Much has been made of Xtreme Couture defect and former Randy Couture striking coach Shawn Tompkins’ move to the Tapout Training Center and position as head trainer to Randy Couture’s next opponent Mark Coleman. Sherdog.com spoke to Tompkins about his relationship with the two fighters and their upcoming fight.
Tompkins began training with Coleman in between his UFC 93 loss to Maurico “Shogun” Rua and his appearance at UFC 100 where he beat a much younger Stephan Bonnar, a win that broke a two fight losing streak for “The Hammer”. Tompkins spoke on why he thinks Coleman has had mixed success in his career and why he is still relevant. “I think a big part of this is he’s done this on his own his whole life. He wrestled with wrestling partners but did not train with actual coaches. Now, it’s more about using game plans and technique. He’s probably one of the best athletes I’ve ever trained.”
The former 0-4 MMA fighter Tompkins lauded his former trainee Randy Couture’s toughness but said, “Coleman’s the tougher of the two. He’s got the chin. Everyone knows what kind of fighter [Mauricio] ‘Shogun’ [Rua] is, and you saw what [Coleman] did with a week’s worth of training [at UFC 93]. He got the s–t kicked out of him, but he didn’t quit.”
Stating a desire to be a part of the first fight pitting two active UFC Hall of Fame fighters against each other, Tompkins is optimistic of his new student’s chances but knows that “The Natural” will offer no easy win. “Mark has to be prepared to take the fight to him,” said Tompkins. “He’s got to stay calm and not get frustrated. The most dangerous part of Randy Couture is not how he thinks in the gym; it’s how he thinks in the cage. He’s an active thinker.”
“UFC 109: Relentless” takes place this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.