by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Jorge Gurgel has been teaching his students for years and for the first time in a long time, he has now become the student. His school has been very successful, but he hasn’t had the time to fully focus on just his MMA career.
Gurgel decided to train at American Martial Arts Center (AMC) in Seattle with Matt Hume. He believes it’s the best decision he’s made. “It’s the best training camp I’ve ever had,” said an excited Gurgel. “Finally, I’ve been a coach for so long. Everybody at home, they always had Jorge by their side. I never had my own Jorge. I needed some change, so I thought I’d find the best coach ever. I’m here with Matt Hume and it worked out better than I ever imagined.”
Gurgel was successful in his last appearance in the Ultimate Fighting Championship defeating John Halverson at UFC 82. The only problem for him is that the fight went to a decision again. All five of Gurgel’s fights in the UFC have gone to decision and that doesn’t sit well with him – even in a win.
“The moment I walked out of the cage and into the locker room, the first thing I did was called Mark DellaGrotte. I knew I needed some change. I wasn’t mentally performing. I was giving sub par performances. Being a coach and a fighter at the same time, it wasn’t paying dividends,” he explained.
“I wasn’t performing to the level that I knew I could perform. As soon as I walked out, I was happy that I won, but I knew I needed to make some changes. Mark is a great guy. He’s been real busy. He actually cornered Travis Lutter against Rich, so we didn’t get time to talk that much.
“Rich had been training with Matt,” he continued. “Rich highly recommended Matt. Matt got a hold of my schedule and said, ‘Jorge, come out. I’ll make you a top priority.’ That was all I needed to hear. It’s great just to become a student to teacher.”
Even though Gurgel is training in Seattle, his students are still excelling. Dustin Hazelett executed a beautiful armbar on Josh Burkman on The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale a few weeks ago. Gurgel was extremely proud of him for his accomplishment. “I’m very proud of him. Everyone was calling me saying, ‘Dude, you have to see what Dustin just did.’ It made me extremely proud of what he did. I love the guy so much. I knew him since he was like 13 years old. He was very supportive of me going to Seattle to train with Matt.”
Gurgel’s UFC 86 opponent, Cole Miller, trains out of American Top Team. One of Miller’s teammates is the man who handed Gurgel his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Marcus Aurelio. Obviously, Aurelio and Gurgel are very close, but the match-up hasn’t affected their relationship.
“I really don’t think it’s different. American Top Team is like a family to me. Marcus is my sensei, my teacher. I would never ever fight Marcus. We’re a family. We grew up together. It will be like a big family reunion. I don’t care what Cole Miller is doing. I don’t care if he’s climbing Mount Everest. I only care about what I can control.”
Gurgel may not care about what Miller is doing in the gym, but he does realize the dangers that Miller possesses in the cage. He is one of the tallest and lankiest competitors in the lightweight division, and Gurgel is very aware of the difficulties that may impose.
“Cole Miller is very certain of what he brings to the table. He knows his skill level. He comes to fight. He’s not afraid. He’s not intimidated. I might be in his head a little bit. He’s heard of me. He’s the one taking the step up in competition. He has great jiu-jitsu skills and he’s lanky. He has good boxing. I’m not taking anything away from him. It’s just a bad time to fight Jorge Gurgel right now,” he exclaimed. “It could have been anybody. It’s my time now.”
The training camp that Gurgel has gone through is his toughest yet. He always trains hard for his fights, but Matt Hume constructed a tough training camp that he had not been accustomed to.
“This one was exceptionally hard. Matt Hume is a sadist,” he said with a laugh. “He beat me down and broke me down so bad. To spar the way he does, he doesn’t just show you how to do it, he does it. The workouts are completely dynamic. Physically, it was very taxing on my body as well. I can’t wait to fight.”
The most important part of being a mixed martial artist is being able to keep yourself composed and to have a strong mental game. The world’s most elite fighters all have strong mental games. Gurgel recognized this and sought after the man who helped Georges St. Pierre reclaim his welterweight crown.
“I have a sports psychiatrist working with me so I’ll listen to a game plan. I’m 100 percent confident,” he stated. “I’ve always been confident. I’ve never gone into a fight before thinking I won’t dominate and win. This time it’s a completely different kind of confident. This time it’s like an intelligent confident. I’m smarter, calmer, more methodical. I feel like I can follow the game plan to fight my fight.”
With all of his newfound skills over the last few months, Gurgel feels that he is more than ready to get in the Octagon at UFC 86 and get after Cole Miller. “I’m ready. I, for the first time, have trained so hard that I just want to fight. I just want to fight!”