The age of the super camp is upon us in the world of MMA. From Team Jackson to American Kickboxing Academy to American Top Team, fighters from all over the world flock to bigger and bigger camps to get the training, coaching, and sparring necessary to take them to the next level, be it the UFC, Strikeforce, or beyond.
The newest team forming in Arizona at the new Power MMA Fitness gym is headed up by a group of top flight UFC fighters along with a Strikeforce title contender, and they hope to form the next great camp.
Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson, and C.B. Dollaway, along with Robbie Lawler and others have worked to open their new gym in Arizona. It’s starting to pay off already with fighters traveling from all over the country to work with the team.
“Last week we had the guys like me and Aaron (Simpson), the Steinbeiss brothers, C.B. (Dollaway), Jesse Forbes, we had Robbie Lawler, who has been down there for almost three weeks, DaMarques Johnson, we had some heavyweights Jon Madsen and Chris Tuchscherer down here right now. It’s nice to have some different looks,” UFC light heavyweight Ryan Bader told MMAWeekly Radio leading up to his fight at UFC 126 against Jon Jones.
Bader, Simpson, and Dollaway have worked together for years starting out during their time at Arizona State in the wrestling program. They’ve taken that team atmosphere and transferred it to the new gym, and Bader says they are hoping to become the next great camp in MMA.
“We want to build a top of the line team. If guys want to come from around the country and train for a couple weeks, that’s fine, but we’re looking to build a premier team. Starting with the core guys that we’ve been around forever and a lot more guys are coming down for their camps.”
Old friend Kyle Kingsbury came down to work with the team before his fight at UFC 126. They will even have an amateur team headed up by Strikeforce middleweight Robbie Lawler, who will commit most of his time to the new team in Arizona.
“We’re going to have a top notch amateur team that’s headed up by Robbie Lawler; he’s going to be the amateur MMA coach. We’re looking to make it one of the top teams in the country,” Bader said.
The team also has some involvement from other sports stars, most notably Miami Heat guard Mike Miller, who is a part owner in the gym. Miller actually did cardio and conditioning with the MMA team over the summer in preparation for his NBA season, and continues to support them even though he’s full swing into his basketball career.
“We met with my manager now, Dave Martin, and I really liked him and he was like ‘hey, let me do your first fight, no contract or anything, just see if you like it,’ and I ended up liking it a lot and then finding out he had different guys. I met Mike (Miller) and Chad Greenway, and all his different guys a couple times. We all just became friends and go to each others different events, charity events and whatnot, and from there we just became friends,” Bader explained about Miller joining the camp.
Miller, who is a huge fan of MMA, told MMAWeekly.com in August 2010 that the work the guys go through on a daily basis will get anyone in shape, and he plans on doing that for his future in basketball as well.
“The program that these guys are going through is the most ridiculous program I’ve seen. They workout harder than anybody,” Miller said. “The hardest workouts I’ve ever been through; that’s why I came down here though. I realized how hard these guys work, and I felt like I might as well join them. It’s been a good experience.”
The biggest thing that Bader has taken away from building a new gym has been stability. He admits that before going into his fight in September 2010 against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira that he didn’t have a great camp, and training for the fight was hard.
At the time, Bader, along with Simpson, Dollaway and others, were forced to travel and try to find the right places to train, but now they have their own gym and their own team, and it makes all the difference in the world.
“Honestly, before the Nogueira fight, I had a horrible training camp just because we were bouncing around. We were at three different gyms. Everybody knew we were going to be a competitor to them in the future, and so it got kind of weird here and there, and we’d only have a certain time. Then one gym we were at, they only had like a 10-foot cage so we couldn’t really get in good work,” said Bader.
“Finally, I feel I’m at home, feel like I’ve put in the best camp I’ve ever put in for the biggest fight of my life. So I’m looking forward to that for sure.”
Bader will try to show that off on Feb. 5 when he faces Jon Jones at UFC 126 in Las Vegas.