What makes a great MMA coach? Dan Hardy weighs in

Dan Hardy doesn’t think there’s a specific coaching style for MMA that trumps all others.

The UFC commentator and former UFC title challenger thinks adaptability and the changing of a coaching style to suit different fighters’ needs is one of the best factors that sets apart the best coaches in the game from the average trainers. Hardy (25-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC) firmly believes minds that are able to adjust from fighter to fighter signal great coaching.

“What I’m realizing more than anything is that you have to be the right coach for that fighter,” Hardy said speaking to MMA Junkie Radio. “There are some coaches that are – I was joking about this earlier actually, some coaches – like, my analogy was Jackie Chan. We all love Jackie Chan, but no matter what movie Jackie Chan is in, you never know the name of his character because he’s always Jackie Chan. And some coaches are like that.

“They’ll sit in front of their fighter, and it doesn’t matter who their fighter is, they coach exactly the same way. They say the same things and have the same energy behind it. Then you get other coaches who are your Christian Bales, your Leonardo DiCaprios – the guys that can adapt, the guys that can change from one role to the next.

Hardy thinks a great example of adaptability in MMA is seen in Greg Jackson – long-time MMA coach, co-owner of world renown Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, N.M.

“Greg Jackson is a good one and this is something that’s really easy to miss. If you listen to Greg Jackson coaching in the corner, he’ll change the inflection of his voice and his accent to suit the home country of his fighter on the stool.

“If he’s speaking to a Portuguese fighter or Russian fighter, he’ll imitate their tone a little bit to kind of make them more comfortable, but to also allow them more information to get through when they’re in a state of chaos. And those are the little things I notice more than anything.”

Hardy might hold Jackson in high regard, he isn’t the only one that the former UFC title challenger is high on. “The Outlaw” thinks coaching in MMA is flourishing today and there are many other names responsible for that.

“There are so many good coaches out there, and some emerging,” Hardy explained. “I think we’re just beginning to see the full expression of what Colin Heron is capable of. Obviously, Darren Till is doing a great job, but we can’t forget the likes of Terry Etim he trained to UFC standard. And then the guys that we’re seeing come through now, Tom Aspinall and Mike Grundy.

“It’s always good to pick out one fighter that stands out and the coach by his side, but it’s the coach that has a lot of different fighter in their school that can adapt. I think that’s when we see real great coaches of our time and I think lots are still emerging.”

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