B.C.’s Rory MacDonald returns as Ultimate Blogger to share his thoughts ahead of his UFC 145 fight against Che Mills on April 21 in Atlanta.
I’m writing this first pre-fight blog on a Sunday, my rest day, and the one day dedicated to allowing my body to recover from the rigours of training. By this stage, I’m desperate for the rest day to come around.
Usually on a day off I’ll wake up, go to church, relax in a hot tub and cold bath, allow my muscles to recover and injuries to heal, and then after that I’ll just focus on eating well, chilling out with friends and staying away from the gym. My Sundays have followed this pattern pretty much since I started camp ahead of my fight on April 21st against English puncher Che Mills.
Rest days are vital to a fighter, and every bit as important as a training day, really. You need days like this to aid recovery and then allow your body to push itself during the next session. If you don’t make the most of these rest days, your body will suffer from wear and tear and gradually break down, meaning all that hard training you’ve done will, ultimately, be a little bit pointless.
I feel absolutely awesome right now, to tell you the truth. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good or healthy during a training camp. I’m really on top of my injuries and my niggles and am so far — touch wood — able to concentrate purely on getting my body into the best shape it’s ever been in. I’m getting lots of massages, seeing an osteopath, staying on top of rehab exercises, warming up and warming down in the right way, and just generally monitoring my body and its needs a lot better than I’ve ever done in the past.
In fact, going into the last fight I had scheduled, against Brian Ebersole at UFC 140 before Christmas, I was riddled with injuries. I was just coming off a shoulder injury, then had a hip injury, a quad injury and then finally the back and front of my knee became injured.
It was just one thing after another and was a horrible ordeal to go through. I wasn’t really able to train much and it seemed like each injury would occur around the time that a previous injury had started to clear.
When the eight-week fight camp started, I had to avoid training altogether for the first four weeks, simply because my body was broken down and unable to function the way it needed to. That meant I had only four weeks in total to train for Ebersole. I wouldn’t even be able to train properly during that time period, and sparring would have been off the agenda.
Looking back, I wasn’t able to start properly training until, what would have been, the week of the fight. In hindsight, I had no choice but to pull out of the bout even though I really wanted to fight on that big Toronto card.
I want a long and successful career in this sport and, in order to achieve that, you have to take care of your body. I don’t want to be one of those guys that does stupid things in preparation, takes risks when they shouldn’t and then ends up paying for it in the long run. Longevity in this sport is really important to me, and I want to be someone that is competing and dominating for a very long time.
You learn from experience and you learn from your mistakes. Although I’m only 22 years of age, I have packed a lot into a short space of time and have had a lot of fights in my career. That means a lot of training camps and a lot of time to learn, pick things up from others and gradually improve the way in which you prepare for a fight. Everybody is different and everybody has their own routine and way of doing things, and the real key is to look at all these different methods and eventually find the one that is best suited to you.
I’m not just saying it for hype — I genuinely feel as though I’ve finally found the methods that best work for me, and I couldn’t be happier right now. I’ve found my niche. This is going to be the start of something big — something that takes my game to the next level.
In truth, I’ve really been upset with the way my career has gone in the last few years. Sure, there have been good wins along the way, but I’ve been disappointed with the pattern it has taken and the inactivity that I’ve suffered as a result of injuries. It has been very stop-and-start, and it seems as though whenever I start building momentum and get a big win, something pulls the rug out from under me and I’m forced to sit on the sidelines for a few months. I’ve never really enjoyed the benefits of a solid rhythm or clear schedule. That’s just never come my way.
I’ve made a goal, a pact with myself to try and fight three times a year from this point on, starting with Che Mills on April 21st. After beating Mills at UFC 145, I’m really keen to stay busy, stay healthy and then get out again not long after, perhaps some time during the summer.
That’s not to say I’m looking past Mills, however. I know he is dangerous and I know I’ll have to be at my best to beat to win, but, unfortunately for him, he’s definitely going to get beaten on April 21st …