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Fighting Talk With MMA Champ Liam McGeary

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On 27 February, Liam McGeary, from Norfolk, beat Bellator’s light heavyweight champion – American Emanuel Newton – to win a title in one of the world’s biggest MMA promotions. He told us about how he won, the road to fight fitness and how you can get into MMA…

Q: You looked surprised when they announced you’d won the fight. How did you feel?

A: A bit shocked to be honest. During the fight, I constantly attacked Newton but for a lot of it I was on my back. Normally, if you’re fighting a wrestler like him and he’s on top, the judges think he’s controlling the fight so to have them score the fight for me was surprising – but great. Fair play, judges!

Q: Newton has defeated a lot of opponents with spinning backfists, how did you deal with that move in the cage?

A: Yeah, every time I hit him with anything he was waiting to throw one of those things – and he’s dropped so many people with that I had to be constantly prepared for it. In training one of my mates threw lots of spinning backfists when we were sparring, which helped too.

Q: How much higher level is the training in the US compared to the UK?

A: When I was fighting in the UK, my training camp was in Jersey, and it was pretty intense. I always felt fully prepared because I had awesome coaches. In New Jersey, where I train now, the intensity is the same but I have 44 rather than the four people I had in Jersey to train with. Having so many more beasts in the room definitely brings you on.

Q: How has your strength and conditioning training changed?

A: I laid a lot of the fitness groundwork in the UK and I’ve tried to keep it up as much as possible. I should be doing more squatting and deadlifting to build strength and explosiveness but it’s tough when you’re tired from going so hard in the 2-3 other sessions we do most days. Having said that, I’m always fit for fights. You can’t turn up hoping you get lucky with a strike, you need to be able to grind for as long as the fight could last.

Q: What sports nutrition products do you consume?

A: I drink protein shakes and, for my last fight, I was taking some multivitamins that I got from

Q: What’s your advice for anyone wanting to try out MMA?

A: Head to the nearest MMA gym but don’t try to master all the disciplines at once – get to a good level with one, then move onto the next one. You need to be well-rounded to be successful.

Q: How has your upbringing helped your fighting career?

A: My dad’s a tough dude. He’s proper old school – back in the day he used to have fight in the pub then have a pint and chat with the bloke he’d just fought.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Defend the title and earn as much money as I can so I can buy that big house on the beach, haha!

The next big Bellator event is a lightweight title fight between champion Will Brooks and challenger Dave Jansen, and is taking place on 10 April.

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your GP before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.