B.C.’s Rory MacDonald is sportsnet.ca’s latest Ultimate Blogger and share his thoughts ahead of his UFC 145 fight against Che Mills on April 21 in Atlanta.
Fight week is finally here and I can’t wait to get my hands on my next opponent, Che Mills, and add him to my list of beaten victims. I’ve been preparing for this moment for weeks, months even, and am so close I can almost taste it. The hard work is done, the time is nearly up, and I’m itching to show the world what I’ve been working on all this time.
In terms of my schedule this week, I mainly have UFC obligations to take care of, including media interviews, press conferences and so on, all stuff I am happy to do. Then I’ll train once a day, usually late, just to keep me sharp and keep my heart rate up. I’ll also be keeping a close watch on my diet during this time, as the weigh-in takes place on Friday.
When you put all of that together — the media obligations, the training and the weight cut — there really isn’t that much time left for downtime or sightseeing. Your mind is constantly occupied and there is always something to do or think about.
If I do happen to stumble upon some downtime, I’ll usually just rest up in bed or watch something stupid on television. There’s not a whole lot else I try to do during this final week. I’ll either be doing what I have to do or nothing at all.
My weight cut has been the same for the past three fights and I’m now on a programme that is enjoyable and one that makes the cut much easier for me. I’m currently in a position where I can get rid of the weight through dieting over a sustained period of time, rather than knocking it off quickly in the sauna in the final hours before the weigh-in. That is a much healthier way of doing things and makes me feel a lot better during my actual fight. I’m more disciplined now, more aware of the needs of my body and have made changes which allow me to fight to my potential come Saturday night.
Sleep has always been something that I find very easy to do before a fight. When you’re coming off a weight cut and are full up on food, you wouldn’t believe how nice it is to get your head down on a pillow and sleep it off. I’m out like a light as soon as I settle down. There isn’t even time for the fight to come into my head at that point.
On the day of the fight itself I’m usually pretty focused and in the zone. I get quieter and quieter as the fight creeps up on me, and that’s probably the moment when people start to leave me alone and just allow me to get my game face on.
During the actual day, though, I’m fairly easy going and treat it as just any other day. I like to hang around familiar faces and do familiar things. I don’t like to wake up with nerves and think too much about the fight.
Yes, there is a time and place to start switching on and thinking about the fight, but, ideally, that moment arrives once you are in the changing room, ready for action. You don’t want to clog up your brain with those kind of thoughts hours or days beforehand. The way I see it is if you’re tense in your mind, you’re going to be tense in your body as well. Believe me, you don’t want to exhaust yourself before stepping into the Octagon.
When I’m actually walking to the Octagon on fight night, my focus becomes more intense and I’m thinking more about specific techniques and moves I plan to use. Everything becomes more defined and accurate at this stage. Rather than just a fight, it becomes a test of technique, and I’m strategizing, going over in my head what tricks I can use to get the better of my opponent as quickly as possible.
There won’t be any negativity in my head at this point. No doubt, anxiety or fear. I don’t allow any of that stuff to enter my head. If anything, this is the most confident and self-assured I have ever been in my life. You have to be, moments before you step in the Octagon and fight. You have no other choice.
As far as the fight is concerned, I hope to achieve what I always hope to achieve. I plan on showing techniques that I’ve been working hard on in the gym and, as always, try to project a better version of myself than the fans saw last time I fought.
Oh, and I’m gunning for another stoppage win. The quicker, the better…
Canada’s Rory MacDonald takes on British striker Che Mills on Saturday, April 21 at UFC 145, live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Watch live prelims on Sportsnet, starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.