Gert Strydom and Tapout Academy

Picture from Facebook:
Gert Strydom with the EFC Middle Weight Champion and some friends and team mates after the title fight at EFC41

When you think of championship material, you think FFM or CIT. But have you forgotten about Tapout Academy?

Well for those of you who don’t know what I'm talking about' allow me to refresh your memories. At EFC 41, Liam Cleland faced a very notable and more favourable opponent in Michiel Opperman. With 5 rounds of action from the word go. Stand up game and ground game being tested in every round, these two gave their all. But at the end of it all, Cleland came out victorious and was crowned the new EFC Middleweight Champion.

It’s been almost a week since this glorious night, and what better time than now to hear from the man himself, Liam Cleland and striking coach, Gert Strydom.
(This is part one of a two part interview. Part one features Tapout Academy Striking coach, Gert Strydom)

Gert Strydom

Firstly, congratulations on the success of Liam Cleland winning the Middleweight Title.

Many people know you as one of the top boxing coaches in South Africa, how has the shift from boxing to MMA worked out for you so far?
"The transformation from Boxing to MMA was easy for me, as I believe 80 percent of any fight is mental preparation. Fighting just comes naturally to me, whether it's Boxing, MMA or any other form of fighting. I grew up fighting in the streets as a youngster so fighting is in my blood. I know if I can get into a fighters mind, I can get him to perform and fight harder."

At Tapout academy, you currently work with the likes of, Danie van Heerden, Elvis Moyo, Danella Eliasov and not forgetting the man of the moment, Liam Cleland. How have you been welcomed to the Tapout Academy family?
"I was accepted by all with open arms, as they all realised that my standards are high and I'm committed to what I do. They all saw that there were new things to learn and I do this different to what they were used to.
I got a good relationship with everybody at Tapout and so far, they look up to me as the new captain of the ship when it comes to the fighters, amature and pro."

Becoming a champion certainly does not just happen overnight, how long did it take you to get Liam to the standard where you said "he's ready for this fight"?
"Liam started 8 weeks out with his prep. He could only spend an hour with me every morning at 5. I changed his program to a more intense one, as we could not do more than one session a day. My plan paid off and he did enough to win."

So now that you're done with the easy part in having the belt in your camp, how do you plan on keeping it there?
"If I could have him more than once a day, I could get him much better. He fought at 60 percent of his ability. He can be much better. It’s one thing winning a title but it’s another thing keeping it. It's up to him to decide what he wants to do. If he decides to stop fighting now, I will respect his decision. He has a lot on his plate in terms of work commitments. Let’s see how it plays out. I’m building a strong amature team and I'm building some of the hottest prospects out there. Watch the space."

Now for some final words from the coach.
"In this game, you must know from scratch where you going, otherwise you might not get there"

There you have it folks. To be a champion, you need commitment, dedication and a strong will. Having a good support team and coaching staff can make the worlds difference.

Be on the lookout, for the interview with EFC Middleweight Champion coming soon. God bless everyone.

Article by : Darren McLean
Sponsored by : Commu Print, Lethal Edge MMA

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