Ninja Roberts: Claude Patrick’s head is so big it’s like two opponents
Fourteen months ago ‘Ninja’ Roberts moved from Tulsa, Okla. to San Francisco to train with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team. The welcome mat didn’t roll out quick for Roberts. Imagine showing up to the gym out of the blue and finding Diaz brothers Nick and Nate glaring in your direction.
“They take a while to open up,” Roberts said.
A couple weeks after the move, he got a call from the UFC to replace Anthony Johnson in a fight against John Howard at UFC on Versus 1. That meant the rent would be paid. Roberts got knocked out cold by a leaping punch in the first round.
Since then Roberts has racked up three consecutive wins, including a slick anaconda choke of Mike Guymon that won him “Submission of the Night” honors at UFC 121 Roberts is now wrapping up camp for a fight with Claude Patrick at UFC 129, which takes place April 30.
“Champions train different than other fighters,” Roberts explained. “I’ve trained with a lot of good fighters before, and it was OK. But training with champions, they do everything to the extreme.”
Claude Patrick demonstrates that his large dome is full of class in an interview with Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show:
“Roberts is obviously a quality opponent, him being in the UFC and training with the team he’s training with. The guy’s highly skilled, a great submission fighter, a good wrestler. I think he’s got some underrated other skills as well.”
“I see it as a no-lose situation. I’ve improved so much getting ready to face this guy. A lot of times people thought I had a clear ground advantage, and now this time people are like, OK, he’s better on the ground. So then, OK, I have to double up my ground training. My skills have improved quite a bit. I’ve learned a lot and added a lot to my repertoire in preparation for this fight.”
“Really you’re fighting yourself. You can plan for him to do X, Y and Z from all the tapes you’ve seen, and he could do something completely different and then you’re upstream without a paddle. That just would be a real disaster.”