staying statistics that stood out for me actually was leading into the fight, I think they're significant. Strike percentage was like I think the arms was like 58% and corey's was 56% or something like that, And then after the fight the significant strike percentage Yarn was at like 55, and Corey was like 36, So that was, that was, that was a telling stat for me, man that yarns defense is so fucking good. Yeah, yeah totally. Yeah, no it was it was absolute spectacle, I mean obviously fight of the year contender, it lived up to everything that people hoped it would live up to what's it like, what was the day like for you?

Because that's the first time that you've been in the corner, you always are part of the camp and then in that last week, you know, I guess yarn flies out of Thailand usually goes to wherever the fight is, connects with the striking coaches and corners and um this time you were there to see the full thing through, which is bloody awesome. But what, what was the experience actually like when you're preparing on the day and like, what happens behind the scenes and what were you up to? Like, tell me about that part of it? I'm getting nervous just like, reliving that man. Well, just, just such, it's a, when you go to any live fight, it's an energy that there's not many live sports that can produce that same level of energy from the crowd from, like, an intensity perspective, like, and that's as a spectator, so I can't imagine what it's like to be invested that heavily in the guy that's fighting. I mean, I've been around local fights and being part of teams and but at that level, like, I can't imagine what it's like. So talk me through it, man, I'm fascinated to know what the day is like. Yeah, man, so just rewind a little bit, give a little bit of context.

So, you know, obviously in Russia were there for, I think it was six or seven weeks um we're actually supposed to be in Russia right up until we flew to abu Dhabi but started getting cold and windy and it was like a thursday night and john was like coach maybe this weekend we go to Dubai and I was like alright, sweet and then the next day is like packing bags, we leave tomorrow. So yeah, we went to Dubai and and and started training at champs, you anywhere. Tariq, the old BJ coach from Tiger, he's working from there now Study zone mm academy there, he's doing really well by the way, really awesome facilities. Got there. So yeah man, like we were staying in Dubai marina, had a five bedroom apartment, seven dudes in there. I got hooked up with like this sweet escalade seven seater escalated that we were kicking around and it was really cool man, so it was the same thing but you know, not being on that camp, we had a little bit more freedom. We still had our meal timings together um you know, we still had our training timings together um but probably that last three weeks then yan started focusing more on, you know, the nutrition side of things.

He was focusing on nutrition throughout camp but then he really started dialing in counting his calories, um you know, reducing his food intake etcetera etcetera. So you know, those last couple of weeks, you didn't see him as much, His energy levels were a little bit low, so he was trying to conserve energy so that he could get the most out of his training sessions, et cetera. Um and then obviously as it got closer to the fight then that, you know, started amplifying and do that last week man, like I pretty much didn't see him, you know, he was just doing his own thing, he was having his own meals and you know, his, his family flew over and he wasn't really, wasn't even really spending time with them because he was, he was focused on the job, you know, so he was away from his family for 2.5 months um But yeah man like that last week leading into it, I was just taking it all in mate, I had no idea what was going on, like I've obviously been to a number of UFC events um as a spectator, but hadn't been involved with the behind the scenes and that fight week preparation leading into um five nights. So yeah man, I was just taking it all in and you know, had no idea what was going on, I was just talking the other boys like where we're going next, what are we doing now, what are our next commitments and you know, john was busy doing his media commitments and things like that and you know, we were just left to our own devices mates, I was just going to the gym training, chilling out by the pool, um, you know, going to the shopping center with the boys walking around just taking it all in man and you know, there's, there's all the other high profile athletes that are kicking around the hotel as well.

So I was just enjoying that process and come fight day. It was, it was bizarre. Made like because you know, obviously being a spectator, you go to, I'm always one of those guys, I'm not one of those people that goes to the stadium just for the main card man. Like if I'm going to an event, I'm fucking getting there prior to the first fight happening. I want to, I want to like taking the whole thing man, I'm taking all of the atmosphere and I want to see it build man to that crescendo of the main event, you know? So um you know, obviously not experiencing that being in the corner, like my roommates, they left to go to the event at like quarter to six for 6 30 kickoff and dude, I was in the hotel until like 10 o'clock man, I didn't get, I didn't go downstairs to go to the stadium until 10 o'clock, so I'm just sitting in my room alone man, like twiddling my thumbs like this, I need to go to the gym man and burn off some energy, you know, so I went to the gym, got into pump session, get a little party pump on and then uh and then walked downstairs met the other boys and like I don't know, probably maybe the only the third or fourth time I've seen you on that week man and walked up to the boy's room, gave him a big bro hug and then we all walk down together and jumped on the coach and and went to the, went to the arena and then pretty much straight out the back into the, into the change rooms and and started to warm up like fairly slow process and then obviously as it got closer and closer to fight time we started ramping up the intensity and then, and then you know, then we're walking out man and then it was cage.

So I did a funny story actually because I've never been, I've never been in the corner before right, I've got no idea what was going on. So it was a week, a week before bro, it was only a week before that I found out I was talking to one of my friends, she was flying over from the UK and probably a month or so earlier, I was like yeah you know if you're going to come to the fight to make sure you book ahead because I'm not gonna be able to get tickets like yards, got fucking heaps of people coming in like I don't want to be put in that position where I'm asking him for ships so book your tickets ahead of time, I don't want any freebies. So I thought she did that and then like a week before the fight, I'm talking to her on the phone and she's like what are the chances of getting tickets? I'm like no fucking chance, I'm like I don't even know where I'm sitting. And cyanide had just flown in from Thailand, he was on the couch, I was like that where am I sitting bro, where am I going to be in the crowd? And he looked at me like I was the fucking idiot. He goes, you're in the corner mate and I'm like oh look there you go, I'm in the corner man. So I only found out a week earlier bro that I was in the corner and uh and I said to, I said to john I was like what's my role? Like what do you want me to do? And he just looked at me and he goes coach, you control situation and I was like alright bro.

So yeah man, like rolling, sorry mate, sorry to cut you off, like there's more to that story, so like rolling into you know, being in the corner, obviously walk out, you know, it goes through the preparation gets in the cage man, like all the announcements and shit, take a seat on the stool right? And I've been told beforehand like only two coaches are allowed to go into in the octagon between rounds, I'm like alright sweet. So these two guys are going in striking grappling coach and then ding ding ding the second, so the bell goes to end the first round, they go back to their corner and the other boys get up and leave and I thought there was only two of them got up leave to go into the octagon, but the other guy went on the outside of the octagon and I'm just sitting there on my store man, I didn't even go to the corner between the 1st and 2nd round bro, I had no idea what was going on, I felt like a freaking idiot and then the next one, I was like bell went for the second to end the second round, I got up and went and like sat in the corner outside the cage man, I was actually looking for you on the tv, I was trying to watch him in between rounds to see what was going on because I was I was wondering even like the language barrier stuff in there and then whether you had a role in the corner during those times or there's so so many different complexities to it, you know with the language barrier so I was I was genuinely interested to know what you're up to in the corner, whether you're just sort of watching on whether you had a role there, may I said to I said to see where I was because I said that to you and was like what do you want me to do?

Like what's my role? And he goes coach controlled situation? All right. But then I spoke to CNN and I was like, hey man like you know, I've never been in the corner before, I don't know what to expect like what what what should I do? And he looked at me and goes you don't need to do anything. He goes, peter knows what to do, he knows what his game plan is. He goes, you're just there for support man. Like he wants you in the corner, he imprisons. Yeah, 100% bro. He goes you don't need to say anything, he knows what he needs to do. And he goes in fact like we don't want the entire corner screaming, we want one voice. Yeah exactly man. I was like yeah bro that's awesome. Like that that even that meant more to me and it gave me more understanding as to why I was there because initially I was dude, I had fucking imposter syndrome and I was like I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know why I'm here. Like why has he chosen me to be in his corner? He's got all these amazing fighters that he's been spying with, that's been in training camp with him? Like what am I bringing to his corner like? But as you said it was that energy is that truckload bro, you've been in combat and like the most hardcore situations you could possibly be in when you're in the military, you're like, you've got a wealth of experience under immense pressure.

It's, it's an energy thing, it's a, it's a, I don't want to say vibration and sound too wacky but it's that presence that you bring. Yeah, yeah, for sure man. No, I definitely appreciate it. But yeah, the come down starting to happen now, everything's, you know, I've had a few days to process it all and now I'm like all right, breathe relax. What about afterwards? Because after the fight is a amazing fight when you get back to the hotel room, I imagine that in general that's just a weird bizarre thing where you go from the stadium, that's just Electric, everything's going on and then you end up back in the hotel room often probably just with a few of you, but this time there's 150 Russians who have chartered a plane and come out and you find yourself in a situation you back at the hotel with 150 Russians who are celebrating like mad and again you probably don't know what's going on? Yeah bro. Like it was, it was, it was crazy man like by the time we, you know exited the octagon went backstage, you know, there was all the media stuff, there was all the photos, um, all the videos, interviews etcetera then there was the post fight press conference um by the time we actually got back to the hotel it was like 33 30 in the morning man, And then, you know, we walked in as you said, there was 150 Russians had flown in together um for support and you know, we got back to the hotel and we're walking in there was like, you know, massive clapping and cheering blah blah and you know, I didn't know what was going on, I was just kind of like sitting there just taking it all in, I was like this is really cool man, really amazing energy and you know just kind of soaking everything in, I don't think it really sunk in what had happened and um you know the whole night, yes, I remember everything but it was kind of like a blur because it was my first time, you know, energy levels are high, adrenaline was high.

Um you know, obviously emotions were high as well, so by the time everything kind of died down, we went back to Yarns room and it was probably like 44 30 in the morning man and you know, it was just the team, they're just the coaches and his training partners um and we just sat there had a conversation, you know, gave him congratulations and that was pretty much it bro, like didn't even have a drink or anything, by the time I got to sleep it was probably 55 30 in the morning? And my brain was just replaying everything and yeah, I only had like four hours sleep and then we had breakfast together as a team and then started making our way back to Dubai and, and had a couple of hours chill time and then had a team dinner on sunday night and then, you know, since monday I've just kind of been chilled out a little bit and just kind of spending some time alone and but yeah, we're, what day is it friday? Um so tomorrow we go to Dennis fight, so the team will be back together, some of the guys already flown out, but some of the guys are still here, so we'll get back together as a team tomorrow and go over and watch Dennis fight and he's on the cusp of breaking into the UFC as well.

So this is going to be some scouts there, if he wins this fight tomorrow night um then it's highly likely that he'll be breaking into the UFC as well man, which is really freaking cool, awesome man, that's cool now that you've had like a couple of days to sort of reflect on it, I'm assuming one of the most incredible experiences of your life, the entire thing from start to finish. What are, if you had to pull out a handful of learnings for yourself based on being around all those high level guys, the coaching, the culture in Russia, like everything you've experienced over the past 8 to 10 weeks, are there a few learnings that you've taken on board that stand out for you? Yeah man, a big one. Um that's come up for me that I'm really grateful for is the investment, you know, and, and trusting in the process because, you know, the reason I say this is because as I mentioned earlier, you know, when I first started working with the arms side, it was like, hey man, the dude's up and coming, he doesn't have any money, can you training for free? And I was like, yeah, absolutely, like this is an opportunity for me to test out my system, to build out my frameworks and you know, figure out what works and what doesn't work with these high level guys.

Um and I think it was like two or three fight camps later, he had a couple of fights in the UFC had had done quite well when a little bit of terror was starting to make ripples, um after one of the training sessions in Thailand, he uh he, he tried to pay me and I was like, no bro, don't pay me, I'm like this is this is an investment for me, I'm like, you'll pay me back one day, you know, you'll you'll you'll take me to one of your title fights and you know, that'll be that's more valuable to me than money is, So, you know, you'll pay me back one day bro. And you know, I've got to be honest, like when we went through the process of fight camp leading into the Jose Aldo title fight um last year, you know, I was I was a little bit disappointed that, you know, I wasn't invited, I wasn't part of that crew that went over for for for that fight, but in saying that I also understand the the situation and it was in the middle of a pandemic and no one knew what was going on and um you know, it is what it is and you know, I gave myself a little pep talk and I was like, you know, it's it's cool like you'll get this opportunity again and um you know, just have some faith in the process and ah and then the next fight camp was against sterling, you know, I didn't get invited to that one and I was like, funk, maybe I misread this situation and I was a little bit disappointed man, and I was like, all right, well, you know, that's not on him, that's on me for maybe misreading the situation and and and thinking that you know, maybe my contribution was more valuable than it actually is.

So I had to have an honest conversation with myself and I was like, all right, well, you know, what can I do about it, nothing other than you know, keep doing my thing, keep focusing on my process is building out my frameworks and making sure that what I'm doing is getting better and better and better and more applicable to each individual fighter that I'm working with. Um and you know, to get that message late july asking me to go to Russia man, like that was that was validation right there bro, I was like, you know, because johnny got back from that fight camp with sterling for the, for the title defense where yeah, where he lost that the belt through disqualification um and you know, I message on gave it like a week to let the dust settle and ship before I messaged him um and then I was talking to johnny and johnny was like yeah man, he was missing that snap, he was missing that power, he couldn't fight the fight that he wanted to fight and he couldn't let his hands go as much because you know, he didn't have that anaerobic conditioning so there was definitely something missing there and you know, obviously john saw that and he felt that man, so to get that message in late july asking me to go into camp with him in Russia man, like that was validation right there and I was like, you know, I could have been a fucking asshole and message yarn and been like, hey I said one day you pay me back and blah blah blah and you know, being a cunt about it and you know, funked up that opportunity yeah, just biding my time man, I was like alright, you know, what can I do better, what can I do better, how can I bring more value, how can I um you know, make high value contribution and you know that that message coming through and then getting this opportunity was just like, alright man, like you know, I have faith in the process broke, so that was a big learning for me, that's awesome, and I had no idea that all that had happened over the past and I always wondered what the situation is, that I knew johnny had gone over, obviously he was in the corner as a striking coach for that title fight, um but that's congrats to you like that, that is awesome to hear that side of the story because it just proves that take ownership of your own stuff and go above and beyond to add value, and it works out right, and like you say, trust in the process, it's a way away, call the story in a way a better answer than what I was expecting.

Yeah, so you know, that that investment for me, so many people, you know, they expect something right away, you know, they, they, man, I could, I could go like so deep in this about investment without, throughout my own career, through the coaching journey and you know, all that type of stuff, but you know that, as I said, that's an investment for me man and and you know, I I haven't said to you in this fight camp like I didn't pay for anything throughout the entire fight came like he flew me to Russia, he sorted out my visa um you know all the accommodation meals, everything was paid for man and like even if I needed some some money for a sim card or um you know to get a few little bits and pieces, like he paid for everything bro, not just for me but for his entire fight team bro, the entire team that was here, so you know, and then he actually paid me after this fight and I was like, I don't know but I don't want your money, I was like this this experience has been way more valuable than money's worth and he's like no coach, this is your job, I appreciate what you do, I respect what you do, you know, I'm going to pay you for this one blah blah blah but man, like it's it's just been a fucking incredible experience, it's been a journey um that I'm going to cherish for the rest of my life mate.

Yeah man, I can imagine, do you have a favorite moment that stands out for you or favorite moments across the last 10 weeks? Yeah man, one that stands out was after the fight, going through all the media commitments, the photos, videos, interviews, etcetera, we're sitting there in the, at the back of the room and the post fight press conference and Islam Market was up prior um talking about his preparation bola and uh you know, young man came over to me with the belt around his shoulder, he gave me a hug and he said thank you coach and man, I'm getting teary thinking thinking about this. But you know, I said, man, I'm very proud of you, like, you know what an amazing experience, I'm very grateful for, you know, inviting me into your inner circle and giving me this opportunity man and he looked at me but he had tears in his eyes man and he's like coach. I'm very emotional right now, I'm getting teary now mate. But yeah, that was probably, that was probably um one of my favorite moments, man um was just kind of like having everything culminates in that one experience.

Yeah, that's awesome bro. I mean, like I said, when I, when I messaged you after the fight, having seen from the beginning of your relationship through to winning a world title, which is obviously what every coach when you set out with an athlete, that's what you want to do, right, you want to reach the pinnacle and I know that there's another fight to come, which is to to unify the belts, but to see you in the corner for him to win that belt knowing and and being there when you guys first teed up, it was really cool to see, and I meant what I said when I said, you belong on that stage, you know, so It's really cool to hear some insights from what it's been like for you behind the scenes and particularly moments like that, because I think the investment thing is, you know, that's a really valid point when you start a business, when you are an athlete, starting out, you spend 5, 10 years investing without a return before you actually get to the top of something in any industry. And um I think that's an amazing reflection that you've taken away from it. But it also says a lot about your character because not everyone is willing to make that investment and go above and beyond to add value. Everyone wants instant gratification, but to hear that you had those kind of moments with yarn and probably deepen your connection with him between coach and fighter and man, you deserve it, I'm proud of you bro, it's awesome, thank you brother, I really appreciate that man.

Um it's a, it's a great point that you said about the investment and you know, I had one of my friends lizzie, you probably know lizzie Wright has been on the podcast numerous times. She messaged me I think two days ago and she's like, yo what are you doing with your social media, it's blown up like, what are you doing different? And I messaged back and I was like absolutely nothing, I'm not doing anything different, like, it's just, I'm pretty much, you know, I've been in a fight camp with the champion, I just want to know exactly, I'm not doing anything different man, but you know, it's, it's, as you just said, maybe like every, every overnight success is 10 years in the making me, and you know, it is, things are the last probably six months, eight months ish, like, it just seems I've had these opportunities coming up again and again and again and again, and like, I had four opportunities come up within like 2 to 3 months and one of those was going to Russia in fire camp, there's another one that, which is the next project that I'm working and I'll be flying out in two days time to go to India to work on a project over there. I had a couple of other things that have come up as well, so, um yeah, it's been a fun, amazing journey man and you know, it just goes to show again going back to that investment, if you invest in yourself and you invest in what you do and you are constantly trying to upgrade and add value and um you know, contribute to other people contribute to your own life, which then allows you to contribute to other people's lives, then, you know, that perseverance is a massive one as well man, and um you know, things are starting to pay off now and I'm really grateful to, you know, put that hard working for so many years man, there's a lot of hard work, dedication, sacrifice too to get to this point here and you know, people don't see all that stuff and I essentially walked away from a five year relationship to, to go to Tiger Mountain and start working with with fighters because I wasn't having those opportunities where I was and um you know, people don't see that stuff, they just see the tip of the iceberg all the time and it's that compound effect, right?

I had a business coach once years ago always stood out to me, stuck in my mind but started to go well after like a couple of years of really not going well and was actually struggling with the fact that it was going well and he said just accept that it's payback for the years that you put in, We didn't get anything and he said, and whatever it is that you do, there's a compound effect and at some point you get paid way more than them for what you're doing in that moment. But that's payback for the years of work that you put in where you will be rewarded and I think that's probably a pretty cool note finish couple. Yeah, absolutely dude, it's been a pleasure having a chat to you mate, I really appreciate your insights and you know, your conversational style of interviews. So thank you very much for this bro, it means a lot to me, Thanks for inviting me on man, giving me the opportunity to chat about it uh and yeah I could sit here and talk to you for another couple of hours but I know you gotta shoot away and and deal with the client so we'll wrap it up there man, but we're sure the best. I know you've got some exciting stuff coming up with this other project that you can't speak on yet but I'm pumped for you for that man and I'm really excited to see what the future holds with you and yang and any of the other fighters that you're working with because you're amazing at what you do bro and you deserve all the success that you get So good stuff, keep it going brother, thank you brother, I really appreciate it, appreciate you as well bro.

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Fight camp with the UFC interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan
Fight camp with the UFC interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan
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