UFC FIT: Eddie Mendez' MMA Basics

UFC on FUEL TV 10 middleweight Eddie Mendez shares his training advice for up-and-coming athletes.
Middleweight Eddie Mendez (7-1-1, 1NC) is set to make his UFC debut against The Ultimate Fighter Brazil finalist Daniel Sarafian (8-3-0) on June 8 at UFC on FUEL TV 10. And while the bout will kick off Mendez' career inside of the Octagon, it has already ushered in a new beginning for him as a pro fighter.

“I have a day job, and this is the first time I’ve taken off to train full time,” Mendez says. “We work six hours straight before we get a 20-minute break at work. But during a fight, I just think about how it's still less time than my break.”

The 29-year-old Strikeforce veteran shares the five key pieces of advice he'd give to any beginners or up-and-coming athletes who hope to one day join him in the ranks of MMA competitors.

Two of Mendez’ perceived strong points are striking and wrestling, but it’s his focus on cardiovascular training that he credits for giving him an edge in later rounds. His preferred method of cardio: sparring.

“If you never get tired of punching you can always defend yourself,” he says. “I do the long runs and sprints, but sparring is the best. With running, you have the luxury of breathing; you don’t get that with sparring. You have to remember to breathe.”

Loading up for the knockout punch is tempting, especially for new fighters, but jabs can keep your opponent guessing. “If you snap someone in the face with a jab it’s hard for them to build momentum," says Mendez. Remember to keep your shoulder up when you’re throwing that jab; if you don’t, it can be countered with an overhand right.”


“This is a tool lots of MMA fighters don't use, but it can help you build cat-like reflexes without the trauma of sparring," he says. "Go at it for full five-minute rounds. Double and triple up on the jab, change the angle of it, throw your jab as a lead uppercut, and remember not to lose the rhythm of that ball. Roy Jones used to look awesome using a double end bag. YouTube it.”   

“I’d recommend that beginners get wise to Greco-Roman wrestling; between that and boxing you’re on your way to becoming a complete fighter, almost like a Randy Couture," says Mendez. The first tool to perfect? The underhook. Mendez recommends tumbling drills, both to ingrain the skill and develop good defensive habits, like keeping your arms close to your body to avoid being armbarred.

If you're not happy with the people you train with -- whether they go too hard or slack off too easily -- find new ones. “When you trust your training partners, you get better," says Mendez. "I’ve been in situations where I’ve been like, ‘Man, these guys are savages!’ It’s better when know you’re not going to get your head knocked off when you don’t have your wind." A good partner will also call you out when you're tired, but still push you to finish the round.

Watch Past Fights


Open workout for fans and media during UFC Fight Night Open Workouts at Times Square on November 25, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu / Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
2015. 11. 25
UFC 웰터급 벤슨 헨더슨은 새로 올라온 웰터급에서 또 한 번의 승리가 절실하다. 헨더슨은 이번 주말 UFN 서울 대회에서 호르헤 마스비달과 맞붙는다. 헨더슨은 팬들이 난타전을 기대해도 좋을 것이라고, 이번 경기가 끝나면 손이 올라가는 것은 자신이 될 것이라 말했다.
2015. 11. 24
UFC 194 대회, UFC 미들급 챔피언 크리스 와이드먼이 올해 가장 많은 기대를 받고 있는 타이틀 매치에 출전, 랭킹 1위 도전자 루크 록홀드를 상대로 타이틀을 방어하러 나선다. 조 로건의 프리뷰를 들어보자.
2015. 11. 24
UFN 서울 대회를 조명하는 특별 UFC 펄스 4부작 중 제 1부. 본 에피소드에서는 벤슨 헨더슨, 샘 시실리아, 줄리아나 페냐를 비롯해 많은 선수들이 등장한다.
2015. 11. 24