Edge Coaches on training for Connor McGregor
Posted on November 21, 2016 in Athlete Interviews, Press
UFC 205 was the biggest card in recent history, how did you get involved with helping so many athletes?
A lot of these athletes are former wrestlers and Jiu Jitsu fighters who understand wrestling is key to MMA success. They know about Edge from personal experiences of their friends or from referrals, such as former fighters and athletes who have worked out here. They especially come to work with Dave Esposito. They know Dave, and the professional fight community knows there is knowledge here with our excellent group of coaches. Once they come to work with us at Edge, I think they really respect what we have to offer and our commitment to our athletes. Just like anything else, we have guys who are continuously learning how to coach and training ourselves.
We are always getting better and trying to understand key technical details of how we can be more effective coaches. Our main focus is how we can help these guys.
What major differences do you teach in relation from pure wrestling, to wrestling for MMA?
The one thing that I do differently is understand everyone has their own style, and not try to change that. I keep their strengths as the focus. What I do is adapt the wrestling to fit their style, so it is fluid. If there is a boxer, we are going to use his strikes to compliment his wrestling. We would focus on his striking to open opportunities for takedowns and takedown defense.
After months of training with Eddie Alvarez, the fight didn’t go as planned. However, what were some of the details you were working on to prepare him for Conor McGregor?
What we were doing was trying to focus on closing the distance, to be able to control the positions on the cage. We wanted Eddie to be able to keep the pressure there or convert it to a takedown. Most importantly, controlling the clinch and maintaining the dominant position was a big part of the strategy.
After UFC 205, Demain Maia did a seminar for Edge students. What was it like learning from Demian for a change?
It was great. It was good to learn from the most dominant Jiu Jitsu athlete in the sport of MMA. My Jiu Jitsu could certainly use it. As athlete and as a coach, the best thing to take away from that experience is to see what Demian is seeing in these positions. From his perspective as a wrestler, we may look at the same positions very differently. It helps me to see other opportunities.
What’s next for your pro camps?
Joao Zeferino will be fighting at Madison Square Garden Theater for the World Series of Fighting Lightweight Title. It will only be the second MMA event at MSG and in New York City. A few athletes we work with from Villa de Lutta (in Sao Paulo, Brazil) will have fights coming up in December. Many of our guys just wrapped up, including Neiman Gracie, Liam McGeary, and Rafael Natal. It will be a nice focus for Zeferino and a relatively quiet holiday season for all of us. I think I will enjoy some college wrestling. I might take a trip down to Costa Rica and partake in Warren’s Costa Rica Jiu Jitsu camp. www.puravidabjjcamp.com
Kody Hamrah coaches Pro Camps at Edge School of Wrestling.