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Gavin Sterritt.

Gavin Sterritt Talks Second Bellator Win, Rampage Jackson, Media Status

April-10-14
Harry Williams speaks to Bellator's Gaving Sterritt following his recent victory at Bellator 114.

Author: Harry Williams (@Harry_Williams)

Interview

March 28th saw Liverpool’s Gavin Sterritt (6-1) tussle with Mike Estus (6-2), a battle which saw Sterritt claim his sixth straight win, as well gain momentum in Bellator’s welterweight division with his second straight victory under the promotional banner.

Six months since gracing American soil, Gavin was looking to get 2014 off to a definitive start. He feels Bellator’s approach and service provided a calmer stage to perform on.

“I’ve fought all over the place in my time and Bellator is a really nice environment to be in,” Sterritt told. “Everyone is very professional. It’s a very positive place and that’s what you want going into a fight. It makes you feel happy to be a part of such a company when their attitude towards you is very nice.”

Confidence doesn’t seem to be a lasting factor with Gavin. Last September saw ‘War Horse’ make his presence known on the promotion’s stage – in a bloody battle three-round battle with Mike Estus.

“I don’t see how previous fights are meant to give you confidence,” addressed the former. “I mean, I’ve had enough fights now to know how good I am, but I do believe you’re only as good as your last fight. I think I could have done a lot better in my debut. I’d had a lot of time out of the game; over two years – but it was a bit of rust and I’m glad that’s gone now.

“I’m taking every fight as it comes. I don’t look back nor do I look forward. I focus on the now to make sure I fight as hard as I can on the night.”

The powerful striker thinks Bellator ‘jitters’ played a part in his debut. That nerves stopped him from gaining a finish. It was also his first time against a fighter with a strong wrestling pedigree. This wasn’t the case in the second fight, however, as he was out of there in under five minutes.

“Last weekend I felt so much better than in my debut,” beamed Gavin. “I was on point and did what I wanted to do in that fight instead of waiting for my opponent to make his moves. In the first fight I was a little nervous with the whole wrestling thing. America is a huge place for wrestling and it has always been our Achilles heel.

“I felt a bit tentative going forward on an elite wrestler in case of the takedown, but this time I didn’t care and tried to end him as quickly as possible. I remembered the saying that everybody’s plan goes out the window when they get hit in the face, so I used that approach which put me in my groove.”

The line you hear in MMA is “I’m going to knock this guy out.” It’s been heard all too often. There’s many chain reactions you can work on instead of aiming at the chin constantly. This is something Gavin looks deeper into, with ruthless attempts to brutalise other target areas. He told,

“Working the body is an under-utilised style in our sport. There’s so much attention on knocking people out that the body is neglected. The only people who know to work the body are the ones who had their bodies punished – and I can tell you that I have indeed. I’ve been stopped through the body shots. It’s only been one time but that was enough for me to learn.

“A part of it is due to my coaches. They say, 'if you take the fight out of the body there’s nobody in the fight.' You don’t recover quickly from body shots. You can recover from head shots but the body remains weak for the remainder of the fight.

“He wasn’t doing anything in the moments he had me on the ground, so when it was back on the feet I vowed to take the wind out of him and that shaped the beginning of the end for Andy.”

Before Bellator came knocking, the Liverpudlian hadn’t fought since his win over Avi Jack in 2011. The hiatus was due to the negative aspects of the sport getting to him. Talking instead of walking was a factor, as he wasn’t happy with the way the game was heading.

“I hadn’t fought in two years but I wasn’t taking an absence,” informed the welterweight. “I was always over in America training with Quinton and others anyway. The main reason, though, was that I had become disillusioned with the UK MMA scene. There’s some really top people in there and some bad people, and it tends to be that the good people are quite quiet, keeping themselves to themselves, whereas the dicks seems to be making the most noise.

“It’s one of those things, if you’ve got a wacky haircut or you were loud and obnoxious, it got you the fights. I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to be part of that?’ I’m not interested in that side of things.

“I’ve been around too long to be doing all that shit,” Gavin continued. “I’m interested in the fights and having them make me look good. I like to see Colin Fletcher as he’s a good fighter in his own right. I don’t think he needs to dress up as a clown. I don’t know if he likes to do it or not, but I don’t see it as necessary.”

The seven-fight veteran couldn’t be happier with his place in Bellator. With the promotion breaking through new ground and signing up many serious British fighters, the 170-pounder is very content and it's something that makes him feel more at ease.

“I think Bellator is the best place – full stop,” Gavin asserted. “I’ve had experience working with other promotions, but these guys are just ultra-professional. These guys stand by their word and mean it. That’s something I respect a lot.

“They’re signing a lot of UK guys, too, which is really good. The majority of us old Wolfslair guys have been signed. Aaron Wilkinson was meant to fight on the same show as me last weekend but he got injured.”

Coverage isn’t something Sterritt worries for. Sitting on the outside looking in is fine and dandy by the English competitor. He doesn’t go looking for the attention – if there’s something out there he feels is worth addressing, he’ll add in his two cents. Until that day, though, the quiet life is welcomed.

“I couldn’t care less how much coverage I receive,” the Wolfslair man began. “I think a lot of writers go after these names like Colin Fletcher and all these ‘controversial’ pieces to receive attention, whereas I will just say what is on my mind. I don’t care who hears and what people think of what I have to say.

“We’re back at this thing again. My job is to fight. That’s it. Somebody gives me a contract with a certain amount of money to fight on a certain day with a specific time, that’s fine by me. It’s the same no matter what your job is. You fulfil your role and that’s it. I’m old-fashioned. I’m not into being seen in magazines and columns. It’s not real. It’s bullshit.

“I’ve been around and sat there for the past five years and I’ve seen friends quit this game. We’ve had UFC level guys come into our gym. I’ve seen what life is like up there in the top league and it’s nothing to get excited about.

“The nice side to it that I like the most is where you make your mates and family proud. If you’re getting coverage off the ones who care then that’s all that matters to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice for people to write things about you, but there are always those who are going to think you’re shit. You’ve got to be prepared for both sides.

“I’m very quiet on Twitter nowadays. You should see some of the stuff I still get off people when I check my phone after one of my fights. It’s messed up!”

As well as Gavin asserting himself amongst the elite in Bellator’s welterweight division, one name that will always be synonymous with him is Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Being the top sparring partner for one of the biggest names in MMA makes for some solid training for the Liverpool battler, as Gavin feels iron sharpening iron puts the Bellator welterweights on alert.

“Regardless of fighting, we get on really well together. Our styles do complement each other well, too. We both have the same values. We don’t like taking a step back when sparring, we like to entertain and we hunt for the openings. We’re ‘back in the day’ mentality, but we don’t get carried away. We’re clever about it.

“Our styles do well against one another and we prepare each other well. One thing you should know is that if you come up against me, you’re in for a tough night at the office.”

No Bellator return is confirmed for Sterritt yet, but follow him on Twitter to keep up to date: @gavinsterritt.

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