Great fighters will often say that losing was the best thing that ever happened to them because they learn from it and get better. Unfortunately this isn’t ALL fighters, or even MOST fighters. The large majority will spend a few days mulling things over and then they usually go back to the same gym and do the same things they were doing before. That’s why when guys say “I’ve totally fixed all the holes in my game!”, I’m not very quick to believe them.
Still, if there’s one guy I’m liable to give the benefit of the doubt to, it’s UFC fighter and occasional Fightlinker contributor Jason Day. He got his ass kicked hardcore by Michael Bisping … if fight karma exists then he got everything he gave Alan Belcher and more back from the Count. But I think that loss woke him up, because he’s basically turned his world on it’s head to make sure he doesn’t lose like that again:
Realizing that his lackluster training had left him stuck in a rut and spinning his wheels while fighters who had made fight preparation their full time jobs progressed and improved, Day made a difficult decision. He had to quit the family business.
“My parents were one hundred percent supportive. They basically sold the company so I could turn all of my attention to fighting. The top guys in the sport are in the gym all day long – that’s their living and they take it very seriously. That’s something I wasn’t doing. You’re not doing yourself, the UFC or the fans any favors if you come in less than prepared for a fight,” Day says. “I used just go to the gym and work really hard and spar every day. I didn’t have the time to work on improving specific areas, I was just relying on the skill set I had and I made up the difference with how hard I worked.”
Quitting his job was not the only change Day made. Selling his house and packing up everything he owned, he moved 140 miles away from Lethbridge to Calgary to start fresh in a new city with a new camp. He admits the decision to move away from his friends, family and former team was a tough one to make, but says he quickly became certain that he had made the correct choice for the betterment of his burgeoning career.
That next fight will come against The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 middleweight winner Kendall Grove on March 7 when the two meet at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio. Day will have an ace up his sleeve, or at least in his corner for the bout in the form of his newest trainer, WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres, whom he has spent considerable time with in Chicago preparing for the fight.
Now I know what you’re thinking: MMA can’t be learned via osmosis and that’s why so many of the dudes who train with BJ Penn suck harder than Jenna Jameson in her prime. And she sucked so hard, she built an empire out of sucking. So yeah, even training with great fighters isn’t going to magically turn you into a great fighter yourself. But going from training part time in Buttfuck Nowhere, Alberta to getting a proper camp with someone like Miguel Torres … these are massive improvements that could pay dividends in the Octagon.
I guess we’ll see in Ohio how Day looks now that he’s full time on things. I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed … when your parents sell the family business so you can try your hand at Ultimate Fighting, that’s a decent amount of stress you’re putting on yourself. Jason is coming into UFC 96 at 1-1 and the UFC isn’t exactly nurturing it’s roster right now.
(Jason is a contributor to Fightlinker and often sends up prediction writeups for upcoming UFC events. His last one is right here, or you can just go to his website: JayDayMMA.com. You can also tag along with us Fightlinker guys on the CrashMMA bus, which gets you from the T.Dot region to Ohio + tix + hotel for 500 bucks)