Over the course of his 15 fights (10-4-1) Jeremy “Ninja” Petley has developed a reputation for 3 things: His ground skills, his “never give up” attitude, and his seemingly endless gas tank. the British-Canadian Lightweight fighter trains out of the London Fight Factory in the UK, and primarily fights in BAMMA, the biggest MMA promotion in the country. Coming off his 10th win (on November 23rd, MADE4THECAGE), I Skyped my old friend in London to get the inside info on his training secrets.
Interviewer: OK, so when did training for that fight begin?
Petley: I must have been training for about 11 weeks.
Interviewer: So what’s the difference between those 11 weeks leading to a fight, and the weeks before that?
Petley: The difference would be that, there is a little less emphasis on over all technique and more targeted to what I will do against my opponent. So, I didn’t think he would take me down, so I didn’t drill much work on my back. All the work I did for those 11 weeks was really about maintaining top position, shooting for the take down, faking the shot, and landing punches, keeping him guessing, standing up, that sort of thing.
This is a little bit more fight specific, where for the rest of the year when I haven’t got a fight lined up, I’ll be doing my jiu-jitsu, working on my technique, my wrestling technique, my bottom game, basically trying to round myself off as equally as possible. Whereas when it comes up to that fight I am literally training specifically for what’s going to happen in those 15 minutes.
Interviewer: So, at a Semi Pro level how do you obtain that information about him, you can’t just go on YouTube and watch all his fights, can you?
Petley: No, not as such, I mean, I got a little bit of footage of this last guy, but you tend to hear things. One of my mates, actually knew his missus, she was a really good Muay Thai fighter, so I assumed if his missus is a descent Muay Thai fighter, he’s probably not that bad either. Which turned out to be correct, but I also happened to know he was a purple belt jiu-jitsu, so I knew his ground game would be descent as well. So I didn’t know an awful lot about him. I knew he was tall, I knew he was good Jujitsu and good Muay Thai, so I assumed he would be well rounded and I thought of what he knew of me. I knew, he knew I was good on the ground, that’s what everyone knows. Nobody seems to know much about my stand-up, that kind of thing. So, I thought I would stand up and surprise him with a few strikes and then eventually take him to the ground.
Interviewer: So, in that 11 weeks is it like a progressive, more and more intense training every week, or is it actually dumbing it down every week?
Petley: Yes, you have to learn to be, like methodical, because when the fight is booked you sort of slip into fight mode and you want to spar hard and train as hard as you can every day, but you have got to kinda gradually get to that peak level. So, I generally try and keep the intensity of my training similar, what will fluctuate is the amount that I am sparring per week and the intensity that I am sparring. So, as I get closer to the fight, every second week or so, I’ll probably add an extra sparring session in. So, by the time I’m two weeks before the fight I am sparring 3 maybe 4 times a week and those sessions are going to be 80 to 90 percent and is nearly trying to take my mates head off.
Interviewer: So, give me a day in the life of Petley, let’s say three weeks up to the fight, what does your routine look like?
Petley: I’ll take from my last training camp. Most days I would get up at 7:30 in the morning, eat a bowl of porridge jog to Greenwich Park, where I would do fifteen hill sprints. So that’s about 17 seconds sprinting up a hill jogging down and resting, so that’s 2 minutes to jog down and around, I do that 15 times and then normally I would go to work after that (Petley works as a personal trainer during the day) to train a few clients. I am also literally eating throughout the day, so in between sessions I’ll have a banana and a few nuts a Protein Shake after my hill sprints, usually, a nice pork and beans and farofa and rice, a nice Brazilian lunch which Camilla (Petley’s British/Brazilian girlfriend) packs for me. Then in the afternoon, I have got Jujitsu at 12:30 till 2. I either go back to the gym for a couple more clients on a really busy day. If I’m lucky I go home, have a couple of hours to chill out, cuddle the cat and then go back for an evening session. That will usually be from 8 till 9.30 or from 6.30 till 8. That’s like Boxing, Wrestling or Muay Thai. On top of this I will be doing some form of strength training, 3 times a week at that stage because I am still thinking of taking down my weight.
Interviewer: How much weight do you have to cut?
Petley: All in all about 15lbs or so.
Interviewer: Ok, so give me your top 3 fight prep workouts?
1. Row n’ Clinch
Petley: One of my main goals is to emulate the feeling of the fight as much as possible when doing strength and conditioning close to a fight, which is kinda tough to do because it is hard to get that level of fatigue in such a short period of time. I’ll usually complete the following a heavier power day: power snatches or cleans etc.
I do a 300 metre sprint on the rowing machine and then from there, usually if I’ve got someone with me, we do under hook- over hook clinch and I will literally drive them forward. Imagine when you’re wrestling, when you’re in the clinch you’ve got one arm under one armpit the other one hooks the other arm and from there you just push, just the chest. So, I am acting in a scrum style, just forcing them forward, say 15 yards one way then 15 yards the other and then rest for a minute, then same again for 4 rounds total, partner resists at about 70%. The rowing machine pre exhausts you for the fight movement, that’s what you want, anyone can fight with power and technique when they’re fresh, it’s when you’re dogged that you need to be at your best
2. Bobsleigh push
Petley: Ok, I’ve got another one which I am a fan of, which was actually introduced to me by another personal training mate. It’s called a Bobsleigh Push. What you do, is you take the emergency stop off the treadmill. So, it’s non functional, you just grab the handlebars as you would at the beginning of a bobsleigh race, straight with it, sit your ass down, lower your centre of gravity and drive and speed up your steps and drive the belt up the treadmill on its own. Without the treadmill being on. That’s a fucker, honestly! I usually do 30 seconds on with 6 seconds off 5 or 6 rounds, again I usually do it after some power work. If you’ve got the room I prefer it with a prowler, just want to push my lungs a little bit at the end of a session.
3. Fight night
I did this one quite a bit for my last fight, it’s heavy bag work mixed up with strength and conditioning, putting the two together to give the effect of standing up with someone for a bit and the grappling with them for a bit. My go to fight night emulator is a 7 minute round. So, 4 minutes on the heavy bag, that would be literally 90-100 percent intensity, kicks, punches, knees and elbows immediately followed by a minute of Grounded Pound on the heavy bag, then I do 4 clean and jerks with my 70% max. I’ll finish the round with an upper body only rope climb, twice (about 15 ft) and a controlled lowering back down. 1 minute breaks between for up to 5 rounds depending n the day. This would be on its own, I would do in the late afternoon.