Our boy Reece has his eye on the prize! May 20 2015
DE Pugilist Reece 'Lightening' McLaren has just returned home following a month long training program at Team Alpha Male (TAM) in the United States, where he lived and breathed MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) culture. Reece has lived and trained hard with some of the best in the business and has honed his skills through a month of rigorous training in California.
TAM is regarded as one of the best MMA teams in the world and has produced numerous UFC and WEC Champions.
Reece immersed himself in MMA culture at Ultimate Fitness, the home of TAM in Sacramento and Reece has no doubt returned an even better fighter, both physically and mentally.
McLaren holds the XFC and Eternal MMA Bantam Weight Belts. He is preparing to defend his Eternal belt on May 30 at the Eternal MMA show at the Hellenic Centre at Bundall, Gold Coast.
According to Cam O’Neill of Eternal MMA, McLaren is one of the most exciting Bantam Weight fighters in Australia currently and his next few fights are pivotal in his quest to fight on the world stage.
“Reece is an intelligent fighter with a lot heart, commitment and skill who is dedicated to his art and I for one am looking forward to witnessing his progression on the back of a month at TAM when he steps into the cage later this month to defend his title,” he said.
“We are lucky at Eternal to have him back in time to prepare for Eternal 10 which is set to be our best card to date.”
We caught up with Reece to find out a little more about his experience.
Tell us about your overall experience?
Imagine sharing the mats with UFC fighters, most ranked in the top 10, and a UFC champion every day for a month. It was absolutely unreal. I consider myself super lucky. I got to mix it up with the guys - Urijah Faber asked me to roll with him after practice a few times which was such an incredible opportunity, he is and will always be one of my favourite guys in the fight game. To be able to roll and just grace the mats with him was a dream come true. Everyone was super nice to me and very encouraging - the coaching staff, Martin Hampmann, Joey Rodriquez and the top fighters that would take classes - what a dream.
What was the highlight for you?
The highlight of the trip was just being there everyday on the mats with guys, and the training partners and friends that I made. I feel mega lucky. Urijah invited me out to his secret, personal gym which was a three and a half hour drive west. That was unreal, almost like a Samurai house, bunk beds, training mats, heavy bags, a steam room and one of the most awesome drives I have ever been on. The roads up and around the coast were breathtaking.
Who did you train with?
Gracing the mats with the likes of Joseph Benevidez, Cody Garbrandt, Paige VanZant, Lance Palmer and Urijah himself. There were heaps of talented guys and girls that I got to know quite well. The young amateur squad are making waves in the local scene, the world is their oyster.
Tell us about your training schedule. How many hours a day did you train?
We would train twice a day, every day except Thursdays when we had three sessions, and on Saturdays we trained once a day. I was in the pro's schedule that consisted of two sessions - either MMA, Muay Thai or wrestling. I found the schedule was hectic enough, although one week I did the Gi Jiu Jitsu as well and instantly wished I had been doing it the whole time I was there.
How has the experience improved your skills and technique?
Being taught and drilled the way we were was instantly game changing. An hour and a half of punch combos, to fit ins, to one hour of wrestling drills and scenarios. Knowledge is dangerous.
What's next for Reece McLaren?
I will hopefully defend my Eternal belt on May 30, then I will be making the drop to flyweight. I'm not working at the moment. I am trying to find balance in my in my life and training, but most of all I am keeping my eye on the prize. I would love to win a fight at flyweight and then hopefully make my international debut for UFC Melbourne - that would be a dream come true. I am training my butt off and won't waste this opportunity.
See Reece show off some of his new found skills on May 30 at the Eternal MMA 10 show at the Hellenic Centre at Bundall, Gold Coast. Hit up Eternal MMA Facebook page for tickets. It's the best card you'll see in Queensland this year.