(SPONSORED CONTENT) -- Javier
Vazquez is one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu players in North
America and he wound up having himself a solid mixed martial arts
career along the way. A third-degree black belt in under the
legendary Carlson Gracie, Vazquez dominated dozens of grappling
tournaments before switching to gears and trying his hand at pro
The first thing I’ll do is I need to get into that “fight” mindset.
I’ll need to change my diet and that means eating only clean,
healthy foods, no drinking and absolutely no partying at all. That
is actually the first thing I do to get into fight prep mode, is
changing my diet. I don’t need to hang up any pictures of the guy
I’m fighting or any of that stuff, but in my mind that’s what I
How do you get to "Know Your Enemy" before a fight?
I watch a lot of film. I study and breakdown the film of my
opponent to check out what his tendencies are and I find out the
people he’s been training with. I’ll try and get an understanding
of how they think they can beat me by looking at some of my most
recent fights. I’m not necessarily trying to focus on what I am
doing in training per se, but I am constantly trying to take
advantage of any mistakes that they make.
What is your training like?
I start off by getting myself into shape in terms of my cardio.
Tons of strength and conditioning, similar to a lot of
CrossFit-type of training. I’ll swim, do pad work, wrestle, do my
jiu jitsu, shoulder drills, motion drills, slipping punches. I
don’t always train in my gi but since I love jiu jitsu so much, I
will do gi work at times just to switch up the monotony of it. I do
a lot of drills to defend the strikes on the ground, like fighting
off my back, slipping punches off my back, working to get back to
my feet or work sweeps. I try to put myself in worst-case scenarios
so I can work out of them.
Do you study your opponent’s style to prepare counter-attacks
Yeah. I look at their movement, their tendencies, what they like to
throw. For me, guys generally don’t fight me the way they normally
fight. They tend to always fight me differently because of the
danger of the takedown. The strategy for me, in their eyes, is to
keep the fight on the feet and out-strike me. Nobody is trying to
take me down and submit me so the only reasonable alternative is to
keep me standing and try to knock me out. Nobody will rush me,
either, because I can easily take people down when they try that. I
think I have more of a specialist style and guys seem to always
change their approach when fighting me. Now, if a guy is as
high-level of a grappler as me, then I’ll just work on keeping the
fight standing and improve my striking. I always try to beat guys
where they are the weakest, not where they are the strongest.
What do you take away from each fight that helps you prepare
for the next?
First of all, I always respect everybody that I fight and everybody
I will fight. That’s number one. But what do I take away from each
fight? I focus on every mistake -- big or small -- that I made. I
always want to improve so I want to know where I strayed from the
gameplan. Also, when I look at my fights, I try not to ever look at
what my opponent did. Rather, I study what I did right and what I
did wrong so I can fix that the next time out. I know that I can
submit anybody I fight and when I don’t, or if I lose, I want to
know exactly where I went wrong.