Riley Daniels of the Nottingham MMA gym gave us some insight into his experiences of keeping fit and in form for mixed martial arts competitions during lockdown and what it means for his future as a fighter.
Riley as been involved with MMA for three years now mainly focusing on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but now his hopes for the future are to get his MMA career going, however the pandemic has put a halt to his initial plans.
Despite lockdown, Riley has worked to adapt and continued to train near enough everyday to keep improving on his game but admits lockdown has caused limitations in training.
“It’s not the same quality and consistency as it was before, before you’d turn up to class and there’d be thirty to forty people there, so training now is not the same.”
Despite the limitations of the lockdown not allowing close combat training to go ahead, Riley has taken this time to improve his game in whatever way he has found possible given the difficult circumstances.
“When I train regularly I’m only really focusing on the martial arts side of things, so it’s given me a chance to step back and focus a bit more fitness and striking.
“With only one other person it’s allowed me to focus more on pad work.”
Riley is well experiences in his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu currently at blue belt and is optimistic about moving onto purple if things go well by the end of the year. However admitted towards the start of 2020 was when he was going to begin is transition on working to move up the ranks in the mixed martial arts side of things.
“It was supposed to be my year for MMA to be honest, but the lockdown completely wrote that off.
“I thought by the new year like most we’d be back to normal again but it seems after talking to my coaches and manager they think it’s going to be another right off”, he explained.
With the MMA scene in Nottingham right now at a stand still, it can be frustrating to judge how other competitors are progressing, yet Riley explained he’s been working as hard as he can to ensure when he returns to competitive fighting his hard work gives him the edge over his opponents.
“With the world at a stagnant point right now, for training it make is difficult to know where other people are at, so I’ve just been pushing myself to keep training.”
Riley had hoped that 2020 would offer him more fights inside the cage to get him going in his path to success, and has an idea of where he wants to be in years to come regarding competing in BJJ and MMA competitively, but is not naïve to the challenges that can come on that road to glory.
“It’s a hard sport to make it in and I’m wise to that, there’s a lot of really quality people who haven’t made it by not winning the right fights at the right time.
“I just want to, despite how hard it is right now, enjoy the process and be as good as I can.
“Whether I fight or not, I still want to be a good martial artist so that’s always the goal, but I’d like to compete at a high level, whether that’s MMA or Jiu Jitsu.”
The thrill Riley gets from competing is one he admitted getting great satisfaction from, and hopes to continue getting involved with comps and climbing the ranks when it’s once again possible, but for now it’s just about keeping fit by training hard.
“Competitions are there to be done, you represent you gym and I like to do that, the nerves and intensity are much higher but it’s really enjoyable and I love it.”
Riley believes everyone should at least try out a mixed martial art sport at least once to see if it’s at all for them, and thinks it is important that every person knows as least a bit of self defence.
“I definitely would like to see more people getting involved, even for me it was nerve-wracking at first but once you get past that first faze it’s a really friendly environment.
“It not only teaches you how to fight but also gives you that confidence that you don’t need to do it outside of the gym, you can just use words in defusing situations.”
Riley also explained how getting involved with mixed martial arts has allowed him to grow both inside and outside of the gym in confidence and has allowed him to learn new things that contribute to his work ethic.
The constant work put in by Riley is sure to pay off when he’s once again able to fight competitively which he is eager to do soon as possible.
By Joel Del Gesso