In this article I will discuss the importance of having a great fight camp (training camp) and how fighters can benefit from it when fighting in mixed martial arts (MMA). MMA is a combative sport which incorporates striking and grappling, most MMA fights take place inside a cage. To prepare for an MMA fight a fighter usually goes through a training camp which will be 8 to 10 weeks long. In the weeks leading up to the fight the fighter will go through rigorous training to work on strength, conditioning, cardio, and skills.
During the training camp the fighter and coaches will study their opponent as much as they can, they will analyze footage of their opponent’s most recent fights in an effort to determine their strengths and weaknesses. The coaches will then try to find training partners who fight similar to the opponent their fighter is training to fight. Once this has been done the fighter and his / her coaches will develop a strategy to win the fight.
The routine that a fighter goes through in a training camp will vary from one fighter to another based on the fighters background and based on the background of the fighter’s opponent. For example a fighter who is well versed in wrestling and jiu jitsu who will be fighting against a kick boxer will bring kick boxers into the training camp to help them prepare for the fight. In the training camp the wrestling / jiu jitsu specialist will focus on using different techniques to neutralize the striking techniques of the kick boxer and take the kick boxer down where he / she can apply their jiu jitsu skills where the kick boxer is out of their element.
If a kick boxer will be fighting a grappler who is well versed in wrestling and jiu jitsu the kick boxer will bring some grapplers into the training camp to help them prepare for the fight. In the training camp the kick boxer will focus on neutralizing the grapplers take-downs to keep the fight standing up, where the kick boxer can apply all their kickboxing techniques while the grappler is out of their element. The first half of the training camp will include long low intensity workouts. The intensity of the workout will increase in the middle of the training camp, the last few weeks leading up to the fight the intensity of the workouts will decline. The final week of the training camp is a time when the fighter reflects on the training they have done over the past 8 - 10 weeks. This is a time where the fighter should feel as though they are at their peak. They should feel physically, mentally, and emotionally strong and they should be confident that they have done everything they can do to win the fight.
In MMA there are many injuries that occur during training some are serious and some are not. If a fighter is training for a fight and he / she gets a bad cut on their face or a serious injury 1 week before the fight, the fight promoter will try to fight a replacement for this fighter. In most cases the fighter who replaces the injured fighter will not have the privilege of going through a proper training camp to prepare for the fight.
Here are some of the cons of not having a proper training camp:
- The fighter isn’t in good enough cardio vascular shape to fight hard for the duration of the fight thus the fighter will get tired and his / her techniques will become less effective as the fight progresses.
- The fighter will be fighting against a more experienced opponent who is unlike any of their training partners or previous opponents which means the fighter may be physically and mentally at a disadvantage going into the fight knowing that they did not have ample time to prepare for this fight.
- The fighter may have a hard time making weight, there are different weight divisions that fighters compete in and most fighters who are not in a training camp will be heavier than what they weigh at the time of the fight. With a good training camp, proper diet and nutrition the fighter will lose weight slowly as the fight date approaches. However, a fighter who did not go through a training camp may find it difficult to lose 20lbs in 1 week. MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and having a great training camp is crucial to the success of an MMA fighter.