Lessons

Lessons: It was a great pleasure for the squad to train with the great UFC champion Rose Namajunes and her fiancé Pat Barry. On the surface we taught her leg locks, but on a deeper level she taught us all a much deeper lesson years ago. I was at UFC 217 with Georges St Pierre for his fight with Michael Bisping at Madison Square Garden in NYC. At the ceremonial weigh ins all the fighters came out to square off – it was a packed arena even for the weigh ins. I was sitting there when Ms Namajunas came out to square off against the extremely formidable Joanna Jedrzejczyk. There was a collective gasp around the arena when they squared off as it looked like a child being matched against a powerful adult. I heard someone whisper, “I hope that poor girl doesn’t get hurt too badly.” That pretty much summed up what everyone was thinking. The next night we were all in the group locker room warming up. As Ms Namajunas went out for her match, there was the same collective feeling of dread for what seemed like a lamb being taken out to slaughter. Then something interesting happened. The whole locker room, filled with athletes who had fought already and the few remaining to fight, stopped what they were doing and started to watch the terrible mismatch. You could feel an electric tension building in the room as Thug Rose started taking the fight to her powerful opponent. Everyone, even Georges St Pierre, who never gets distracted by anything, stopped their workout and watched this battle of David and Goliath. Suddenly Thug Rose landed a blow that dropped Joanna!! The entire locker room erupted!! As the fight resumed everyone was on their feet and screaming! Then another blow and Thug Rose followed Joanna to the floor and won! The room went crazy!! Fighters who normally don’t even talk to each other were slapping high fives and hugging, Freddy Roach, who didn’t even know who Thug Rose was was smiling and nodding, Firas was punching the air and jumping up and down! In all my years of coaching I never l saw anything like it! NEVER count out a trained and motivated individual who has courage in their heart no matter what appearances may say – that was her great lesson to us.

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