Road to the Pro’s: Helen Harper #3 – Back to paradise

Finally back to the Phuket Top Team family I know and love, and it’s so good to be back!

I have been back just 3 days and I’ve already managed to get stuck in to a training schedule that includes a heap of wrestling and grappling, and not forgetting Muay Thai and western boxing as well. The schedule I have set myself means that I have to wait until Monday to put my Gi on and test my new found skills in Jiu Jitsu, but I can guarantee it will be worth the wait.

This morning (or last night in the US) it was one of my Top Team brothers, Anthony Leone’s chance to shine in the Bellator Bantamweight world title fight.

A big group of us piled in to (the best) local health food restaurant – “Calorie” (which also happens to show MMA all day every day on their TV) to support him.

You could hear a pin drop as round 1 started and we were all glued to the screen, and I don’t believe I am being biased by saying Anthony had round 1 all over. Round 2 came and it was pretty even, definitely could have gone either way until the unthinkable happened: Anthony went for a take-down but slightly over committed and somehow Eduardo Dantas took Anthony’s back impressively – and before we knew it the choke was on and he was forced to tap.

I am absolutely gutted for Anthony but I know he will come back stronger than ever and we are all super proud of him.

My best friend, Ben Nguyen, also had a title fight this weekend for the Nitro Bantamweight belt. Nitro is one of the bigger promotions in Australia so it was a huge deal for Ben who’s record now stands at 11-6-0. Just 25 seconds after they tapped hands, it was all over for his opponent, Julian ‘Jackal’ Rabaud, as Ben’s brutal punches gave him yet another KO win.

So all this title fight talk got me thinking how it would feel to fight for a title. I mean, hopefully it will happen to me too one day, but for now, it’s just a dream that I am chasing… and chasing… and chasing…

I know how much pressure I put on myself for a normal fight, so I can only imagine this doubled for a title match.

And it’s not only personal pressure that one will succumb to – it’s your gym, your sponsors, your friends and family. Mostly, they don’t even mean to put the pressure on you. They just want you to do well. But every fighter feels the pressure for every fight, especially title fights.

The pressure can be a good thing though. It can spur you on to achieve greatness beyond your own self belief. If a gym believes in you enough to have you on their fight team, then you must be good enough to win any fight they put you up for.

*Helen Harper is a Mixed Martial Artist from Farnham, England. Her column on Fight Sport Asia, called ‘Road to the Pro’s’, focuses on her life as a fledgling MMA fighter.


Follow Helen on Twitter (@hhhellraiser) and Facebook


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Categories: Featured, Helen Harper, Phuket Top Team, Road to the Pro's



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