Interview: Tony Reid

You have the mindset of a champion, the mindset of that ‘1% improvement every day’ and trying to get it perfect every time. Where did that mindset originate?

I have always trained in that fashion. I didn’t realize I trained in that fashion. I assumed that everyone that would take on a sport like wrestling or MMA or football, that they would have that mindset. Who would want to fucking wrestle this long, rigorous season and not want to be the best? I thought that it was something that everybody did. It’s actually something that the one percent do.

I did a live video today with my friend Ben Newman. He’s a life coach ad a business guru and just a good guy. He does this thing called Champions Create Distance on Friday. What that means is that on Friday everybody is looking forward to the weekend. The boss has got on their nerves for the last time. They want to go to that bed and breakfast, they want to go to the brunch. They want to go out with their friends and have a drink. They want to let loose Friday and Saturday and recover on Sunday. I have found that Friday is an opportunity to go get that low-hanging fruit. While everybody is easing up, relaxing and thinking about something else, if you sprint, if you go hard in that moment you can really start to create degrees of separation between you and everybody else. That is what the term Champions Create Distance on Fridays means. If you do that over years and years that distance becomes so far that you look at guys like Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva and LeBron James, those guys created that distance through that training, through not easing up and not taking those days to be lazy.

What have you learned about yourself in the gym recently?

Working with these young fighters, we were training and we were sitting around after strength and conditioning, we had a great meeting and we are really excited about the future. I asked one of the young guys if he wanted to hold pads for me. Without hesitation he was up and had his hands up. We started doing something different. If you watch the sport, everybody wants to do what’s fun and do what’s convenient. Everybody wants to hit the pads, everybody wants to shadow box and everybody wants to spar. Nobody wants to put themselves in a position where they are getting mounted or they are against the cage with thirty seconds left and they are losing the fight and have to escape. Those are the positions that you put yourself in that if you happen to get there you don’t freak out or get anxiety. We started hitting the mitts. We are feeling it out. He has never held for me before. He’s holding for a world champion, he might be freaked out a bit, he probably doesn’t want to fuck up. We are doing 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, and I’m thinking ‘Alright motherfucker, when are we doing the next combination?’ Then something in my spirit said “Tyron, don’t ask questions just keep doing it.’ So, I kept throwing. What I found out is… although I knocked out 12-15 people in my life, some inside the Octagon, some outside it, I have never thrown a right jab the right way. I have been getting away with my ability to see the punch before it’s there, my ability to muscle through some shit and just the tenacity of trying to knock someone out. As we started doing this drill over and over again, there were a couple times that I hit it and it was undeniable that I was in sync and everything was flowing and my hands came back. It was something that small,and that is all it takes sometimes . It doesn’t take a flying knee, a spinning back fist, jumping off the cage or sweeping leg locks from wide open. It doesn’t take that every time. Sometimes it just takes getting to your opponent’s chin before they get to your chin.

Would you say that’s what has given you the edge over your opponents?

Yeah, for sure. That’s what I specialise in, those millimetres, those fractions of seconds, and the little bitty small things that people don’t think are important. I am watching every Countdown. I am listening to what my opponents says. When I fought Darren Till I saw him throw that lead upper cut when he was cutting weight. He couldn’t help it. He was showing his game plan. I drilled five or six ways to counter that. When I saw it, it looked so fast to you guys but to me it was the slowest uppercut I have ever seen in my life. I saw it coming from a mile away and I saw the opportunity because I knew he was going to drop his hands when he threw it to really get committed to land that left hand on me. When I saw that, boom, I iced him. I got in there and got it done.