Back before the UFC had the resources to deliver a show almost every week, the mixed martial arts community were perhaps even more loyal than at present in their comprehensive consumption of any branded product.
UFC All Access was a little bit MTV, a little bit Spike TV in approach but it gave an expanding audience a behind the scenes look at how mixed martial artists functioned. The audience were to be impressed with the Spartan nature of training but also, more importantly, would appreciate that mma fighters were not the bloodthirsty savages that certain areas of the media presented them as.
The whole series gave us some great, if not a tad surreal, moments from jewellery shopping with Andrei Arlovski to trampolining with Randy Couture but one moment stands apart in the history of the show.
Sean Sherk’s UFC All Access was a stark contrast from previous shows as it simply showed a dedicated family man training at a truly superhuman rate. The effect was immediate as gyms all up and down the country began adapting their programmes and fighters began returning to the drawing board in disbelief.
The former UFC lightweight champion has taken time away from active competition to rehab nagging injuries but his relentless work ethic is present as always. This week sees him stopping off at various gyms in the UK on a well received seminar tour.
MMAHQ caught up with Sean in between seminars as he chatted about teaching, training and his impending return.
A lot of fighters approach the seminar experience in different ways; what do you enjoy and what do you take from the experience overall?
For me it’s a chance to get out there and share what I’ve picked up over all of these fights. It’s fun because it gives me a chance to get out and travel, meet some new people and hopefully work on the fan base a little bit and also I find it keeps me sharp.
So do you agree then that teaching makes you better at your craft because you have to analyse movements in a lot more detail?
Yeah for sure. Teaching helps you keep your skills so sharp and drilling is good and training is good but teaching is great because you have to not only break it down point by point but you have to be so confident with these movements that you can instruct and answer questions. It’s good in so many different ways.
This isn’t your first time in the UK doing seminar tours; has this taken up the bulk of your time away from active competition this past year?
I’ve been really busy with the seminars and doing demos and I’ve put a lot of time into Training Mask as well. There’s been a lot of things happening in a lot of different areas but I’ve also been ensuring I’m ready to get back and compete next year.
I’ve really benefited from my time away because I’ve mentally and physically healed up and I know I’ll be able to make the most of this when I get back in there and fight again.
In your absence the UFC lightweight division has gone through quite a metamorphosis with the absorption of the WEC last year. What do you make of the division at present?
The UFC lightweight division is the toughest in the world to be honest with you and it keeps getting tougher. The UFC bought over those WEC guys and I mean Ben Henderson’s looking like a total stud at the moment. He’s just beaten two of the toughest guys in the division.
He came out of nowhere and nobody expected that so he’s a perfect illustration of just how tough this division is and it gets tougher day by day.
Ben Henderson’s earned his shot at Frankie Edgar without a doubt. Those two are fighting in Japan which is somewhere you’ve fought under the Pride organization. Is that somewhere else you’d like to fight again?
I enjoyed fighting in Japan but it’s not somewhere I’d really like to fight again. I’m really more interested in staying in the States to compete as I’m really a lot more comfortable there.
Obviously Frankie Edgar at the top has made huge strides since you two fought back at UFC 98. How do you see a rematch being different?
I’ve progressed a huge amount since then but so has he so there’s definitely another great, exciting fight in there. As a fighter you have to be confident about your skills but also objective and I honestly think that I’ve got the tools to beat Edgar but that’s my opinion. The last fight was great though and I know that, whatever happened, the fans would get an exciting fight.
So given how tough the division is at present then; do you think you’ve still got another championship run in you?
It’s a goal definitely and I’ve still got the skills and abilities to get back there up at the top. I’ve got to get back in there and get back to action as soon as I can. I know that next year will be very important to my career and to how I’m remembered in the sport and I’m ready to get back in there and start making a big difference in that division.
I need to get in the Octagon once or twice in the next year, get some wins and work my way back up to the lightweight title.
Thanks very much for the time Sean and the best of luck when you get back in the cage again. Is there anyone you’d like to thank or say hello to before we close it up?
Thanks again Sean