I’m back again to share my thoughts and experiences and blog for Five Ounces of Pain leading into my fight next Saturday night against Mizuto Hirota at Strikeforce in Portland.

I got to go to India for the first time in April for my brother Ryan’s fight.  India was awesome.  I’m all about travel and I think that’s one thing MMA has provided me with that I would have otherwise not gotten the chance to do is travel the world.  India was just another piece of that.  It was much different than what I expected.  I expected it to be like China, which is really urban.  When you’re in the city, you are in the city you know?  It’s 100 miles per hour and tall building everywhere.  India was different.  The houses weren’t as modern as you’d expect; at least in the part of India we were in (Chandigarh) but it was an amazing experience.  Everybody pretty much spoke English, so you could communicate with them openly.   I got to try new things, especially food-wise.  I’ll try anything once.  Curry’s hard for me though.  I’m not a big fan of curry, and pretty much everything was curried out there.  That was tough to get used to, but like I said, I’ll try anything once!  There’s no point in going somewhere and not experiencing something to the fullest.

The Super Fight League is doing a really good job out there.  They’re building an organization that will last.  They’re getting a lot of attention from the media, and Sanjay Dutt and Raj Kundra alone draw so much attention themselves.  Basically whatever they do, all eyes are on them.   It seems like the media’s growing on the heavyweights, and fans seem to love them too.  They’re going after the heavyweights, and it boggles my mind a bit, but hopefully fans will open up a bit more to the other weight classes too.

I think honestly, someday, I might end up in Asia.  Somewhere in Asia.  I really have a good time out there, and there’s just this old school feel of respect.  Nothing’s based on money like out here.  Everything seems to be so superficial, from the car you drive to what kind of clothes you wear.  Everywhere I’ve been in Asia doesn’t seem to be like that.  I got the same feeling when I was in China.  Matt Lindland just got back from Thailand, and he said the exact same thing.  They have this healthier lifestyle too, with their food and things.  You don’t see fast food everywhere.  All the food is really fresh, and not loaded with preservatives.

Enough of culture, eh? Let’s talk about next week.  Here’s how I ended up fighting Hirota.  I admit, I always want to fight, and I’m ready to fight but Strikeforce has limited events.  It’s not like the UFC where they’re holding a ton of events per year.  I think Strikeforce only has around eight planned this year.  So it’s kind of a scramble.  Everybody wants to get on every show, and I was in their ear right after my last fight.  They told me that they wanted to bring somebody in, and I had no idea who.  Then they came with Mizuto.  I think he’s a great opponent and I’m glad they got him.  He’s a former world champion from World Victory Road, and I was pretty excited when I got the match-up.  He’s got great stand-up, good hands and footwork, and I always like to fight those guys.  I like to put myself in there against the stand-up guys.  I know everybody trains everything these days, but still, I always like that grappler vs. striker match-up.  I always think that’s cool.  I think he’s going to stop me from doing what I want to do, and I want to stop him doing what he wants to do.  Both of us kind of trying not to play each other’s game.  I think it always makes for an interesting fight.

Last time, I had mentioned that Dr. Steve (MentalTrainingProgram.com) had been helping me prepare my mental game for Caros Fodor.  I’ve been training with him again.  Dr. Steve is a huge asset to have.  He`s been a fan of combat sports forever, and he`s always had that interest.  He`s a clinical psychologist, and he wrote a book about combat athletes and mental toughness.  I think I was the first athlete he worked with on a regular basis.  He lives in Maine, so we`ll Skype a lot.  He has these different projects for me, and every day there will be a different project, from visualization or different targets.  It just really helps me and one thing I was talking to him about this time is – What happens when you just feel so confident?  What happens when everything is going perfect, and I feel like nothing`s going wrong?  I feel like I`m on top of my game and I`m going to get in there and crush the guy.  Not to take anything away from Hirota, but I feel like everything`s clicking in my game right now.  It was almost to the point where I`ve thought about whether I`m taking this fight too lightly, or not giving him enough credit?  But he let me know that a lot of great athletes like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods (not to compare myself to them by any means) have that kind of confidence, and what separates them from guys that are just overconfident are that, 1.) They`ve done the work, which I always feel like I`ve done, and 2.) They`re always ready for a storm.  This is like the calm before the storm.  That storm can come before the fight, or during.  Basically at any time.

He`s kept me focused on those points, helping me prepare and get ready for anything.  I feel like I`m prepared for anything to happen, whether good or bad.  That`s just the difference between being overconfident, and being ready.  I`d say I spend at least a half hour a day to an hour a day on my mental training.  I do a morning routine as soon as I get up, and it`s a bit of a moving meditation that keeps me focused on the fight and sets the tone right in the morning.  From there, I keep my whole day focused, and I think that`s one tool he`s taught me is to get wired-in first thing in the morning, so that you can get ready to set out on those goals you hope to accomplish.

Last time as well, I found that the weight cut to 155 was gradually getting easier.  This time, it is going even better.  I was only nine pounds over on Monday, which is usually where I start my last week.  I was able to afford myself what Mike Dolce calls an “earned meal.”  It was normally what I eat, but just a bigger portion.  It is so great for your morale when you can control your weight, and just be on top of it to where you`re not hurting and dying every day.  It`s such a great morale booster, especially going into a fight in my backyard.  I think there`s always a little of added pressure.  Strikeforce created a section of 150 tickets for my family, friends and supporters, and it sold out so quickly that my family couldn’t even get in on it, so I know I’ll have a ton of support that night.  I really feed off that.  I like being in that moment, and having the crowd riled up and cheering, and chanting your name as you come out.  Or maybe you’re tiring in that third round, and you hear the crowd getting super pumped and behind you.  It’s a great feeling when you’ve got the people behind you.

Before I go, I’ve got to touch upon Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen‘s fight this weekend.  As a Team Quest guy, let me say I’ve never seen Chael so focused.  He is 100% focused and determined.  It’s going to be such an interesting night.  Anderson’s been looking so good, but Chael is just so ready.  He says a lot in interviews, but I’ve known him for 10 years, and his lifelong goal has been to win a world championship.  When he says that in interviews, it’s no lie.  He’s been focused on that his whole life.  It seems like he’s just a machine right now.  He did a lot of things in his training he didn’t do last time, like fly in a bunch of really good grapplers and strikers to work with.  Here in Oregon, most of the 185ers are wrestlers, and Chael can outwrestle 99.999% of everybody.  I don’t think they were exactly the right look, so this time he brought in all types of guys, and I think that’s going to be what makes a difference.  Anderson is so scary every second of the fight, but I see Chael closing the distance, getting in on him and taking it to him.  I think Chael’s going to win one of the most tense five-round decisions you could ever have.

That wraps up Bam vs. Wild this week.  See you next week for a final blog before my bout!