Typically when I fight somewhere, there are around 100 people or so that end up flying out to wherever I am fighting. They spend money on tickets to the event, airfare, hotels, food, etc. I have brought armies to Colorado, Omaha, Florida, California and Las Vegas but none have been anything like fighting at home. It had been over 4 years since I fought at home and the welcoming back was amazing.
I have always had a great support network at my fights, but this one was unbelievable. I can’t express how thankful I am to have such a strong following here. My friends are the best and you guys all came out in force. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.
In the old days my training camp mainly consisted of Joe Pomfret, Chris and Jay Palmquist and a couple other guys. This camp was the largest and the best though. Fighting really is a team effort.
Joe Pomfret is the beginning and the end of all things fighting for me. “Fight Dad” got me started and is always the last guy in my ear before a fight. He says the right things at the right time… even when at the time I don’t always 100% agree. He is always right though.
Steve Maze was pulling for the knockout of the night… but what boxing coach wouldn’t be? He had me SHARP for this fight. You only got to see a couple punches before I took the fight to the ground, but had we been on our feet for longer or even the whole fight, you would have seen a huge improvement there.
Steve Baccari is like duct tape. Whether I have an injury and need some kind of rehab exercise, I am just having a bad day and need a quote to laugh at, or need to work on smashing someone on the inside… Steve is the guy. Steve has been involved in one form of brutality or another for 30 years and is the go to guy. It’s always a good idea having someone watch over me to make sure I don’t do anything stupid in training…
Chris Palmquist gets ish done. Chris runs and structures a LOT of my training sessions and just keeps me focused on the fight. There is no one I depend on more than Chris. Period. Chris does everything from scheduling doctors appointments, getting me licensed, handling tickets and t-shirts, covering classes when I have something going on to being one of my best training partners in the gym. If anyone in the gym could best emulate Gabe Ruediger, Chris was clearly the best match. Chris looks like the nerdy office guy with the receding hairline that couldn’t do anything…. and next thing you know you are at Plymouth Plantation face down unconscious in a bush. Whatever needs doing… Chris is my guy. He is also the guy I am coming looking for when I find half a dozen credit cards opened in my name that I know nothing about.
I was fortunate enough to start working with Abmar Barbosa for this fight. Saying Abmar has sick Jiu-Jitsu is like saying water is wet. He has tightened up my game a LOT and gave me a lot of confidence going into this fight. Not all black belts and created equal and Abmar is just dirty.
Kyle Holland and Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning helped me out a TON for this fight. I am sure was a lot stronger than Gabe expected and I was throwing him around from the moment I got my hands on him. I started working out with Kyle like 3 months before the fight and it couldn’t have gone any better. I will take this next week off but I can’t wait to get right back into it with Kyle.
I had two groups of training partners for this fight… because we had the Terry Etim crew and then the Gabe Ruediger crew. This isn’t possible without guys like Jack Wilmarth, Lorenzo Kane, Mike Dunny, Josh Grispi, Joe Proctor, Josh Laberge, Evan Scott, JP White, Tony Ellison, Micro and anyone else I may have concussed, cut, slammed, dropped, injured, or otherwise made them dread coming into the gym.
You guys all keep my sharp and bring out the best in me. That was all of us in there. So thanks to everyone that played a part in any of this.
And a VERY special thanks to Steve Maze’s family for hosting dinner after weigh-ins. I can never again hold it against Steve for eating as much as he did after having his mom’s cooking. Thanks!