World-class striking coach Jason Parillo returned to Submission Radio for an interview that centered on just two of his fighters - Cris 'Cyborg' Justino and Michael Bisping. 'The Count' has a rematch with Dan Henderson in the main event of UFC 204 on Saturday, October 8, 2016, at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
The human body does not get stronger when it exercises. It gets stronger when it rests, after exercise. If the body is not given sufficient nutrition and rest, over training results, and performance diminishes. Bisping is so devoted to his craft that over training is an issue, but Parillo was presented with a unique opportunity to keep The Count out of the gym.
“Me and him had a big conversation about it today and I was like, thank god,'" said Parillo. "Michael did a movie a few weeks ago, he was out filming a movie. I don’t know if you know this, but he had a two-week movie filming in the middle of camp. I had a lot people going, ‘what the f*** are you doing? You gotta tell him not to go’.
"Listen, you don’t understand Michael. This is a blessing in disguise. We need Mike [on the movie set]. How are we going to stop Mike from training and over-training? In the middle of the camp he goes out there, we start training, we got up our rounds, he was in good shape before he left, but it was almost a blessing in disguise that he had this movie going because he was forced into a little bit of a break. He had to focus on the movie, came back, still in shape – I mean, he’s in a tremendous amount of shape.
"And you’re absolutely right, he has a habit of kind of shocking his nervous system a little bit because he does overtrain. So he doesn’t go in the cage a hundred percent himself a lot of times. His conditioning is always there and he’s able to go five rounds and win in high fashion, but he hasn’t always been hurting these guys. And he has the ability, the strength, the power to do it. It was nice to see him do it in the last fight, the last couple of fights – because you gotta remember, for Anderson Silva we had a small camp. He trained hard and he went out there and showed some power, he dropped Anderson Silva. It’s such a mental thing.
"It’s funny cause I always say it and it sounds corny and it sounds like bulls*** – people might think, ‘oh this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about so he keeps on saying it’s a mental thing,’ but it really is. The skillset improves constantly fight to fight obviously - fundamentals and all that good stuff, we always work on. But knowing where you’re at and seeing where you’re going and really having confidence in your [punches] is different. Dan Henderson throws decent punches. He’s got a tremendous amount of power. Yes, there’s a lot of confidence in his power. He believes in that punching power. Believe it or not, I was a boxer, I was a puncher. I could crack pretty hard when I fought and I know firsthand that there’s a belief in it. There really is a belief in your power. There’s a belief in going in that pocket, sitting down on your shot and trying to hurt somebody. There’s a meanness behind it. There’s a lot of mental attitude towards the punching and kicking with real authority and doing it to hurt somebody, and that’s the way Mike’s going at guys now. He’s going
"Dan Henderson throws decent punches. He’s got a tremendous amount of power. Yes, there’s a lot of confidence in his power. He believes in that punching power. Believe it or not, I was a boxer, I was a puncher. I could crack pretty hard when I fought and I know firsthand that there’s a belief in it. There really is a belief in your power. There’s a belief in going in that pocket, sitting down on your shot and trying to hurt somebody. There’s a meanness behind it. There’s a lot of mental attitude towards the punching and kicking with real authority and doing it to hurt somebody, and that’s the way Mike’s going at guys now. He’s going
"He’s going at them to hurt them now. He’s not going out there to pick them apart and break them down and bust them up, he’s just going out there to hurt them now. And like I said, it’s showing up in the gym. And fundamentally, we got him to use his legs more and we got him doing some things fundamentally. But mentally, he’s on a whole other level.”
It is inescapable to talk about the rematch and avoid the ending of the first fight. Dan Henderson knocked out Bisping with what is widely hailed as the greatest KO in league history and then landed another, flying punch to the button of his unconscious opponent.
“I did not know Michael during that fight, and as I got to know him and as I started working with him and we worked a couple of fights together, I went back and watched that fight," said Parillo. "I even went to him afterwards and I said, ‘you know what, that’s a fight that I want to see you fight again. That’s a fight that you deserve to have again and that’s a fight that’s going to change your [life]’. And the championship changed his life, but winning this fight is just like a title. Of course he’s defending his title, so he is winning the title back, but subconsciously and consciously it will change his life beating this guy.
"He’s already changed his life, he’s always a champ. He’s going to be a champion in history for the rest of time. You start going down the books – he’s the first English champion ever. But for his own being and who Michael is and the fighter that he is, he knows that this is a very important fight to him and it’s not even that – nobody dislikes Dan Henderson. I don’t think Mike dislikes Dan Henderson. He doesn’t know Dan Henderson.
"Mike talks s*** to everybody before he fights and that’s part of his trademark, that’s part of who he is and it’s why the fans love to watch him fight – win, lose or draw. But this is a very important fight for the both of us, for our whole team, for Brady Fink as well, for the guys that Michael’s been around for a long time, and it’s very important. There’s nothing personal here, there’s just a little scar on Mike that we want to get off and Dan Henderson’s it, and Mike’s gonna be really focused and try again. He’s gonna do it in a high fashion, he’s gonna go out there have a good time and redeem himself.”
“I got a couple of ideas how this thing goes. I know Dan has his H-Bomb, but Bisping’s got a Bisping bomb too. His right hand is firing very well – that’s a punch that’s been stopping guys in the gym.
“So we’re just going to go one shot. Every time I get asked these questions, I go with the one shot. If it ends from one shot, I’ll tell you what shot it’s gonna be. It’s gonna be a head kick. He’s gonna knock out Dan Henderson with a head kick.”
The coach was asked which leg would get the KO.
“I don’t want him ducking it, I don’t want him looking for it," saud Parillo. "Or maybe I do want him looking for it. Maybe this is all a manipulation."
"Left head kick," predicted Parillo. "He’s gonna knock him out with a left head kick.”
Parillo also discussed Cris 'Cyborg and said the cuts to 140 do leave the fighter at her best.
"That’s my bigger fear," said the coach. "I mean, health-wise, of course, but it’s how you’re going to perform. I mean, she can keep her strength - she’s so strong compared to these girls, but it’s obviously the bigger fear of mine. Your chin’s not the same when you have a brutal weight cut like that, your power’s not the same, your conditioning’s not the same. There’s a lot of things that aren’t the same and it opens up a lot of doors for the other girl to capitalize on.
"Cris performed obviously at the level she performs at. She’s a beast, she’s a champion, she’s a fighter, she lives, eats, breathes fighting. That’s all she does. But it has been my biggest fear, is her going down to 140. I want 145 and I think the fans and everybody deserve it. They pay money to see her fight, to see her fight at one hundred percent ability and we don’t want to go out and see a shell of herself. [If] we go out and see Cris Cyborg, she’s a shell of herself, she goes in, she gets in a tough fight, and the factor is because she had a brutal weight cut – it doesn’t make sense to me.”
“I’ve always said, if you build it, they will come. If you put Cris Cyborg at 145 pounds, she will create a division. She will. I mean, Ronda Rousey did it and I think she’s the same type of star. She will draw the bigger fighters”
“I don’t see what the harm is in it. I think it’s the way to go, it’s what I’d like to see her do. This is her career and she’s gonna make the choices that she wants to do. And at the end of the day, I know she wants that 145-pound weight class, I want that 145-pound weight class, I believe the fans want that 145-pound weight class. So it’d be nice to think that there would be some type of opening to it, but from what I understand, it’s not even a thought of opening that class.
“I knew her a long time before she even was in the UFC. We were always talking about trying to get her down to 135 – now I’m obviously thoroughly against that – and we had conversations in the past and I told her back in the day, I was like, ‘look you truly are something special.' She is special. You can look at her today, I mean, her second fight in the UFC and she’s a main event and there’s a hell of a lot of views on that fight and a lot of people watch and a lot of people were talking about Cris Cyborg as well. She’s a special fighter and I told her to keep plugging away and people are gonna know who she is.
"They know who she is now. Fortunately, she got put on the big stage of the UFC, but I tell her all the time and like I said, these fighters are gonna make their own decisions and I guess depending on the money and depending on the situation, they’re gonna make a decision. And it’s funny because we all forget pain, we all forget the suffering that we did. You forget what that felt like. You forget. And it amazes me sometimes. A lot of these fighters, they forget. You know, a month goes by after that fight, they’re feeling good, they’re living life high on the hog, they’re having a good time and they remember that they did make the weight, but they didn’t remember the sacrifice and suffering to get there and how scary it was.
"So that’s pretty much what I remind her of. I say, ‘look, you want to do 140 again? You remember how it was? You remember you said you didn’t want to go to 140 again? You remember what you said’? And she says, ‘I know, I know’. But you bring in a high-level nutritionist like George Lockhart, and so I know that with that being done, she’s at least monitored, she’s at least under a professional’s care, in a sense. He’s watching what she’s doing, he’s obviously educated on what he’s doing and so it’s at least a safer route to go. And I know that she wants to get in there and she wants those big fights with all the big names with the people who have been in the UFC.
"I’ve always said it – Cyborg will cut off her hand if she wants to make weight. And I love the attitude, but at the same time, I’m always trying to look out for her best interests and I will speak my mind and give my advice and my thoughts on it and it ends up being up to them to take it. And I’m not the type of guy that says, ‘you didn’t listen to me go, f*** yourself’. I end up caring about these athletes and these fighters that I spend a lot of time with and I want to be there regardless if they make that decision and they’re gonna go into that battle. I mean, I end up going in there with them regardless because I want to make sure I’m looking out for their best interests and have their back.”
A fight between former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg would well be the biggest fight in MMA history. The coach was asked if it has an expiration date.
“We’ll see how [Rousey] looks," he said. "Depending on how she looks in her first fight back will depend on how quick [the fight gets made]. If she looks like a world-beater, they’re gonna put her up against Cris right away. If she goes out there and looks like dog s*** that’ll squash the whole idea of it anyway.”
It’s a fight that should happen and needs to happen. I think both of them think about it all the time. I think both of them want to fight each other. I think Ronda wants to fight Cris, it’s just there’s a confidence issue with it as of right now, I believe.
“I’d love to see the fight and I’d love to see the fight at 145-pounds. I know Ronda’s competed many times at 145 and she competed at the Olympics at 155, from what I understand. So she’s no stranger to that. That’s probably more of her size anyway and I think we’d see a real honest fight at 145-pounds.”