ByJames Terry, writer at
Official Creators account for Bellator welterweight MMA fighter James Terry
James Terry

By now, everyone in the MMA space has already seen Paul Daley’s insane knockout of Brennan Ward at .

I picked Daley to win, but not like that …

Anyway, I’m back in camp preparing for my twenty-eighth professional mixed martial arts fight, and while some people might not have the stamina to last ten years in this sport, I can’t say things are harder now. I’m more educated. I’m smarter. I do things with a plan and with more intelligence, so things have gotten easier.

Back when I fought for , I cut to lightweight a few times. My coach at the time, Cung Le, was completely against it. He wasn’t down for cutting weight.

I’m an “in betweener” when it comes to weight, and the 155 thing was just an experiment. I could make 155 again, but I fight because it’s fun -- that’s why I do it, that’s why anyone should do it -- and it’s fun fighting at 170.

Fighting pro for ten years, I’ve had to educate myself on the proper ways to cut weight. When I was fighting as a welterweight in Strikeforce, I was walking around mid-to-high 180s. Now I walk around low-to-mid 190s. But, metabolism slows down, and now when I eat a cheeseburger, I see it. When I first started fighting, I ate whatever I wanted, and I was shredded. Now I diet 90-percent of the time.

I’ve been doing a low-carb diet for the last year, kind of like carb back loading, sort of doing the ketogenic thing. I do eat carbs a couple days a week to replenish glycogen. That’s worked pretty good for me from a recovery standpoint, so I feel a lot better. It boosts my immune system, and I feel really good having done that for the last year.

A lot of guys would have quit because you don’t recover as fast, it’s easier to put on fat, and it’s harder to make weight. But all that shit is negated by my hard work, and I think it just goes along with my desire to be the best, which has actually increased.

I don’t think age has affected me at all in a negative matter. I think experience has made me better because I’m smarter, and I’ve always been a late bloomer: I’m 35 and as big a beast as I’ve ever been.

I’m kind of a strength and conditioning, and nutrition nerd. I read a lot, listen to podcasts, books on tape about nutrition, and strength and conditioning. It’s made me a better athlete, so along with my diet, I’ve also made some modifications in my training regimen, in particular the way I incorporate interval training.

Around three or four years ago, I started lifting weights more and doing CrossFit more heavily, so I’m stronger now. But a real breakthrough came about two-and-a-half years ago, when I read this book by Jim Wendler “5/3/1/ For Powerlifting.”

5/3/1 is basically a powerlifting program, and I’ve modified it. I do the strength and condition at the beginning of the workout. I do some sort of metabolic conditioning workout, sometimes it consists of hitting pads, and sometimes it means I blow it out on the Airdyne.

I only lift weights two or three times a week, and I find that I’m stronger than ever, and my conditioning’s better. It’s a short and sweet workout -- I don’t spend two hours a day in the gym, I do an hour a couple times a week and I’ve found good success with it.

Every once in awhile, I’ll modify something slightly, maybe tailor make a workout geared towards my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. But, part of educating yourself on nutrition and strength and conditioning is adapting your training techniques. Actually, from a conditioning standpoint, I felt awesome in my last fight, and I definitely made changes in training camp so that I was able to wrestle the guy most of the fight. And, as most of us know, wrestling is the most draining and taxing, from a conditioning standpoint.

These slight modifications I made to my diet and in training really paid huge dividends.

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