Josh Palmer (2-0 MMA) (70+ fights Muay Thai) Started training in MMA just over two years ago and fights out of the Urban Kings gym in Kings Cross, London. He is set to face Joao Luiz Nogueira (18-6 MMA), who fights out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and represents the famous Team Nogueira, headed by the former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion and UFC interim heavyweight champion Rodrigo Nogueira.
Nogueira – riding a three-fight win streak which includes victory over the DREAM and UFC veteran Willamy Freire – has a lot more MMA experience than Palmer but that doesn’t worry the home fighter. He thinks that if anyone is going to have to deal with the unexpected come fight night it will be his opponent and not him.
LIFE AND ROOTS
“I grew up in Cork, Ireland but my dad is Canadian so I lived in Canada for a while as well.”
“I know [head coach] Gyp Tessier from Thailand, I lived there for about four years altogether, I was fighting over there, and met him there when he was training and we became friends. He is based in London and my girlfriend is originally from London so when we visited there Gyp was running Urban Kings gym. He offered me a job as a trainer and that was two years ago.”
“One of the oldest gyms in Ireland is Cork Thai Boxing. I trained there with Anthony Corkery. My twin brother had been training for quite a bit before me. He fought in Thailand and I saw the video when he got back and I was like ‘Man, I want to try that’. So I had been training a bit already – boxing, kickboxing – but nothing serious. I said ‘F–k it’, gave up my job, sold all my stuff and moved out there for six months. I loved it. I had seven fights while I was there. So then I went away for a while to make some money so I could move back to Thailand for longer. I meant to stay for a year but I ended up staying up for over three years. So the best part of four years I spent living in Thailand. At the end of 2011 I left Thailand and went to work in Nova Scotia in Canada. Then two years ago we made the move back to London.”
“When I left Thailand, I did still want to keep fighting. I didn’t know if there was much Muay Thai in Canada but I was teaching in this gym which had some UFC fighters and stuff. I had met some of them in Thailand before when they had been over for the IFMA championships in Thailand. I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA with those guys but it took me a long time to find someone to fight me. When you’ve got sixty or seventy fights in Muay Thai, it can be hard to find someone who wants to fight you as an 0-0 MMA guy, you know?”
“In Muay Thai you do stand a little tall compared to how you stand in MMA, that’s something I have been working on. I do tend to fall back into that Thai stance during exchanges but I don’t mind, I like learning new stuff and working on things so it’s just one more thing.”
FINDING FIGHTS IN MMA
“The problem is people are afraid of dealing with me because I only have two fights, soon to be three fights, but I have the seventy Thai fights under my belt. That is intimidating for anyone who is like 2-0 in MMA because of the experience disparity but it’s also intimidating for guys who are 10-0 because if they lost to a guy with only two MMA fights, that would look bad for them. So what I have found is I will be put in for fights and it’s all good but then the other side will go and look me up on the internet and they find out I have all these Thai fights behind me. So then a few days later the match gets cancelled and I’m back to square one. So that’s why I’ve found myself having one fight a year so far.”
“I was always a guy who would apply the pressure and then when I saw the guy start to get tired I would turn the screw and squeeze more and more. But now I try to be a little more smart and kind of play the angles, make guys walk onto a knee or elbow. So that’s worked quite well for me and now I’ve gotten better at the grappling I am starting to look for submissions as well. And definitely the relaxation is a big thing for me, the amount of fights I’ve had, I just feel comfortable in there. You’re always nervous before a fight, you want to win, but once the bell goes it’s just autopilot. A lot of people have commented on how relaxed I seem when I fight. Maybe too relaxed, ha!”
“I’m going to try and take him out in the first round, definitely. Either that or beat him up through the first round so that he ready [to be taken out] in the second. He’s got more experience than me [inMMA] but that doesn’t bother me. I’ve had a lot of fights, this is just one more.”
“I’ve trained with some high-level MMA guys like Mark Holst and I’ve fought some really high-level Muay Thai fighters like Andrei Kulebin.”