It’s summer in Colorado and the weather is hot. Jared Hamman, a California-raised UFC middleweight, walks around with his shirt off, donning the comfortable pair of flip-flops he wears most of the year. Much like his experience in the Southern California fight scene, the fighter calls Colorado a hotbed of MMA, with a plethora of young and quality talent. This is evident, he says, with all the small MMA promotions putting on local fights in the area.
With the region so full of capable training partners, Hamman’s own training hasn’t fallen off since becoming a resident of the Rocky Mountain area. “It’s been cool,” says Hamman. “There’s a ton of high-caliber training partners out here.”
In addition to the local talent in the area, Hamman has a stable of grizzly veterans helping him sharpen his skill set for his UFC 164 fight against Magnus Cedenblad. Nate Marquardt is part of the team Hamman trains with called Elevation MMA. The group, which was the brainchild of Marquardt, isn’t tied down to solely one gym. This helps prevent gym politics from getting in the way of training and preparation for fights, according to Hamman.
“It’s worked out well,” he says. “We wanted to create this team—that’s really a team, not just a gym. There’s a bunch of us that make up Elevation MMA. We don’t have one gym that we call our own.”
The group began to work together about four months ago, and a number of the training sessions have taken place at the MusclePharm facility in Denver. Fighters such as Matt Brown have stopped by to join the team in recent months, which proved to be beneficial as the welterweight won his sixth fight in a row at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston. From Marquardt to Brown to UFC Fight Night 27’s Brandon Thatch, the team comes together and pulls from a number of different places.
In terms of his own preparation, Hamman is gearing up to fight Cedenblad at UFC 164 in Milwaukee on Saturday night. Preparing to fight the Swedish mixed martial artist has been, in a sense, a chore for Hamman due to the relatively little amount of fight video out there on Cedenblad. What Hamman was able to find on his foe told him that he’ll fight a tall, lanky guy who likes to bring the fight.
“I just want to get in there and smash this dude,” he says.
After a year outside the cage due to a number of injuries, including an internal staph infection, bad hamstring, and elbow bursitis, UFC 164 is a chance for Hamman to get back to his winning ways. A loss would mean Hamman’s third in a row and likely his walking papers from the UFC. But a win over Cedenblad will be a step in the right direction for the fighter who has had to supplement his income in the past year by coaching and teaching young fighters.
“People are like, ‘Why are you still coaching when you have a fight coming up next week?'” Hamman says. “Because it fuels what I do and gives me motivation.”
Hamman and Cedenblad will kickoff the preliminary card action on Facebook at 6:30 p.m. ET.