Last week Fightline.com spoke exclusively with Duff Holmes (trainer to Matt Hamill) in the wake of his fighters disappointing loss to former UFC champion Rich Franklin.
Holmes praised his fighters abilities while expressing disappointment in his performance and effort. Some, in media circles, were critical of Holmes for voicing his concerns in a public forum while others felt that he spoke the truth and may well have lit a fire under his fighters backside. Time will tell which mode of thought is correct, but you can count Hamill himself among those in support of Holmes’ and what he said.
“I don’t follow what people say in the media,” said Hamill. “All I can say is I didn’t follow the game plan that we put together. Duff wants me to perform at the level he knows I’m capable of. I’m glad I have a trainer that won’t accept that performance and I respect him for speaking the truth. Duff didn’t do anything wrong.”
As for the fight itself, Hamill, who is an excellent wrestler with relentless ground and pound, choose to stand with the superior striker, Rich Franklin, to the dismay of his camp and many of his fans. He’s still unsure of why he didn’t shoot on Franklin and take the fight to the ground.
“I don’t know why I didn’t take him down more, said Hamill. “That’s the one thing I have been thinking about over and over. I should have taken him down more like in the first round. That was the game plan. My weapon is ground and pound.”
While taking nothing away from Rich Franklin, Holmes has stated that he felt that Hamill could have given a better showing against the newly minted UFC light heavyweight, had Hamill been able to look past their friendship.
Franklin is, in many ways, responsible for getting Hamill’s foot in the door with the UFC. The two trained together years ago to work on Franklin’s takedown defense and have maintained a close relationship through Hamill’s budding MMA career.
“I guess people are right to say that I was too nice and I let our friendship take my killer instinct away,” said Hamill. “But I can’t take anything away from Rich. Rich is a great guy and a great fighter.
Their relationship is such that even after scoring a decisive victory via controversial referee stoppage in the third round, Franklin took the time to help his former protege with words of encouragement.
“After the fight he told me, ‘Nice southpaw!’, said Hamill. “He said I gave him more damage than he gave me.”
As for the stoppage, Hamill said he felt it was premature but he would never talk back to a referee.
Instead Hamill is focused on getting back into the win column and learning what he can from his first real UFC defeat.
“I definitely need to get back in the win column, said Hamill. “I need to learn to get everything out of my head before I fight again. I have a long way to go before a title shot. I didn’t do well against Rich and it was embarrassing. I have learned my lesson and I will do well in my next fight.”