Getting Ready to Fight – UFC 167 – Sparring – Brian Ebersole v Rick Story

UFC fighter - Brian Ebersole image

Getting Ready To Fight UFC Style – Sparring

Many people believe many things about sparringʼs role in the development and preparation of an mma athlete. Iʼve been around various coaches, some with vastly different approaches/thoughts to sparring sessions. Iʼve certainly had athletes that view a sparring session differently than one another. And many times, Iʼve stepped between a pair of young men who had wildly opposite expectations of what a sparring session was supposed to be.

MMA Sparring In The Off-Season

When Iʼm not preparing for a mma fight, I end up getting hit much more often (that doesnʼt mean that I accumulate as much damage, because I do not) when Iʼm fight sparring. As I mentioned in last weekʼs blog, many times Iʼm helping other athletes and being their partner in an effort to help them get in repetitions and gain an understanding of a technique, an idea.

Itʼs not always helpful for me to “win” each round, or to be overly competitive. Many times, I have to play a bit slower, repeat the same pattern or technique (even when it wonʼt work very well), and generally yield/concede to the studentʼs movements. All part of an mma coach’s role.
Much more covering up and blocking from my end, and many more strikes being thrown at me. I donʼt normally end up with major lumps, bruises, or trauma. But I do get peppered with scoring strikes more often…..

During any given training camp, I spar as often as the gymʼs culture normally constitutes. Because Iʼve trained in multiple gyms during my lifetime, my routine has changed over the years. Some gyms spar a little bit, almost every session. Some gyms designate specific sparring sessions during the week (We will spar every Monday and Friday at 4pm, here at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA). And then there are other gyms that simply spar whenever they end up feeling like it…. If the group feels frisky, frisky they get and the gloves go on.

I find I take a bit more physical damage during training camp sparring sessions. All of these sessions are certainly a bit more serious than most of my off-season sparring rounds, and the potential to get hit hard is ever-present during Fight Camp Sparring.

There is no free time, no time to tune out, no time to go through the motions, with a partner that is intent on hitting you(properly). With that constant threat, I aim to execute my game-plan, hone my movements, and be ready to complete any training goal/task that my coach/partner challenges me to. As an mma athlete prepping for a UFC Fight competition, I feel the responsibility to topple any training challenge that is presented. And to do so efficiently is the ultimate challenge.

Bring on the 3 guys vs. me, sparring sessions.

Bring on the endless line of athletes that have been tasked with passing my guard, submitting me, taking me down from the clinch, or keeping me from taking them down (usually by any means necessary).

Bring on the 45-minute sparring sessions where we start each 90-second-round from a newly conceived position or submission attempt.


Bring on the Thai KickBoxers, BJJ specialists, Wrestlers, and Street-Fighters.

I train UFC, and Iʼm ready to spar all of you.

Iʼm in Fight Camp, so bring a mouth-guard!

Fight Camp is here,

and Iʼm up for the challenge!


- Brian Ebersole

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