MMA is a
Full Contact Chess
At 185 pounds, Trevor Prangley has had an incredible record.
With 22 years of wrestling and years of Jiu-Jitsu, Muy Thai and Boxing rounding out his game, he has become a force to be reckoned with.
A collegiate wrestler, Prangley started Jiu-Jitsu to stay in shape in the off-season and found Mixed Martial Arts as an emerging new sport that challenged both his physical and mental capabilities.
Coming off a great fight in late 2007, in which he came up short, Prangley looks forward to 2008 with a renewed enthusiasm. A levelheaded fighter that views the sport as a full contact chess match, he prides himself as being a responsible emissary spreading the MMA art.
BJJ: Tell us about your ground game. What styles does it consist of? And how does it contribute to your success in the ring?w layer…
T: Basically, the ground game I use is wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu. I come from a wrestling background. I like the top game because the guy on top is usually the guy who is winning. I am also very comfortable on the bottom, but on top, there are a lot more options for me; striking, passing the guard, submissions… it’s a better place for me to be.
If I’m fighting a really good Jiu-Jitsu guy, I’m happy to sit in the guard and wait for the transition. That’s when you can catch somebody, in the scramble or passing the guard. Nobody gets caught in the guard or in the half-guard today; getting an armbar or submission, it’s working between those positions.
People today know so much that no one will sit there with their arm out so you can arm bar them. [Laughs]
BJJ: How long have you been training your ground game? What styles specifically? Rank?
T: I’ve wrestled all my life, but I’ve really never done submission grappling. When I was younger I did about 3 years of Judo, but it doesn’t have much in a ground game. When I was in my last year of college, I started training Jiu-Jitsu to keep in shape on the off-season. I enjoyed it. My first year and half was with the Gi; then I shed the GI and started doing a faster-paced grappling game.
I’ve got boxing with the hands, Muy Thai for my knees, legs and elbows, and I try to take the best of everything I can to make it work. I do a lot of standup now; I use my Jiu-Jitsu and grapping to stay up on the feet. Most of my grappling is for defense.
BJJ: We’re seeing many BJJ Black Belts and practitioners cross over and get in the ring. In the past, we saw them fare very well. What’s your opinion today of how they are succeeding or not with just their BJJ background?
T: The only ones that are having success today, utilizing only BJJ, are really the top guys – the standouts. The guys who are able to transition really well are going to do well. To come into this sport with only one style – wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, etc. is a big mistake. Everybody knows so much, I mean defending against a Jiu-Jitsu guy in the guard is really just dropping your arms/elbows in and stabilizing and he won’t get you for the most part. It’s really the top guys that can make something of it.
BJJ: Where do you train?
T: I have my own gym up in Idaho. For all my main fights, I go to the American Kickboxing Academy under Dave Camerillo. Dave has become a good all-around coach. He does a lot of sparring himself, so he really knows what he is talking about. He’s not strictly a Jiu-Jitsu or Kickboxing coach; he is really well-rounded. I’ve got a great team down there. We have “Crazy” Bob Cook and Javier Mendez, who train the standup. We’re really lucky to have such a good team.
BJJ: How do you condition?
T: Mainly for me, I’ve learned that I need 3 – 4 really hard conditioning days a week, with the rest being moderate. If I go 100% for 7 days, I will burn out too fast. On my conditioning days, I’ll come in mid-day and I’ll spar 3 – 5 5-minute rounds, then we’ll grapple for five 5-minute rounds, and finally we’ll do technique work depending on how everyone is feeling. Then at night, 3- 4 rounds of grappling and a 35 – 40 minute cardio workout.
On my easier days, I’ll get up and take an easy run for 4 miles, then come in the gym and do some technique sparring and grappling, technique or situation drills, and I’m done for the day at noon.
I think rest is very important. I’m 35 years old, and I could go every day when I was younger, but the older you get, the
more rest you need. Now, if I go every day at 100%, I get injuries and find I don’t have enough time to rest between training.
I guess the theory is you either have 10 workouts at 75% or you can have 6 – 7 at 100% with 3 at 75%, [depending on] what’s better [for you].
Training really depends on body type. I have a lot of muscle, so it takes me a little longer to heal; that’s what I’ve found over time and training. Your brain tells you [that you] have to push hard and that you are not in shape, when [in fact] you are in shape, and it takes discipline to stop and realize you may be burnt out and take a day off.
I think it’s better to be under-prepared [physically] but mentally ready and not burnt out. You can always fight through the pain of poor cardio or whatever. But when you are mentally burnt out, you feel like you don’t want this right now and your drive is lost.
BJJ: Do you follow a special diet? What is it? Any Supplements?
T: I keep a clean diet: a lot of brown rice, good carbs, good proteins. As far as supplements, not really – I’ll have a glycogen replacement/protein shake and I take a multi-vitamin and some flax seed oil.
BJJ: Name one fighter you truly respect and why?
T: I respect everybody who gets in the ring, regardless of their record. Everybody gets the same respect. I don’t look up to any man; everybody has their downfalls, and everyone is as human as the next. I try not to put any man on a pedestal; I did that in my younger years, and you always end up being disappointed. The only person I look up to is Jesus Christ, being a Christian; that’s my hero right there.
BJJ: You are one of the faces, Ambassadors of MMA. What does that feel like? What responsibility do you think that bestows on you as a person and competitor?
T: I feel like I have a responsibility to the sport and the fans to act in a manner that is decent and respectful to everybody. Sometimes you just don’t want to talk to people or sign an autograph, but I believe you have to get over that. That’s the way you’ll further the sport so that people know we’re really not a bunch of thugs. And if you know MMA guys, you’ll see they are some pretty cool guys. We’re intelligent and we need to portray that image.
BJJ: What advice do you have for people just getting into the sport, waking up sore everyday…?
T: Think long and hard about [your] commitment to the sport. [Ask yourself if] it is something you really want to do. If you are not 100% committed to it, there’s no more unpleasant place to be than in the middle of the ring.
Make a decision, when you’ve made it. Don’t ask yourself that question again. You will be sore every day, aches pains, etc. If it’s too much for you, then you should consider not doing it.
Nobody walks in off the couch, trains for a year, and wins in the UFC or wherever. Fighters have a lot, years and years of training, I have 22 years of wrestling. People come to the sport now with a lot of background. Everybody has put in a lot of time, paid their dues.
BJJ: What is next for you this year?
T: I have a fight in April, and after that, I want to fight 3 – 4 times this year. Last year, I fought too much and I did not listen to my body. I got burnt out, so I’ve taken 5 months off and I feel good right now.
I fought almost every two months last year, and it was too much for [me]. It makes you really think, do you want to do it? It makes it unpleasant. You really don’t want to walk into a cage when that question is on your mind.
BJJ: Other MMA fighters get into other areas of entertainment, movies, TV, etc. Is that on the horizon for you?
T: I would hope so, but it’s not something I have set my sights on. I’ve always made a living, and when MMA is over for me, I’ll make a living again. I’m very satisfied with my life, content with what I achieved. I’m not ready to quit yet; I enjoy it too much.
BJJ: If you could fight anyone, now, past, future – who would it be?
T: I would like to fight anybody on the top 10 list. All the MMA websites have a top 10 list, I’m not there and I know I deserve to be there. I don’t have personal issues with anybody, but I’d like to get out there and fight the top guys. I mean, who wants to be known as the guy who fought a bunch of nobodies and won?
I just want to thank the fans for everything. Please watch the fights and thanks again.
*All Photos Courtesy Bodog Fight.