Gerard Williamson: Know the story. Know the fighter. Part two. Headhunters Fighting Championship – post fight interview

Combat Vision MMA spoke to Gerard Williamson after his first-round submission victory against Liam Miller at Headhunters Fighting Championship on Saturday 16th September 2017.

You came into the fight in immaculate shape. Could you tell our readers about your nutrition, weight cut, refuelling and rehydration for fight night.

“Thanks, that is something else that has been key in my return to competitive fighting. I have always been lucky with my shape and have good genetics that way. However, if you would have seen me last October/November I was in a really bad state with back pain and was really quite down about it all.  I almost gave up on it all till I gave myself a shake, realised that If I wanted to still enjoy training I would need to rejig it all and drop the ego. I started by swapping heavy weights for HIIT or circuit training, cut out a lot of crap food I was maybe eating and started educating myself on it all via podcasts and youtube. I also dropped road work and utilised sprint training. As any sort of HIIT, circuit or sprint training is good for spiking natural GH level in the body. I also tinkered with intermittent fasting as well, so it was a progressional experiment up until about 4 weeks before fight night”

“I was also given some info from an old mate of mine living in Canada about switching to a plant-based diet. Basically, no meat, dairy, poultry, processed or refined food and to how beneficial it has been to him with energy levels etc. It was a bit of bold move 4 weeks before a fight. But, I lost 3kg the first week and I was eating like a horse. I also found my energy levels, sleep and recovery were massively improved and even up to the day of the weigh-in, I was still cutting weight and eating at least 3 meals a day”

“The difference it made to me was I only had to take the water off through the sauna and Epsom salt baths a day or so before weigh in. It was crazy how easy it was to get to 77kg having been 87kg at the start of camp”

Going back to 2008 you were 2-0. Could you tell our readers about your performances in this period and what happened thereafter that made you come to the conclusion that it was time to disconnect with the sport.

Yeah, like I touched on earlier. I had two 1st round submission finishes, the first fight lasted 3mins 30secs and I was absolutely knackered after it. I couldn’t believe the change in pace and energy levels from kickboxing and I was running 6 miles a day then too. The second fight I worked on plyometric and interval training. I found it helped massively with the performance, it only lasted 1 min 30 secs as well. But, I felt my conditioning was so much better going into it”

“Unfortunately, my lifestyle and personal life were a disaster and I was all over the place at the time. It is a wonder I even managed to compete. I had a shoulder injury at the time that eventually needed surgery and by the time I came back from the gym I trained at, it had folded. After that, the next few years slipped away due to one thing or another with my personal life and work is the biggest adversaries. But, most of the time I put excuses in front of not coming back sooner. I also suffered from bouts of anxiety at times even though I am a confident guy. I had to work on that before considering any return”

Coming back to the present 2017. Mentally and spiritually how did you know you were ready to make a comeback. Do you feel any difference now to before in terms of maybe how you approach training/competing or physically.

“Yeah, 100 percent. At the end of last year, I got in touch with a life/mind coach as I had some goals/targets I wanted to go after professionally & personally. I had heard about the work he was doing and I was in a bit of a rut both professionally and personally so I was interested to see how he could help me. As I said earlier, it has been a case of starting with small goals that progress to bigger things and as each month went by I was seeing a massive change in my life circumstantially wise. I had also turned into a bit of geek with nutrition, dieting, recovery and well as listening to a lot of motivational speakers and leaders at night or during the day”

“I went from being a guy who couldn’t get out of bed before 8:30am unless I was working to a guy who has been getting up at 3:30am to train before work when I am offshore and then again at night after a 12-hour shift. It has been wild the transformation on my part this year and I have been pretty hardcore and regimental in my approach to training and fighting this year as I really need to be if I want to do this again and not just a one-off”

“I work offshore and I am 36 so those two things alone can be good enough reasons not to do it again. But, they are not good excuses. You get this mindset listening to guys like Eric Thomas, David Goggins, Jock Willink, Les Brown, Tony Robbins etc. These guys give you it straight and you realise, that you are cheating yourself if you are saying you want one thing and not carrying the actions out. I get loads of folk messaging me asking for advice for training or conditioning as I post a lot of the stuff I do when I get up. Like a kind of Jocko Willink rip off really”

“But, I do it to help others out and show them that even though you might have a busy life or don’t have the time. that you really do and you are just putting excuses in the way. I also tell them the first bit of exercising they need to do is on their mind, as it is the mind that gets me up at 3:30am and not the body. Once the mind is conquered, then what you can do is limitless really”

Do you think it says a lot about your character and your deep appreciation for the sport to come back after 9 years as many fighters in your position would have cut the cord.

“I generally try and do good in life. Now, as much as I can and hopefully by showing my journey or telling my story might spark someone else into getting off the couch and giving it a bash or starting that business or whatever it is they are holding back on”

“That’s the sort of character I have now. I also knew I would have left something unfinished with MMA, it was really in its infancy in Scotland when I first did it. Now, we have guys in the top organisations in the world and I am training beside some of them at Scottish Hit Squad. For me, it’s an absolute privilege to be involved in any capacity with Scottish Hit Squad and even better that I am now classed as fighting out of there. I just take life as it comes as I have had loads of setbacks in life. So right now, I am fit, healthy and in a good position which allows me to do this”

In terms of visualization. How did you balance your thoughts on Saturday. From waking up in the morning, coming to the arena, getting your hands wrapped to eventually hitting pads with Brian Gallacher before the cage walk. What were the messages coming from your coaches in the locker room.

“I have been doing loads with meditating, breathing exercises and tapping. I have banged on a good bit now about the mindset side of it all. But, it’s probably some fighters biggest downfall that they can’t get their head sorted. You have got to believe in what you’re doing and be happy with yourself that you have done the best you can in your circumstances. Another technique I was using was a comparator, this comes from the motivational speakers I listen to”

“It’s a pretty daunting situation fighting someone in front of people. But, when you compare it to some things in life it is a breeze. I have had family members who have passed away recently through illness or have had terrible life-altering news about their health. When you put it into context, given the option to face that news or have an MMA fight it changes the perspective”

“I was the calmest I have ever been, come fight day/night. I knew I had worked so hard on every aspect that my mind was 100 percent focused on the job. Brian even commented on it, you have got to enjoy the experience of being back there doing it and not get overwhelmed. I think age helps with that as well. The guys were just saying go out there and enjoy it. I mean I had a UFC fighter (Paul Craig) doing my wraps and another one in Gunnar Nelson sitting across from me. How the hell can you not savour that moment? I had earned the right to be there again the guys could see that in me that I was totally in the zone and I had everything under control”

Do you have an idea when you would like to get back into the cage. Looking at oOpponents. Is there a particular body type or skill-set that would like to come up against.

“I see Headhunters have another show in November and I am onshore for this event. So, I messaged Brian straight away about getting matched. The first two weeks in November are the only dates suitable this side of the year for me due to work and a course I am sitting. Failing that early next year, I have said to Brian I will keep myself in fighting condition year round as I am limited to what event I can do with being away with work. I have the dedication and desire to do that. Hopefully, I have a few years left in me to make a decent go of this”

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