Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sayif Saud is quickly becoming a household name amongst MMA fans. In addition to having an impressive stable of fighters from his Fortis MMA entering the UFC, he catches the attention of plenty of viewers with his intense in between round advice. The most recent example came this past weekend as he yelled at Carlos Deigo Ferreira to pour on the pressure, walk through the leg kicks, and finish the fight. While his man didn’t get the finish, Saud’s fighter continued to follow the instructions en route to the biggest win of his career.

Saud has yet another fighter throwing down for the UFC this weekend in Vancouver. Miles Johns steps in the cage, fresh off of the Contender Series, to face Cole Smith. Johns is also familiar with the pep talks of Saud. He shared with The Top Turtle MMA Podcast the best in between round advice his coach ever gave him.

“The best thing that he ever said to me in between rounds was in my second pro fight,” Johns shared. “I broke my hand in like the first two minutes of the first round. I dropped [my opponent] and I felt it - you just know.”

As he headed back to his corner, he had a grim outlook on the rest of the fight.

“In between those rounds I walked to the corner and I could feel it pulsing,” he recalled of the 2015 bout.

“I’m like ‘coach, I think I broke my hand,” he recounted. “He looked at me and is like ‘what the f*** do you want me to do? We got to fight. We got to finish the fight.”

Although maybe not the response he was expecting, Johns admits that it was the advice he, and many fighters for that matter, needed. And not just for the fight he was in at the time, but for his mentality surrounding fighting in general.

“My mind right after was ‘I know my hand is hurt’ and right away he snapped me right back into it,” Johns said. “He reminded me that when you’re in the cage, nobody is getting you out except yourself… You’re never out of the fight until you allow yourself to be out of the fight.”

That mentality, along with the high-level technical coaching of the team at Fortis MMA, has lead Johns to an undefeated record of 9-0. He’ll look to make it an even 10 on the ESPN+ prelims at this weekend’s Gaethje vs Cerrone card.

(2:30 mark)

Author Daniel Vreeland is a co-founder of the Top Turtle Podcast, and a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu at New England Submission Fighting in Amherst, Massachusetts.