I recently fought for King of the Cage in San Jacinto, CA — outdoors. Fighting outside (rather than in a ballroom or a sports venue) isn't uncommon for regional shows, especially in the usually mild California weather.
However, when I came to the venue, the weather wasn't looking so great. It had been raining most of the morning, and there were dark clouds in the sky. The temperature had dropped from the normal 70-degree weather to 45 degrees.
I knew that I needed to prepare to fight in the cold weather and potentially rain. That wasn't something I had thought of ahead of time, but I knew I could adapt.
The holding area was heated (thankfully) but that meant that I needed to go out into the cold every so often to warm-up so I would be accustomed to the cold and it wouldn't shock my system once I got to the cage to fight.
I was the last fight of the night (and the coldest) and the rain had held off for the majority of the card — until I went out to warm-up for the last time. I could see that it had started to rain and that the fighters in the cage before me were having trouble standing up. They were sliding all over the cage, and every time one would throw a punch they would fall. They had to stop the fight a few times to mop up the vinyl canvas so that they could continue. It wasn't looking good.
I had to accept that I might be fighting in the rain and I had to come up with a new game plan quickly. My plan was to go in there very stiff, plant my feet and just inch my way around the cage in order not to fall. Luckily for me, I didn't have to worry about the rain because it stopped right before I walked out. The crew was able to clean and dry off the canvas, so it wasn't slippery by the time I got out there.
Some of the guys who fought before me complained that the cold was hurting their feet, but I didn't even feel the cold when I went out there. Luckily the weather did not affect my performance in the cage.
When I got out there I knew I wanted to clip him with my right hand, I had worked on that in my last fight, and I wanted to play around with picking my shot, rather than just winging it. Every time I kicked the guy, he caught it, and when I tried to bait him in, he was wise to it and wouldn't go for it. He was a smart fighter and moved differently than anyone I had ever fought before.
In the second round, I started to get loose. I wasn't trying to rush; I was relaxed. I noticed that when he would get down on my hips, I could get to his neck. It was something I saw in the first round, and I was looking for it again in the second. I tried a few times, but he kept slipping out — until he didn't. I knew it was in and I saw him wanting to tap out so I squeezed a little harder and I got the submission.
Even though the rain and weather didn't end up affecting my fight, I now know what I will do if I am faced with that problem again.