by Jamie Varner – special to MMAWeekly.com
So I am about a week out from my first title defense. This was the last week of intense training and sparring. I feel like I had a great training camp, and at this point I feel stronger and in better all around shape then I did when I defeated Razor Rob. I have begun my cut to 155 and feel ready for this big fight. It is hard to prepare for a guy like Marcus as he has a pretty awkward style and size. I think he will be one of my toughest opponents to date, and there is no doubt he is a legitimate title contender. On the WEC website you can see videos of Marcus and I getting ready. We both have a never quit work ethic, and for sure the fans are going to win big on August 3rd.

During this training camp we have mixed it up with guys like Ryan Diaz, Aaron Simpson, Eric Larkin (NCAA Champ and 4 X D1 All American), Robson Moura, Gerald Harris and the other members of Team MTX MMA. Along with this, my trainers set up several professional boxing partners to train with and give me a southpaw look. The great thing about our training camps is that they get more diverse and difficult. I may own a world title but on a daily basis I am getting beat on and giving beatings to some of the best athletes in the world. Every day I face a new set of challenges in training and August 3rd will be just another bad ass fighter wanting to take my head off.

I am the constant underdog. I think the only high profile fight I had where the fans, my opponents and their representatives seem to think they were going to kill me was the Franca fight. I think in the Franca fight most people assumed I was a lamb to slaughter and did not want to state the obvious. From Gilliam to Rob and now Hicks, I am always going to be handed the beating of a lifetime. They say, “He is headed to the hospital.” What they don’t know is that when my trainers say go home you have trained too much, I am home still training thinking about those comments. I am using every word as log for my fire and that is what is driving me to become the best fighter I can be. So keep saying I am the underdog and I do not belong. I will keep out working and out gunning you while you are trying to explain why I beat you at your own game. I will be at the gym not talking but walking the walk.

I have spent my life preparing to be something better than my surroundings and not use my life experiences as excuses. I had to deal with not one but both of my parents alcohol and other problems. I only know the hard road and I expect a lot of bumps along the way. The fact is if you want to, if you work hard, if you are willing to struggle and sacrifice, you can overcome pretty much any obstacle. As an example, my parents were ringside stone cold sober the night I won my belt. They came through a lot of pain and agony to get where they are today. Each one of them showing strength and courage to overcome obstacles and struggles in their lives that lasted longer then this training camp and will make 25 minutes in the ring with marcus seem like a walk in the park. I walk into the octagon knowing they are behind me and I posses some of their strengths.

This weekend we will wind down the hard training and begin to fine tune my timing. On Wednesday I will head to Vegas for the pre-fight rituals. Once we are in Vegas we will likely train at Cobra Kai and finish cutting weight. Right now I weigh 170 and the weight is coming off relatively easy.

The weigh-ins are Saturday and the big fight August 3rd. This is another amazing card and it will be free to those of you that have The Versus Channel. The WEC has really done some amazing cards lately and this is another one that you want to be sure not to miss.

Special thanks to MTX Audio, Premier Fighter, LG Sports Marketing, AZCS, my training partners and the haters for giving me the fuel I needed to get ready for a guy of Marcus Hick’s ability. Anyone who registers or has registered for my newsletter at www.jamievarner.com will be entered in to win something from this fight (gloves, shorts, or shirt), so come register if you haven’t already. It is not to late.