When you join the ranks of the UFC, your life immediately becomes busier, and for me, it’s been pretty much non-stop for the last decade. We haven’t had many opportunities to take vacations, or “holidays,” as we Brits call it, and it’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper holiday. This year we decided that regardless of my schedule, we were going on a real holiday.
We were going to go to Maui, because my wife and I went there for our honeymoon and had such a great time and of course, the kids wanted to go. Then I started thinking if we went to Thailand, I could go to Phuket and get some unofficial training in while we’re there. I could kill two birds with one stone; I can take the family away on vacation and leave them lying on the beach while I go get some work in. That was the mindset, so that’s where we went, and we had a fantastic time.
Phuket is a beautiful place and I highly recommend it. While I was there, I was training at Phuket Top Team. If anybody is looking to sharpen their Muay Thai or you just want to see the other side of the world and learn some martial arts at the same time, I highly recommend PTT. They do a fantastic package deal for people who are on a budget. You can live there in the gym and they provide you food, training and all the amenities for a very reasonable price.
The training out there was amazing, and it was so nice to finally get back to my roots, because at the start of my career, I went out to Thailand for several months at a time, working on my Thai boxing. It was incredible to see how packed it is now with young fighting talent, and it reminded me of the start of my career. All these determined individuals training so very hard, not for the money and not for the fame or anything like that. They were doing it just for the love of martial arts.
You have college educated guys out there, with degrees and everything, that have decided to go and live the martial arts life, training hard and fighting in local Thai boxing shows for peanuts, but they do it for the love of it. It was really nice to see and it reminded me of why I got into this in the first place.
I was able to take my son training with me every time I went, so it was really good for my son to be able to get some authentic Muay Thai training. That’s something I never got to experience until I was a young man, so for 15-years-old, he is very lucky to have experienced that, and he absolutely loved it.
One of the nice things about this trip was that Phil Baroni was there, and it was lovely to see him. Phil actually helped me train for the last Dan Henderson fight, which is kind of ironic to have him out there helping me once again, even if it was in an unofficial capacity. Phil is a true stand-up guy and I like him a lot, so it was nice to spend some time with him and reconnect.
When I wasn’t training, I was enjoying myself lying on the beach and playing with my kids. All in all, the trip was a great getaway for my family and we enjoyed every minute. Life is good, and it’s only getting better.