This week’s episode started out with B.J. Penn gathering Team Penn around before practice for a team meeting. He discussed a problem which was highlighted through Tim Williams’ loss. Tim got tired in the second round of his fight—this guy is a cardio machine—and it was clear his energy was drained due to over-training.

Now, Tim was definitely the biggest offender of over-training on our team (he would do his own workout before practice every day, which included sit-ups and a two-mile run), but there were many of us pushing too hard and not communicating with our coaches. It could have been because our coaches names were B.J. Penn and Mark Coleman and we felt we could not show weakness to these guys, or it could have been the constant adrenaline rush and surreal feeling of being a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter; but we were not telling our coaches when we felt tired and when we felt like we needed a rest.

When you are in your general setup, training with your usual coaches in your usual gym, you have that relationship with your team where you can say, “Hey, my body is kinda beat up and I need a rest.” We probably didn’t feel like we had that kind of relationship with our coaches, so we were pushing ourselves beyond our limits and doing more damage than good.

B.J. made a great analogy of how training is like a recipe, and how you don’t want your recipe to make a meal that is too salty…and that is what we were doing. I know for a fact I was definitely over-trained, so thankfully this problem was identified sooner rather than later.

B.J. gave us that evening off, and I took the opportunity to appeal to the producers’ festive side and ask for some Halloween props and candy, as it was the 31st of October. I did this for two reasons: 1) I’ve always loved Halloween, and 2) it was starting to get really boring in there—it was like Groundhog Day. This would break things up and give us something different to do from the norm.

I immediately began working on a Jack’o Lantern, as did Chris Fields and Dan Spohn. Mike King and Josh Clark, however, showed their Halloween spirit by dressing up in a sexy nurse and sexy maid costume, respectively, although I want to go on the record immediately and state that it was not one bit sexy! I saw the funny side in it and so did most the other guys on the team, but Anton Berzin was hilariously disgusted by the whole thing! His reaction to the two guys dressing up was my highlight of Halloween 2013!

With regards to the fight that had been matched up: it was quite clear that Team Frankie Edgar were very confident going into this match-up, and so they should have been. It was their first selection of a fight since they gained control for the first time. They picked a match-up which they thought heavily favored them. Corey Anderson was a standout wrestler and Josh Clark was a stand-up guy who possibly had a weakness in the wrestling department.

Josh was one of the nicest and kindest guys in the house. He was just a real genuine, nice guy. He had some real skills in the gym, too, especially in the striking department. However, as was apparent in this episode, he had a one big downfall, and that was in the mentality department. Josh beat himself up when things didn’t go his way and as a result he performed even worse. It was like a vicious circle. Everyone has bad days in the gym or moments where you make mistakes and get caught, but the key to being a confident, successful athlete is not dwelling on the moments/bad days. Yes, you should definitely learn from them and identify where you went wrong, but after that you should move on. Dwelling on these situations puts you in a negative frame of mind that affects your performance. The coaches and fighters of Team Penn identified this chink in Josh’s armor, and we rallied around him and complimented his strengths and ensured him he was better than his opponent to boost his confidence. This could be seen in parts of the episode.

Anyway, the fight began as we expected. Josh was the superior striker, and Corey was looking to use his wrestling to take the fight to the mat. Josh tagged Corey a few times and defended a takedown or two. But even when Corey took Josh down, Josh still looked dangerous as he looked for submissions. He got back to his feet a few times and continued to win the striking exchanges. It looked like Josh would edge a close first round, but with 30 seconds to go, Corey took Josh down and maintained top position, which pretty much sealed the round, which had been very tight.

I think that final takedown in the first round determined the rest of the fight. Josh went back to his corner and felt he had lost the first round in a situation where it had been very close. The Josh that beat himself up over mistakes he made reared his ugly head at this point, and in the second round, Josh looked like he was nearly accepting Corey’s takedown attempts. He looked defeated, and the second round was much more one-sided than the first.

Corey won the decision over two rounds by majority. One judge had given the first round to Josh, so that judge had it a draw. I felt for Josh, as I saw it as a case of his mind losing the fight rather than his skill set. I really think if Josh can overcome this side of the sport, then he could have a great future. He really is a talented fighter.

Team Edgar regained control, and they picked another match-up with a strong wrestler (Ian Stephens) against a guy they figured had a weakness in that area (Roger Zapata). This fight, as you saw in the teaser, contains some very, very controversial happenings. So, stay tuned…

About The Author

Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred is a 26-year-old martial artist hailing from Dublin, Ireland. He was born in Boston while his father was studying law overseas. Pendred moved to Ireland at age five and took part in judo and taekwondo, before finding rugby. At the age of 19, Pendred turned his attention to MMA. He holds wins over UFC veterans Che Mills, David Bielkheden and Nicholas Musoke and was the Cage Warriors welterweight champion prior to joining the cast of The Ultimate Fighter. Pendred trains alongside current UFC fighter Conor McGregor and fellow TUF 19 competitor Chris Fields at SBG Ireland.