By Patrick Lujan
Baby Joe Taimanglo always had the urge to take his mixed martial arts game to the next level. What he did was take it to the top, spending the last two and a half months training with UFC bantamweight champion Dominic Cruz and a stable of top Alliance MMA fighters in San Diego, California.
In fact, Taimanglo raised his commitment to training with three visits to the MMA camp in the past nine months alone.
And who’s to blame the PXC featherweight champion. There are not many top-level training partners available on Guam that can test the champ on a routine basis.
“There’s so many guys my weight (at Alliance MMA), so it’s more competitive when you have them at the UFC and Bellator level training every day,” Taimanglo said about the training environment.
Headlining the top-level camp is UFC champ Cruz, who recently had to pull out of his scheduled fight against Urijah Faber due to injury. Others who are there training are pro fighters Mike Easton, Wilson Reis and Ross Pearson.
Taimanglo also got a chance to tangle up with newly-crowned Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler whom he calls ‘a beast’.
“I’m making the best of it because you don’t have that many opportunities to train with so many good fighters at one time,” the 27-year-old Taimanglo said. “I’m definitely at their level. We have a lot of great guys here on Guam, but over there, there’s so much more numbers to spar and train.”
The big takeaways from the time spent in such a gym are working the fight game at a very high level and working the intricacies of every aspect from stand-up to takedowns, wrestling to jiu-jitsu. But the biggest takeaway could be the building of an athlete’s confidence when training at such a high level.
“The confidence level is up there, but I’m always going to try and stay humble and work hard every day,” said Baby Joe, who has a 16-4-1 record. With the ring experience and the world-class training, Taimanglo says his game has evolved since his first fight in 2004.
“Without the years of competing and fighting, you build a more comfort zone for your fight plan – as opposed to when you first start fighting, everything is so fast and the fight goes by so fast. But after 10 fights, you get to think and fight at the same time.”
The UFC bantamweight champ has opened his gym to Taimanglo on three different occasions since last October after Baby Joe won the PXC featherweight title by unanimous decision over Harris Sarmiento at PXC 27.
“On and off the mat, he’s a great guy. When you train with him, he teaches you along with the training when you’re going at it. With him being the best in the world at 135, you get the excitement to train with a guy like that. And I don’t want to look bad. When I’m training with him, I give my full attention because he knows what he’s talking about. It’s good to absorb the training and his knowledge.
“Him as an icon in the sport, he has everything going for him. He’s a humble fighter and he has the drive when he trains.”
Up next is the expected title defense in PXC 32 on July 28 against Korea’s Jang Yong Kim, who cruised by Ronnie Borja in the main event of PXC 30 in March.
Baby Joe gives his scouting report on his next championship opponent: “He fights with a lot of skill. But hard work will beat skill any day. I have the skill too, but I have the hard work to back it up. He has a really good wrestling game, but I’ve trained with a lot of high-quality wrestlers. So if that’s what he wants to do, I’m down for it.”
view article here: http://www.guamsportsnetwork.com/?p=11226