The Best is yet to Come
© Marc Wickert
Fighting out of Santa Rosa, California, Jiu Jitsu black belt David Terrell was born in Sacramento, and first took up a fighting art at age 12.
"My real dad passed away when I was little and my stepfather actually wrestled in college, and he got me into wrestling when I was in seventh grade. I really got into wrestling when the first Ultimate Fighting Championship came out. I saw Royce Gracie just like every other person did. I was an instant fan. And there was this local school where they did Sambo, which is similar in that they did leg locks and chokes. So I started doing Sambo.
"I was like 16 years old and we had mats in my garage. Some of the judo guys in town, some of the wrestlers, my dad, and my brothersÖwe would practice really hard in the garage and then go to the Sambo classes a couple of times a week. Eventually I started getting too good for the classes. Then a cousin of mine was training with Ralph and Cesar Gracie at Concord, so when I was 18, I started commuting to Concord. I just got into it. I started going every day, but it was like commuting for an hour and a half each way," says Terrell.
David did this for a few years and then decided if he was ever going to get really good at the fighting arts, he needed to train a couple of times a day. Eventually he quit his job as a machine builder at an injection-molding plant and moved to Concord, where he commenced instructing the kidsí classes to make a little money.
"Pretty much when I decided to dedicate my life to martial arts, everything started going downhill: My car got repossessed, my credit went horribleÖ" laughs Terrell. " So I definitely didnít have any money for a while. And I was just training every day, going to boxing, training with Cesar."
David has stayed with Cesar since he first started traveling from Sacramento years ago. At a time when fighters tend to chop and change from one gym to another, this might seem unusual. "Iíve been with Cesar the whole time. Iím kinda big into the loyalty thing. I donít like people who jump around from academy to academy."
At UFC 49: Unfinished Business, Terrell made his Octagon Debut by knocking out MMA legend Matt Lindland - just 24 seconds into the first round, when he caught Matt with a dynamite-loaded left fist in a southpaw vs. southpaw battle. David was happy with the result: "Oh, yeah. And I trained so hard for that fight. Obviously, if Iíd known that was going to happen, I probably wouldnít have needed to train that hard, but you never expect that to be the outcome when you do prepare for a fight. You train for the full 15 minutes and not a second less.
"So I trained like a maniac for that fight. Not only do I have to train hard Ė which is mentally challenging, but itís also hard because of the dieting. Iím used to fighting at 205 or 199, so coming down to 185 is a little bit tougher. You know, dieting is the difficult thing when youíre used to eating a lot."
Pushing his body to the limit can present other challenges for Terrell when preparing for the Octagon. "I donít know how the other fighters are affected, but Iím always beat up. Itís nice when I go to the UFC - we get to tournaments a week early, and my body is able to heel. We definitely start to taper off a week and a half before, but every workout is tough because Iím always sore, and Iím continually trying to push my body with track work, boxing workoutsÖ With training hard like that you get injuries here and there. Not only do the injuries slow your sessions down, but they also affect your state of mind. With the last few fights, thank God, Iíve been healthy. You get little nicks and bruises, but Iím feeling good for this match."
For his bout against Evan Tanner at UFC 51: Super Saturday, Terrell has been training with such names as boxing coach Rosendo, kickboxing coach Billy Olsen, fellow UFC star Nick Diaz, and other stable mates: former world shooto champion Jake Shields, Gilbert Malendez and Brett Bergmark.
David, what do you expect from Evan Tanner?
"I know heís a real strong guy. He used to fight at 205, and now heís fighting at 185, so I know heís going to be a strong opponent. I also know heís training very hard for this fight. Heís definitely been doing a lot of stand-up fighting. He has no problem doing submissions and he won his last match with a triangle. And he has some good wrestling takedowns, so I know itís going to be a real tough fight. Thatís why Iím training the way I am. Heís a formidable opponent and heís well rounded. Heís not one-dimensional. Iím looking for an absolute war out of him."
How will your fitness compare to his?
"Well, Iím doing everything I can to get in top shape. Hopefully heís doing the same."
So you want a battle?
"I want to show everybody my skills, because my last fight against Matt Lindland was very short, and I know itís good to get a 24-second knock out. The only bad thing is that many people havenít seen some of my Japan fights or some of my grappling fights. They havenít seen the kind of techniques I have to offer. I have a lot to prove, to show people my last fight wasnít a fluke.
"And as you start to fight more, you start to learn that as you have somebody hurt, you donít admire your work: You have to take advantage of it. Five years ago when I first started fighting, I remember kicking a guy in the head and just kinda looking at it, going ĎWowí. Today, I know to capitalize on it. And I thought I did well in the last fight. I came out really aggressive against pretty much the number-one guy in the world. I was really proud of myself."
How do you think Evan will want the match to go, standing or on the ground?
"I really have no idea, but Iím definitely preparing myself for every aspect of the fight. I think, maybe, in the past heís been a ground fighter. Itís kinda hard when youíve done something for so many years to try to change it. But a lot of these guys forget where theyíve come from. I havenít forgotten Iím a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. So if he gives me something, Iím going to take his arm or his neck. Sometimes, because people start doing a lot of stand up they forget their background and they think theyíre stand-up fighters. And they get knocked out.
"I know where my strong points are, and Iím sure he feels the same. He came from a wrestling and submission background, but I hear a lot of rumors that heís going to want to stand up and knock me out. I can only train and prove it in the ring. Heís a really nice guy and Iím not going to talk bad about him, because on February 5th, you guys are all going to see anyway. Some guys have big mouths and thatís their way of getting their names out there. For me, the outcome will be proven in the Octagon. "
David, before you start your workout, is there anything youíd like to add to this?
"I appreciate all the help I get from my academy, and I really want to thank the UFC for all they have done for me. Dr.Gary Furness keeps me healthy and does a lot for me. People think this is an individual sport, but you need your friends and your training partners by your side or you wouldnít be able to do it. And I definitely want to thank the fans."
"KTFO, Dogs of War, Full Contact Fighter, Fairtex, Sinister Clothing, No Gi Industries, and California Capital Mortgage."
For more on David Terrell Ė www.ncfa.tv
For more on UFC 51: Super Saturday Ė www.ufc.tv
Getting Back on the Horse
© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright 2004
When David Terrell entered the Octagon at UFC 51: Super Saturday, to clash with MMA veteran Evan Tanner for the world middleweight title, he gave it one hell of a shot. And although David is disappointed with having lost the bout, he knows he came away from the fight as a winner.
"Well, people say when you lose, you learn a lot. And thatís absolutely true. I feel I gained a tremendous amount from that loss. It sounds stupid, but I believe itís going to make me the fighter that Iíve always wanted to be. I probably wouldnít get to that level if I hadnít had the loss, and Iím happy that it happened this early in my career. But I really canít wait to get back in there," says Terrell.
For Davidís battle with Evan, he came out ready for war, and in the early stages of the bout it appeared the fight was going to be his. At 1.30 into the clash, Terrell had Tanner on the canvas with a deep guillotine in place. But miraculously, Evan escaped the choke and began turning the tide on David.
Terrell says he is unsure whether he set too fast a pace in the fightís early stages: "Maybe I went a little too hard. I probably should have kept a slower pace considering I had cut so much weight to make the middleweight division. But thatís all Iíve been doing for the last month: saying I would have, should have, and could have. But I just have to grow from the loss. Youíve got to get back on the horse, you know.
"I donít want to be the one to make excuses. He was obviously the better man that day. But there are a lot of things I was happy with even though I lost. And every fight I feel I get better, so I canít wait for the next one, because in each new fight I show a lot more skills."
Straight after the match, David wrote a message on his web site (www.ncfa.tv) to his fans and to those who helped him prepare for the match, saying he had made some mistakes in the clash, but he knew they were mistakes he could fix. Terrell hopes to be fighting in Japan at UFC 53, in June, 2005. If he does get a match, his diet is one area heíll focus on.
"Mainly I want to keep my weight down and not let it get out of control. It wonít be hard if I fight in June, because I will have three months to train for it. Definitely, I donít want my weight to get out of control. I thought I had it under control and that I could drop the water weight, but it turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected.
"There are a few other things to look at, like when the crowd started booing because Evan was backing up a lot. And when the crowd booed, I thought to myself, ĎI donít want them to boo at a fight Iím in.í They started booing and I wanted to put on a good fight for the fans, so I attacked Evan and I went crazy.
"Next time Iíve got to have more control and Iíve got to stay calm. There are a lot of things that I honestly learnt from that fight. Of course itís depressing to me, and to my fans to see me lose like that, but this is how fighters are made."
David, Frank Trigg said his loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 45 was the best thing that happened to him as a fighter. Youíre saying the same about your loss to Evan.
"Definitely. It definitely is, so I just want to really train hard for my next fight, and I have five of my students competing in the next Gladiator Challenge. I want to work at building up my fight team and doing a lot of fighting myself."
What did Evan say to you after the fight?
"I think he said something like I almost had him. I just said, ĎHey man, youíre an incredible fighter.í Itís nice fighting a guy whoís really classy like Evan is. He doesnít give dirty looks. Heís there to fight: Itís just business. The same with Matt Lindland: Theyíre just classy people. Itís cool to fight people like that. I feel theyíre good opponents. They donít talk outside the ring: They do their fighting inside the cage.
"But Iím feeling really confident. You know, if I have a 15-minute fight next time, Iím going to kill the guy. Iím never going to take the easy way out again by trying to choke an opponent. If itís there, Iíll take it, but Iím not going to try to finish a fight with a quick head kick, a quick choke, or a quick punch. I just want to stalk the guy, take him out to the deep water and drown him. If Iím fighting 15 minutes, Iím fighting 15 minutes. And Iím punching that guy for 15 minutes. Whenever you look for a knockout it doesnít really come."
Who are you picking out of Ken Shamrock and Rich Franklin?
"You can never really bet on a mixed martial arts fight. Itís just that there are so many different aspects of the game, but I would say Rich Franklin. Heís got the youth on his side, and heís an incredible fighter. Heís really hungry right now. Ken Shamrock is definitely older. Heís got a lot of experience, but Iím going to go with the younger guy on this one."
Would you like to have a shot at the winner?
"Oh, of course. I just want to keep fighting. I never really considered myself a fighter until I lost. I didnít think of doing this as a career. I had some goals: I wanted to compete in the UFC and I wanted to be a world champion. But now that Iíve lost, all I keep thinking about is fighting, and being put in that situation again, so I can fight."
David, is there anything youíd like to add?
"Just to thank my team Nor Cal Fighting Alliance, Dr Gary Furness, my family, friends and fans, for supporting me. Iíd also like to thank my sponsors: Dogs of War, KTFO, Full Contact Fighter, Fairtex, Sinister Clothing, California Capital Mortgages, and No Gi Industries." Dogs of War, Full Contact Fighter,
If you are interested in training with David Terrell or would like to sponsor this great fighter, visit www.ncfa.tv.
For more UFC news: www.ufc.tv.
Ready to Shake the Foundations
© Marc Wickert
All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges
News of David Terrellís return to the Octagon at UFC 54 could not come fast enough for fight fans who are still thunderstruck from Davidís first two appearances at the worldís premier MMA event.
Terrell made his Octagon debut in dynamic fashion when he KOíd Matt Lindland at UFC 49: Unfinished Business, and mounted an astounding challenge for the middleweight belt against Evan Tanner at UFC 51: Super Saturday.
After the Tanner fight, a unique opportunity arose for David to train at the Brazilian Top Team academy with Murilo Bustamate, Murio Sperry and W. Silva. Originally Terrell was keen to sharpen his MMA skills there.
"I actually went to Brazil. I had planned on training, but it was really hard because I had trained with Cesar (Gracie) for so long, and the Brazilians wanted me to sign a contractÖplus I started to realise it was so far away. I would have had to shut my school down and live in Brazil for six to eight weeks before each fight. It was pretty unrealistic, " says Terrell.
"If it had been okay for me to train there without having to sign the contract, I think I would have stayed. It would have been beneficial, but I feel as though Iíve already sacrificed a lot in my career, and it would be hard doing that all over again at 27 years Ė giving up my business and stuff."
David had previously experienced contractual problems prior to the Tanner fight, which UFC assisted him in, so it was not surprising he was reluctant to be tied up by more legal commitments. For his up-coming match against Trevor Prangley at UFC 54, Terrellís attention will be focused entirely on that fight.
"Iím already training really hard twice a day, and Iím on a very strict diet. Iíve always been on a decent diet, but now itís just really, really strict, because I want to walk in there maybe five pounds from my fighting weight. I want to be walking around close to fight time at 195, and then maybe in a week, get down to 190 and then lose five pounds of water weight.
"When I fought for the title, I had to lose 18 pounds of water. It definitely affected my performance. I felt like I had no strength, like I was swimming upstream with a lead weight on. So I donít think there are going to be any problems with my losing weight this time."
Davidís preparation for the upcoming fight incorporates five grappling and five stand-up sessions per week, plus lifting weights and running. He says he actually enjoys the intense training, and admits the hard part for him is adhering to such a strict diet. Terrell says if he ate ordinary meals, heíd weigh in at 220 pounds. But it will be a while before heíd consider competing in the light-heavyweight division.
"I think in the future thereís a good possibility, but I believe a person should fight at the weight class where they have no body fat. I donít see the point in holding onto body fat. I know this time when I get down to the event Iím going to be shredded to the bone. For my first UFC fight I felt pretty lean. In the second fight I was too fat."
David, what do you expect from Trevor Prangley?
"I think he is going to be very tough. I know heís won fights through knockouts, submissions, and some by decisions. On his resume, some of the guys heís beaten are very good, and he has a wrestling background. But like all MMA fighters these days they know everything. I really canít say what heís going to do. I think heís pretty universal, and I do know heís a very tough fighter and heís beaten some good names, soÖ
"Iím just going to go in like every other fight. But every competitor I fight is very tough, you know. After three years I came back and fought (and KOíd at Pancrase-Hybrid 11) Yuki Sasaki. Sasaki was a prize veteran.
"Matt Lindland was tough, and so was Evan Tanner. Every guy I fight is very tough. But thatís the way I want it. I want to fight someone whoís very good. Thatís why I never say no to any fights: I want to beat somebody whoís good. I want them to push me."
Having said the Prangleyís background is in wrestling, do you expect this fight to be on the ground?
"I just donít know. I donít know what this guy is thinking, but I believe the majority of his fights have been on the ground. Who knows? He may want to try something new, but Iíd say thereís more than an eighty-percent chance heís going to want to go to the ground. Either way, I feel I really have something to prove and I have to win this fight."
How are you going to win the fight?
"Iím going to come into it in the best shape of my life, and Iím going to fight from every aspect. In this fight, Iím going to be real smart and relaxed, and I just want to fight from every angle."
David, is there anything youíd like to add?
"Despite the outcome of my last fight, I had a lot of support from my sponsors and my team at North Cal Fighting Alliance (NCFA). If you watch the tape, they were all around me. They never left my side, and there was just so much support from them. More than anything, I wanted to choke Evan out just for my team. Theyíre my best friends. They flew down there with me, and they trained and cut weight with me.
"And in this area I live in Ė Santa Rosa, Northern California Ė the fans are definitely incredible. It seems like Iíve got a lot of support here. Some guy last night came up to me and he said, ĎHey, I just appreciate what you do and weíre fully behind you, and weíre coming to Vegas to watch you.í Itís just nice, you know.
"Dr Gary Furness is also a great help and friend. He helps me out a lot. I also have two kickboxing coaches: Billy Olson and a guy called Dimitri. Dimitri is an incredible fighter from Siberia, whoís had about 70 fights. Billy Olson is a kickboxer with a lot of experience. Heís been on the team for quite a while and heís a huge fan of the UFC. He joined my team at NCFA and he brought all his fighters over with him, so weíre one big team now. All our fighters work out with his kickboxers, which is good.
"KTFO, Consolidated Capital Mortgage, and Fairtex are all incredible sponsors."
For more on David Terrell: www.ncfa.tv
For more on UFC 54: www.ufc.tv
Making Waves From Northern California
Terrell is at his house in Santa Rosa, California, using his years of
martial arts training to practice self-restraint, and not let the
warrior within attack the iron beast: ďIím just getting some stuff
together as my carís transmission went out. Iíve been calling around
to different places trying to get it fixed,Ē says Terrell.
some of Davidís students at the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance (NCFA) have
been doing very well in various MMA events. So Iíve asked him to stop
doing a John Cleese on his car and tell us a bit about his rapidly
David, can you give us some background on David Mitchell, Kyle Pimentel, Nate Loughran and Tyson Griffin please?
David Mitchell (185lbs): ďHe came to me about a year and a half ago, and he just had a lot of drive to him. He wasnít very good when he came in, but he didnít miss a class; he just trained really hard. He wanted to fight. Six months later, I still didnít think he was ready. Then, finally a year later, it felt like he was ready and I put him in his first fight. Basically, David got good just from a lot of hard work. Heís won both of his fights, and he just loves it. He wants to fight as much as he can.Ē
Kyle Pimentel (170lbs): ďKyle hasnít trained in jiu jitsu for a while Ė he had a few setbacks as a result of injuries. Kyle started training with me a while ago; then he took a year off because his shoulder got real messed up. Afterwards, he came back and moved up to Santa Rosa, training at kind of an affiliate school that we were training at. He moves quickly Ė heís just a really explosive guy. He and Mitchell just love to fight, and they want me to put them in as many fights as I can. In Kyleís first fight, he knocked the guy out in like four seconds.Ē
Nate Loughran (185lbs): ďNate Ė heís always been just a stud. Heís trained with me, off and on, for a long time, but the last couple of years heís just dedicated himself. He was good when he came in because he had a judo background: Heís been doing judo since he was a little kid, and was runner-up in the JC California State Championship. He started out in judo, went to wrestling, and now heís doing jiu jitsu. The way he trains, you wouldnít think he ever wrestled because he has such a good guard itís amazing.Ē
Tyson Griffin(155lbs): ďHe trains like a maniac, training pretty much every day for the last three or four years without taking a day off. He did incredibly at the last UFC, but I knew he would because he trains hard and I have a lot of confidence in him. Iím not sure when his next appearance in the UFC is scheduled for, but heís going to be there for a long time.
ďAll four guys train stand-up as much as they do grappling, and they all have really good futures ahead of them.Ē
has Dr. Gary Furness been involved?
ďYeah, heís helping out with the medicals and promoting the guys. He does everything he can to help, and he definitely plays a big part, as do many other people who help the gym out, without people knowing about it. But Gary helps out a lot.Ē
find a doctor who gives me some attitude, then Iíll set it up.Ē
when is your next fight?
donít know for sure, but Iím trying to get on the UFC New Yearís
show. Thereís nothing concrete, and I donít have an opponent yet,
but Iím pretty positive.Ē
you been training exclusively at your own gym?
ďYeah, Iíve been training pretty hard here with my guys - just because they have a lot of fights coming up. I have AJ Fonseca fighting on the Halloween weekend (King of the Cage), and three more of my students are fighting the weekend after that, at the first cage-fighting event in Santa Rosa, called Throw Down at the Pavilion.Ē
you still do any training with Cesar Gracie?
still beat up with those guys Ė they have a lot of good fighters, and
Cesar brought them down, maybe a month ago, to my school to train.
Iíll definitely be training with them.Ē
you contracted for more fights with UFC?
yeah, about three more.Ē
Can people off the street come to your Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance and train there without necessarily having to compete?
sure. We make everyone feel welcome. They can get in touch through our
is there anything youíd like to add?
really proud of my team right now Ė that these guys are emerging and
fighting regularly. And I just want everyone to keep an eye on them in
the future. I have a lot of good guys coming up.Ē
Capital Mortgage, Fairtex, Dogs of War, and Konjo.Ē
more on David Terrell and his Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance: