With much talk of Paul's lack of training before the Struve fight, and lack of performance in the fight it was no surprise Paul left California's American Kickboxing Academy. But as his UFC on Versus bout with Cheick Kongo approaches, little word has escaped about where The Headhunter was getting ready. Buentello recently said there's a reason for that. "I kept the whole thing of me coming out to Denver and me training here in Denver (a secret), how I'm surrounding myself with these trainers," Buentello recently told mmajunkie radio.
For the first time in his career, Buentello is training with the well known crew of Grudge Training Center for the March 21 fight. Home to such UFC fighters as Shane Carwin, Nate Marquardt, Eliot Marshall and Brendan Schaub, Grudge Training Center also holds another bonus for Buentello: located across town from the host venue of UFC on Versus 1 in another section of suburban Denver, the facility shares the same mile-high altitude as the 1STBANK Center."It was just that the fight was here in Denver in the high altitude," Buentello said. "I think it's just a smart move to train where I'm going to be fighting at because high altitude is really hard to get adjusted to."
Buentello actually began his high-altitude training prior to the start of training camp."I went to a nutritionist retreat," Buentello said. "I was out in the Mojave Desert for 10 days, and all we did was train all day long. It was nothing strenuous like MMA training. It was just all conditioning. I have it on my website at PaulBuentello.com. I have it on one of my blogs. "Wake up in the morning, do some stretching, run four miles. At that retreat, it was 3,500 feet above sea level. It's about the halfway point from what Denver is at."Known more for his power than his conditioning, Buentello said the retreat helped him to discover a new way of training.
"I've always had a problem with numbers," Buentello said. "If you told me to do 50 or 100 or 300 squats, it kind of bogged me down and got me unmotivated, but I got the workout done. At this place it was really working on pushing the body to different limits because these workouts I was doing was two to three hours long, and it was two to three hours, exactly. It was just over and over repeated stuff, and I did that for 10 days. Then I had three days off, and then I came out to Denver."Once in Denver, Buentello added even more surprises to his revised regimen.
"Another secret is that I hired Mike van Arsdale, and I attached him to my hip," Buentello said. "Basically, he's with me 24-7, from the morning until the evening, waking me up and getting me to the gym, and he's totally in charge of all the conditioning and all the wrestling drills."You know Mike van Arsdale has a real extensive background in wrestling, and he's been around a long time, so he knows how to push the body to a different level."But while van Arsdale has been pushing Buentello physically, it's another new face that the Texan credits with sharpening his techniques and focusing his mind.
"I was fortunate enough to get hold of Trevor Wittman through Rashad Evans," Buentello said. "The thing about it that was so interesting was the first time I met Trevor, he told me to come to the gym at 3 o'clock. I came to the gym with all my gear, ready to go, and the first thing he wanted to do was sit down and have a meeting and talk about my strong points and my weak points. He was surprised that I was thinking of myself as having more weak points. Even in the striking game, I was explaining how I feel I'm weak in this area and weak in that area. He was quite surprised that I was being honest.
"So I asked him, 'What are we going to do today?' He said, 'Nothing. We're going to have this meeting, we're going to get to know each other, what we have to work on, and you come in tomorrow, and you're just going to spar two rounds.'"Buentello said through the unique approach of Wittman, the added motivation and drive from van Arsdale and the bonus of training at high altitude, he'll be in peak form for Kongo.
"I think its was a huge move for me; I think it was a perfect move for me to come to Denver," Buentello said. "The main factor is that it's a real organized gym. This is probably the most organized training camp I've ever had." Buentello insisted that his attacking demeanor in the cage won't be altered at all by his new surroundings, but he hinted that he might have added takedowns into his growing arsenal."You never know; you might see it this time," Buentello said. "Cheick Kongo might come out, and he might be lightning-fast on his hands and feet, and I might have to push him in the cage and do a suplex or something. "Mike van Arsdale told me a saying: 'There ain't a horse that can't be rode, and there ain't a man that can't be throwed.'"
For all you maniacs in the MacArthur pool or making other wagers elsewhere I would take note. Paul has always been a good fighter but he has looked out of shape and one dimensional in his last fights, with saying that I don't think one camp will change his game dramatically but it may put him over Kongo? I think this will be a great fight personally, and it may even be the most competitive fight of the night, and after learning this I'm a little worried with my Kongo pick in Macs pool.