By Joshua Carey (Featured Columnist) on November 15, 2011
Prior to UFC 132, Tito Ortiz made major changes to his training, and part of that positive change was the addition of strength and conditioning coach Michael Giovanni Rivera.
Rivera, who’s been an elite trainer in the Orange County, Calif., area for the past 10 years helped lead Ortiz to a dominant first-round submission victory over Ryan Bader at UFC 132.
Ortiz is in the midst of training camp for UFC 140, where he faces Antonio Rogerio Nogurira on Dec. 10.
Rivera is contributing a series of blogs in anticipation of Ortiz’ third fight alongside the trainer. Here is a look at some of his insights:
Rivera recaps what it has been like to work with Ortiz leading up to present day.
“It has been crazy to say the least! I was brought on 7 weeks prior to the Bader ﬁght, I had no idea what physical or mental condition Tito was in at that point. It was a very unique story how I started training Tito. I ﬁrst worked with his girl Jenna Jameson, he came into the gym to see what I was about…
“Ten minutes later we hit it off, (and he) asked me to train him once and go from there.
“So, I show up to Punishment Training Center in Huntington Beach (California) a couple days later. I was setting up my equipment, I noticed the cameras, but didn’t think anything about it. I just thought maybe they were observing or ﬁlming his workouts. That’s when Tito walked in and said that they were going to ﬁlm the countdown for UFC 132 Ortiz vs.Bader.
“At ﬁrst, I was like I never trained you before, I took it as a challenge (and) I knew that I could succeed. I told Tito ‘I assume your in shape and can handle this workout, you are an elite athlete.’ A hour into it he killed it and so did I. Tito was impressed by my skills, knowledge, and how I mentally reinforced him to be positive. The camera crew asked, what do you want to credit him as? Tito said he is my strength & conditioning coach, lets train 3-4 times a week. I was like wow, this is a crazy day!
“Ever since then it has been non-stop. Training for Bader, then immediately preparing for (Rashad) Evans in a very short amount of time. He was still in great shape for it, but it would have been a different story if we had 10 weeks to get ready for Evans.
“Many people don’t realize I have been always been well known for my training and packed with clients in LA (Los Angeles) & OC (Orange County) for the last 10 years. This opportunity gave me more elite status and exposure, so the public can see I am the real deal.
“I have been familiar with the MMA industry for awhile, but having the opportunity to work with Tito is incredible. He’s probably the most well known MM