The UFC’s best lightweight, Australian Alexander Volkanovski, is in Auckland helping Israel Adesanya and the stable of City Kickboxing fighters prepare for their fights at UFC 243.
Adesanya said he preferred practicing wrestling with smaller men like Volkanovski because their speed held him in good stead for fighting his fellow middleweights.
Adesanya, lightweight Dan Hooker and their stablemate Brad Riddell fly to Melbourne on Monday for UFC 243.
Thailand-based, American wrestling coach Frank Hickman is also lending a hand.
“My job is simple, trying to take the guys down, try to hold them down, try to give them a realistic feel, make them tired, wear them out,” Hickman told 1 NEWS.
“I brought him (Hickman) over here selfishly, even though I’m fighting at middleweight I like having guys like Frank who are lighter because I feel like their technique is much sharper, he’s pretty strong, he’s faster as well,” Adesanya said.
“Skills, technique, that’s what I’m trying to build on, wrestling with him is like trying to wrestle a rabid dog, it’s really annoying.”
Adesanya said wrestling lighter men showed up in his fights.
“I scramble a lot better than all these guys cause they’re used to wrestling slower guys as well, I like to wrestle with faster guys, people who are better than me,” Adesanya said.
Australian Volkanovski, the former UFC featherweight champion, is also in Auckland to help prepare the Kiwis.
“It’s good to be here and not be in my own camp, just learn and help out and give back as well,” he said.
“Having someone of his calibre, it helps bring up the rest of the team, he’s just reciprocating all the favours that those boys have done for him,” coach Eugene Bareman said.
Adesanya heads the massive UFC promotion in Melbourne next week, aiming to beat NZ-born Australian Robert Whittaker to win the undisputed middleweight title.