The last time Nate Moore stepped foot in the cage, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was still a Colt. In fact, Manning had just completed a season where he led his team to the playoffs for a NFL record ninth straight season and a career-high 4,700 yards passing.

A lot has changed since then, for both Moore and Manning. Manning, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, has a new team and hasn’t played in a year. For Moore, who is a die-hard Colts fan, he’s gone through a major knee surgery and a year-and-a-half layoff from MMA.

“I’m a big Peyton Manning fan so I hope he does well in Denver, not so well though that he comes back and beats the Colts,” joked Moore in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.

Moore (L) in his last outing against Nathan Coy (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Saturday night, however, football will be the furthest thing from the Purdue alum’s mind. He’ll be set to square off with Jason High, who is on a six-fight winning streak and is undefeated under the Strikeforce banner. He’ll be joined by two of his AKA teammates on the card, Luke Rockhold and Justin Wilcox. It’s something Moore feels only helped make his camp that much better.

“It’s helped a lot. We’re there to push each other,” Moore said of having Rockhold and Wilcox peak at the same time. “We’re all in different weight classes, so we have different sparring partners. Luke [Rockhold] has his guys to help him, I’ve had my guys helping me, and Wilcox as well. Then we get in there and do the airdyne workout, combat circuit, and we push each other. We’re all in pretty good shape and everyone is looking pretty sharp. It definitely helps me coming off of a year-and-a-half layoff having these guys next to me, preparing the same way, looking good, and being positive forces.”

Despite the year-plus layoff, the 26-year-old has never been stronger, something he credits to a program—The Combat Circuit—that he developed at the famed American Kickboxing Academy. The program itself is a spin on the airdyne workout that the fighters have been going through for years, a program that is easily one of the most grueling in professional sports.

“I tweaked it a little bit to fit my clients when I was personal training and strength and conditioning work for side jobs,” Moore explained. “I developed the program so that we can have a class that we can put everyone through. Young and old, athletic, non-athletic, help people loose weight, help people become better fighters, help people just reach their fitness goals and the greatest thing about the program is that it works for everybody, and it works all the different systems. It’s not just straight cardio, it’s not just straight MMA, and it’s 30 minutes. You’ve got a 30-minute workout that you burn calories, you learn martial arts, you gain strength and explosiveness, and you really don’t see too many negative effects.”

As a member of the Purdue University wrestling team, Moore faced the best competition in collegiate wrestling. Purdue has one of the most highly regarded wrestling programs in the world, producing stars such as Moore’s AKA teammate Jon Fitch, as well as Stephan Bonnar. However, it’s the education he received while there that is still playing a big part in his role as a professional fighter. Moore majored in Movement & Sports Science, and has used that to recognize the little things while training, and to ensure the most successful rehab for his knee possible.

“Everyday, I train and I recognize things like over-training and the best things that I need to do as far as conditioning my body,” said Moore. “We studied movement and motor patterns and motor development. So developing motor skills, you learn how to train yourself a lot. You also kind of learn how to rehab injuries. My educational background—everything that I’ve done in college, in high school, studying wrestling, conditioning—has helped me tremendously. I wouldn’t change a thing to put me in a place to be the best fighter that I am today.”

Moore (red gloves) works from Coy's back (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

When it’s time for him to square off in the cage, Moore is confident in his ability. He knows his opponent is on a great run right now. Moore also knows that High has a good wrestling base, but he knows where he holds the advantage. In fact, he was able to sum it up in one word:  “Everywhere.”

Elaborating on those advantages, Moore said, “I know I’m in great shape, I know I’m strong, I know I’m fast, I know my wrestling is great, I know my stand-up is on point and I have power in my hands. As long as I don’t get caught with anything dumb, I don’t see anything happening where I lose the fight.”

Training with the world’s best at one of the best camps in MMA is certainly a great way to build confidence. Moore calls it his “litmus test.”

However, the true test will come Saturday night, and Moore will be ready to ace it.

Top Photo: Nate Moore (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Paige Berger

Relatively new to the sport of MMA, Paige is a life long athlete. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a pioneer member of the women's ice hockey program. She also excelled in softball and soccer before deciding to focus on hockey. Born and raised in New York, she is an avid Yankees fan. Currently residing in Las Vegas, a move she made after falling in love with MMA while training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., she is currently studying public relations and advertising at UNLV.

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