Denniston Sutherland: Home is where the hunger is

The UCMMA contender begins his exclusive training blog from his training camp in Jamaica ahead of title shot against Mark Weir

By: Dean Amasinger

10 June 2011    |    0 Comments

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Denniston Sutherland: Home is where the hunger is | Fighting Fit
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I’m in my home country of Jamaica to prepare for my next middleweight fight against champion Mark Weir on 25 June in London, UCMMA 21: Stand Your Ground. This is the first time that I’ve prepared for a fight by training back home, and so far it’s really working for me – I’m training well and feel confident about what’s coming up.


I’m training at Dungeon’s Gym in Montego Bay. I’m staying with Irish wrestler Chris McDonald, he started the gym here and he’s brought in some really good MMA guys – such as Dwaine Hinds from the USA - that I can train with and against. They’re maybe not quite the same level as in the UK, but they’re still of a good standard and I can really prepare and improve while I’m over here.


It’s great to be back in Jamaica, it feels like home to me. When I’m here, it helps me to remember that life wasn’t always as comfortable as it is for me now in the UK. I made the move away from Jamaica in 1999 and since then I’ve started a family and made good money. Maybe I’ve become softer. When I was back in Jamaica I was harder, because life here is much more of a struggle. Adversity creates champions. Jamaicans don’t like to make excuses for anything and being here helps me to get away from the excuses culture that there might be back home. It puts me back into the fighter’s mindset, where I’m really hungry to win. I can really just focus on what I have to do.


I saw my family the first day I was here, but since then I’ve knuckled down to my training and tried to get away from any distractions. The weather’s not been great, which has made it easier to concentrate on my routine. I also have a mind coach, Alan Whitton, who’s been with me for my last four or five fights. We do various mind exercises, trying to lock down anything that’s external to the mental preparation for the fight. I’ve been learning to focus, meditate, and blank my mind. I also visualise my fight, and what I’m going to do to win. This technique involves a faceless opponent. I might know his style but I concentrate more on myself than on what he’s going to do.


I try to train more intelligently than I used to. My body can’t withstand the pace of previous years, it doesn’t recover as quickly, but I still have big goals. I’m 38, but I don’t plan to stop until my mid-40s and I want to move on to the international stage. I’m more physically disciplined and mobile than I used to be when I was a heavyweight, and the change to middleweight has really suited me.


I believe I’m in with a good chance in my title shot against Mark Weir. He’s been around a lot longer than me, and at one point he had the fastest knockout in the MMA, so I won’t be underestimating him. But if I focus on my skills and continue to train as I am, then I’m confident I can beat him. Next week, I’ll give you more details about my training routine.

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