Interview with Rocci Williams – UK MMA Fighter

So this is an interview that I did with Rocci Williams, a UK mixed-martial artist who recently made his comeback fight on September 5, 2009 (he’s the bloke on the left with the ripped abs).

rocci

He’s been following the Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program for a few months now, using it for his last boxing match, and this latest MMA bout.

He shot me an email after this fight telling me the circumstances of the fight and I thought it’d be really helpful for those of you who are less experienced or about to have your first fight to hear exactly what goes through your head before a match and how to deal with it.

He shares everything he’s gone through in finding the right coaches, to being put into fights he wasn’t prepared for, to learning to be in control of what fights you take and don’t take. He’s also from the UK – so to me, the shit he says sounds pretty funny, plus he’s got a pretty good sense of humour.

Rocci also tells you how he started out doing strength and conditioning, doing all the ‘hardcore’ stuff, but it not really leading to gains where it counts – in the cage.

I’ve seen this all too often with fighters, which is one of the reasons why I put the Ultimate MMA program out there.

OK so enough background, enjoy the interview.

– Eric

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START OF INTERVIEW
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1) Rocci, give us a little bit of your background and history in MMA in both training and competition.

I didn’t grow up with any martial arts or boxing background, although with a name like Rocci it was only a matter of time before I done some form of combat. When I got in my twenties I joined a club that claimed it taught Vale Tudo when in fact it was a local jujitsu guy adding a few strikes to the mix, from here I got thrown into my first cage fight with only a set of balls and a tough chin, skills and conditioning didn’t enter my game this was then added to loss after loss and a massive destruction in any natural confidence that I once had.

I then came across a boxing coach who was willing to adapt and change her way of coaching to help toward the striking of MMA, by this time I had joined another supposedly MMA club which was only an hour and a half once per week, but striking was picking up and I started to feel confident again, I re-entered the cage with some skills but still conditioning and other skills I felt were lacking, I ended up dropping the guy in the first minute but made a mistake in which he capitalized and using his superior wrestling skills to mount and ground and pound me until the ref stopped the fight – this however was a positive loss. I was getting frustrated so I decided to take myself seriously and not let money grabbing promoters shove me in with opponents that were above my station.

I took a year out and in this year had the luck of meeting a freestyle wrestling coach, so now I had a boxing and a wrestling coach I had padded out my garage and filled it with the necessary equipment, I called in sparring partners from back grounds such as jujitsu, boxing and muay thai all the pressure was on me as I was in control of my training, I spent hours reading material on training for mma, kettlebells, flipping tires you name it I acquired it, I was striving to better my game, then my coach came across the Ultimate MMA Strength and conditioning package which included Nutrition–itsu, the mental game by Brian Cain and cutting weight safely, I read it and took a chance on following it.

2) Now this latest fight – tell us how it all went down including who you were up against and what all the circumstances were leading up to the fight.

Firstly I had to pick a promoter that I thought wouldn’t stitch me up with an unfair match up, they got me a guy who was mainly stand up and his record was 4-3-0, this seemed ok so I took it, well anyway 2 weeks prior to the event my opponent had pulled out with an injury, they then matched me up with an opponent that was 2-2-0 this seemed also like a good match up as I only had 1 win out of my six fights.

On the day of the fight I felt tired, sick and heavy, I had spent a year out of the cage training out of my little garage against a guy who trained from the London fight factory, known for its good BJJ and wrestling so naturally I was thinking what this guy was going to do, he knew my record was poor and that may have given him that edge, now I knew my hands were good as I entered a couple of unlicensed boxing matches during my year out to stay active, I won both by unanimous decision, but this was MMA and all I could remember were my losses in the cage.

So I was told I had to do an interview, I walked into the room where this was taking place and there was my opponent doing his bit for the camera, my ears perked up and I heard everything as if my life depended on it, then I heard something that for me screwed up my mental process, the lady asked how many fights he had, his answer was ‘I have had 8 pro fights with 6 wins 1 draw and 1 loss’ this guy has had more wins then I have had MMA fights, but even that was BS as I later found out, man he was arrogant and sure of himself, he then proceeded to say that he trains in Japan and that was it I was thinking all kinds of crazy stuff, these words came into my head – Samurai – Pride – Jujitsu, it sounds funny but the mind plays tricks on you and I had wet pants.

After his cocky interview he came over and asked if I was Rocci I answered ‘good luck for tonight’ and then just stared through him, but at this time I just didn’t think I would win but I knew I had to look as though I didn’t give a crap!

3) What were you thinking in the moments before the fight, for example, in the warm-up area in the locker room, walking into the cage (ring?), during the stare down, and before the initial bell?

Now this was the first time I had my wrestling coach in my corner and in fact the first time I had a decent corner team, we were going through the warm-up and I was so nervous that I felt as though I had never done wrestling before. To add to the whole pressure I was first fight and it seemed as though I had only a few minutes before that call came in that I was on in 3 minutes, my legs started to feel shivery and my nuts felt as if they were trying to hide, I looked into the mirror to see if I could see fear in my eyes.

Making my way to the entrance I could hear the buzzing of the crowd getting hyped up wanting to see action, in my head I was telling myself don’t rush in because some fat drunk bloke wants to see blood, and trust me I have done this in the past and it has cost me, I am in control of my actions, I also knew more than anything that I could go 3 rounds and I wasn’t concerned about getting over and done with for the sake of gassing out.

My two coaches and I are standing behind the curtains waiting for my announcement at this time I am light on my toes I am starting to feel it, I DON’T GIVE A CRAP, I DON’T GIVE A CRAP, my boxing coach and I touch fists as we do before every pad session, she then says ‘tonight Rocci is the beginning’ I take off my t-shirt and walk down toward the cage, not hearing music or crowd noises just seeing the cage and the bright lights, I enter, go over to my corner the words of advice from my coach were as follows ‘Hunt him and Hurt him’, I turn around see my opponent with that smug look as my record of 5 losses and 1 win gets called out, I’m ok as I have my trigger hands (if you ever watch BJ Penn in his corner before his fight his hands are shuffling around his chin waiting to explode, I also do this to get me in my zone, to get me ready) I see him with his hands dangling as he is bouncing side to side, my instincts tell me that he wont stand with me even though he claimed earlier in his interview that he would implement his muay thai, the ref call us in, I look through him, now I have him! I saw a glimpse of uncertainty.

4) I’ve talked a bit about your success with my Ultimate MMA program in some of my previous emails, but tell us exactly what you were doing before, what the results were, and what your results were after following the Ultimate MMA program.

I was trying out programs that involved Tabata, sledge hammer, punching drills, burpees and kettlebells, at one point I got addicted to gaining equipment that would help my performance, I was following protocols that I believed that would help improve my strength and conditioning and at the time I was around 87kg I wasn’t overly muscular and on the other hand I wasn’t ripped like you would expect to see from a pro fighter, but then I took your advice before my second boxing match as I had to get down to 77kg and it was on the day weigh in with no time to replenish or hydrate it had to be all conditioning.

I was performing Crazy 8s and following the Nutrition-itsu guidelines and before I knew it I had a ripped core I actually weighed in at 77 with all my clothes on, and that fight was a breeze I won in dominating fashion against a boxer who had won his last two by first round KO, again I didn’t question my fitness at all (click here to watch this boxing match).

rocci-before1rocci-after1

I then went on to follow the Ultimate MMA program from start to finish, working through the phases, now following these to the last detail is a must, I planned my time out and made a massive commitment to follow this program, I believe that all the phases help build a foundation that I was missing when I was mindlessly flipping tires old school style.

I knew this was working for me as I was out working my sparring partners in the evening and being able to produce great gains during the day doing the strength and conditioning program, I was on it physically.

5) So what’s next for you?

Being one of the lucky winners of the Advanced Power for MMA I will definitely implement the program; I have 100% confidence in your training and know that it will take me to the next level.

I will be looking to fight in January, although there is the opportunity to fight sooner I feel I have been in control of every decision for the last year and they have been the right ones, so I will start following the program mid September, also working on tightening up my mma game as I feel there were areas that need improving, the footage will give me a better idea but until then its time for me to take a well deserved break.

Additional – being put into fights when your not 100% ready can have a massive effect on your mental game, my advice is to plan and prepare, you don’t want to be asking yourself if you have covered every aspect just before the ref asks if your ready to fight!

Turns out that in total my opponent had a total of 17 pro and semi pro fights with 6 losses, if I knew this before I would have definitely not have taken the fight, I had doubts that I would win, but I wanted to win badly and that’s what got me the ‘W’ I believe the fight was a clinical performance transitioning naturally, going with the quote of BJ Penn – Flow with the Go! Result Rocci Williams – Winner by rear naked choke 1min 40 in the first round – and I’m no jujitsu guy!

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END OF INTERVIEW
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This is the program Rocci used – that you can get started on RIGHT NOW to stop wasting time in the gym and take your performance to the next level, but if you do get it, make sure to follow Rocci’s advice and STICK WITH IT:

book-cover-big
Click Here to Get Started

Awesome job Rocci, way to throw down and win a big comeback fight! We all definitely look forward to hearing more about your results in the future, and thanks for all of the great tips that any fighter can use to improve. If you got anything make sure to thank Rocci personally.

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[…] Williams first started training using my programs in 2009. I did an interview with him on this site over a year ago. He’s still going strong and has been fighting […]

paulo nogueira
paulo nogueira

ricci hello my friend, you have a nice success story and give you my congratulations, I am black belt in jiu jitsu, and s welcome in my country when I want to train with me and my friends
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Big Kevin

Fascinating insight into how to win the mental game. I’m sure you’re going to be a huge star in the near future.

Shaughn
Shaughn

Hey Rocci,

Good stuff with the W, your story is really inspiring as I am considering competing, and to “get” what its about before i start is such a blessing! good on you man!

Eric,

Im really considering ordering your package but it is a lot of money for me! So please man tell me its really is as good as you say it is! as i cant actually afford it!lol

God bless with all your endevours, both of you!
Shaughn

Eric

I stand behind it 100% dude…

It’s not for you if you’re not going to take it seriously and put it to use…

But don’t just take my word for it – it’s worked for lots of fighters before you, and if you’re willing to put in the effort, it’ll work for you too…

glen
glen

Hi Eric,

I have been following your crazy 8 program and its really good.I want to know what form of fighting is best to equip me with close contact fighting skills like street fighting or to defend…Which is better MMA or Muay Thai fighting?

Eric

Hi Glen,

Honestly, the best for street fighting is this program done by my friend Jeff Anderson over at http://www.closequarterscombat.com...

mike
mike

rocci, i can definately relate to your feeling before the fight and your story is truly inspiring to me. when i think about heading into my first bout i think of how excited i would be if i ever got a knockout but i can also imagine it to be extremely nerve racking, especailly with all those drunk fat bloaks in the audience and the embarasing possibility of a loss. Anyways keep it up man sounds like your turning around your fight career for the better all the best to you. hopefully i can overcome those same feeling you had and not over think because i can tend to be an over thinker in alot of cases, i can see what chris is saying, right now my skills are alright but its the mental aspect that may get the better of me

chris clark
chris clark

Rocci, it is nice to know that you can overcome your record. I have that problem now, I am still in the amateur ranks but my record is 0-3. I know that the record doesnt exactly reflect my ability, but for the mental aspect it is a burden. I have my next fight Jan, 23 and it may be the breaking point for me. I love the competion, but no one wants to loose. Reading your interview has given me hope, and with training tips from Eric, I am hoping to turn my career around.

Jeff
Jeff

Thanks Rocci- it was cool to kind of “get inside your head” and see what goes through a fighters mind before a fight. I’m training for my first MMA fight and your interview really inspired me! Thanks!

Rocci Williams
Rocci Williams

Hi Jeff, I’m glad my experience has given you some inspiration, I can honestly say that with the help of Erics conditioning stuff along side Brian Cains Pride material I feel that I have gained some good reinforcements withing my approach, I would really reccomend in adding these materials for now or the future. when is your fight?

Eric

Dude – that is an AWESOME answer… you’re a star and when your fighting career is over you’re gonna be one helluva coach!

Anyway I think there’s an awesome point that you’re making about starting out learning a new skill SLOW and knowing what’s coming so you can first get comfortable with a new pattern.

HUGE KEY TRAINING TIP: Whenever you’re learning a new skill, it’s best to start in a FRESH state and learning slowly… Once you get all the key technical details down and can repeat them PERFECTLY at a slow pace, up your pace until you can do the skill at 100% without thinking…. this is how you’ll be able to pull off your skills in a fight when the pressure is on and you’re fatigued…

Rocci Williams
Rocci Williams

Thanks Eric, one thing that bugs me about low level/part time mma clubs is that they get you to bang out combos with a partner without tuning in the finer details such as rotation, return of the punch, stance etc, and another impotant issue that is missed is, how to avoid the combinations what are the best ways to defend or evade, so what happens the club fighter? he gets put into a cage/ring with only the confidence to throw stikes (which aint a bad thing) but when they are put under pressure and they are on the back foot this takes them into a new territory, a good example is in my boxing match my opponent throws a massive overhand right with hard intentions and then realises that I moved out the way and that his attempt to back me up didnt work, when I came for him this… Read more »

Glen
Glen

Hi Rocci, thank you for sharing with us as I am starting out now and looking to begin with the mma program as early as this month to get into shape..any advise for a beginner thats looking to get into shape and learning the art of close contact fighting.

Rocci Williams
Rocci Williams

Hi Glen, I would definately look at following the fitness advice from Eric to help get youin shape, my advice on getting into close contact fighting and by that getting in the pocket with someone who is in range, My coach and sparring partners work what we call tecnical sparring where by I know what they will throw I then react to it by defending or evading, this is done lightly and slow for example – your partner throws a left hook which you block with a high guard you then throw a counter back which your partner defends, then add to the mix an evasive movement such as the roll/duck again like this – your partner throws a left hook, you block counter with a left hook which he either defends or evades/ducks, knowing what to expect helps you recognise the body pattern of your opponent, if you go… Read more »

Glen
Glen

Hi Rocci,

Thanks for getting back to me it is much appreciated..I will definitely follow your advise

Regards
Glen Twigg

reven
reven

Hey Roccci, thats excellent man. I have the same problem, only differnce is with me there are not even bad mma clubs in this town of ours, there are no clubs at all, not even a boxing club. I rely solely on mma & muay thai dvds that I buy off the net. But now with Eric on my side at least I know one very important aspect is covered. I loved the way you implemented the mental aspect and made it work for you, I think that it is only a matter of time before that record of yours has alot more wins to it. Good luck and go for it.

Rocci Williams
Rocci Williams

Hi Reven, you know what watching dvds aint bad at all but if you want to compete you have to have a good capacity to watch something and then do it, I like the bas rutten dvd as its to the point and has some good technique, but mainly I prefer watching tecniques as they are happening, for example watching ufc, you then get to see the technique in real time, if the guy can pull it off how the other guy reacts and then the reaction to the reaction, I was watching one fight with BJ Penn when he had a body triangle (I love this move) his opponent was trying to defend the choke, Penn counters by grabbing the opponents arm and holding it within the body triangle to finish the choke, I thought this was awesome I pulled this off a couple of times I aint even… Read more »

Eric

Orlick’s book is solid – can’t hurt to read and learn more… Orlick is actually from my neck of the woods (Ontario, Canada)…

Rocci Williams
Rocci Williams

Altough I do respond better to audio, which is why I made the most of the renegade mindset, my coach is putting it onto my ipod so I cant wait for that, so if your passing by tels house (I call him tel because I feel like I know him after 4 chapters)could you grab in the zone of excellence cds, cheers!:0)

Carl
Carl

where you from bro

Rocci Williams
Rocci Williams

UK a little town called Basingstoke

Carl
Carl

Rocci i went through the same thing even down to buying mma mats and grappling dummies and friends. I started training with people who said they were all MMA and Vale Tudo went into the cage for my first fight and lost thinking i was trained right that happened over and over. Now i am trained right ready to fight then fall through a deck and mess up my back LOL. Is there any way to get your e-mail or myspace i would like to talk to you on a more personal level.

Rocci
Rocci

Alright Carl, I am on facebook Rocci Williams – or my email is rocciboysnr@hotmail.co.uk fel free to mail me,unlucky on the back dude. I will add I am not from a big well known club but I beleive that I am getting the right mix, my record isnt that great but now its onwards and upwards!

catch up soon!