Sean Strickland: Your training camp doesn't mean a damn thing

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 15: Sean Strickland enters the Octagon before facing Igor Araujo of Brazil in their welterweight bout during the UFC event at the Valley View Casino Center on July 15, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 15: Sean Strickland enters the Octagon before facing Igor Araujo of Brazil in their welterweight bout during the UFC event at the Valley View Casino Center on July 15, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

As Sean Strickland prepares for his upcoming fight on Sunday night against Alex Garcia in Pittsburgh, he knows he's facing a welterweight from a highly touted camp in Montreal but he's never been all that impressed by anybody just because they train with a good team.

Strickland has spent his entire career getting the best of all worlds by traveling around to several different gyms in California and it's served him well as he racked up a 16-1 record over the last seven years.

While his preparation has always included cross training wherever he has to go to get what he needs, Strickland gets a little fed up hearing about how some fighter is good just because he trains with a certain camp or a certain head coach.

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"I get this all the time about camps and I've trained with the best camps. I've been to Jackson's, I've been all over and the one thing I've learned is your camp doesn't mean a damn thing," Strickland told FOX Sports. "You take (Jon) Jones -- Jones will be Jones no matter where Jones is in the world. Jones could be training at Team Quest, at any gym in the world and he's still going to be Jones. So I think as long as you have a couple core training partners who you can work with and get work done, really gym is just a name.

"Just like (Georges) St-Pierre. No matter where St-Pierre goes, he was going to be St-Pierre regardless of Tri-Star."

As it turns out, Garcia is one of those fighters who actually trains alongside St-Pierre at Tri-Star in Montreal and while Strickland knows he's a tough opponent, he's not buying that he's somehow better just because he trains at a widely talked about gym.

Strickland has the utmost respect for Tri-Star and the coaches who train there, but he has first hand experience watching a former teammate bolt for the gym in Montreal while looking for the miracle cure to a bad outing in his previous fight.

"Like Tarec (Saffiedine), he used to train at Team Quest and he did his camp at Tri-Star for when he fought Jake Ellenberger," Strickland explained. "It cracked me up. Right before he left, I showed up at Quest and you're a good 170-pounder, I'm a good 170-pounder, we've got Dan (Henderson), we've got a good group of core guys and then he left trying to look for the grass greener on the other side. That's not it. It's all in your mind.

"If you feel like you need to leave to go somewhere to get better, that's not it. You need to train harder in the gym, you need to work harder."

Strickland looks at fighters changing camps or seeking out a certain trainer as a scapegoat to their own shortcomings.

If a fight doesn't go the right way, it's not because you didn't have the right team around you -- according to Strickland the only person to blame is staring back at you in the mirror.

"I've seen it happen with a ton of guys," Strickland explained. "The way training goes and every fighter who is honest with themselves knows this, but there are some months you feel like you're the best fighter in the world. You'll go for a month or two where you plateau and you don't get better and you'll get in your head 'why am I not getting better?'. Maybe my wrestling partners aren't good? Maybe I need more guys pushing me? But it's just like anything you do, you'll climb, you'll hit that plateau and too many guys get in their heads and they start blaming other people.

"If you lose, there's only one person you can blame and that's yourself."

Strickland isn't pointing the finger at anybody in particular and he's happy to admit that he's fallen victim to the phobia as well in the past.

While he was still riding an undefeated record through 15 fights, Strickland became obsessed with maintaining that flawless resume and he started worrying more about what he could do to avoid losing more than he was focused on going out to win.

"When I fought (Santiago) Ponzinnibbio, I got in my own head," Strickland said. "I was like 'this is serious' and I went up to train with (Josh) Koscheck and he runs one of the best camps I've ever been to. But then I remember walking out to the fight and thinking 'I do not want to be here right now'. This sucks. All the pressure being undefeated, it's just not fun for me. I'm so afraid of losing, I don't want to f--king be here.

"I remember after I fought and I lost, I walked in the back and I told my coach I'm relieved. I'm happy I got that out of the way. I loved fighting but it was not fun. I'm happy that now I can go in there and perform a little bit better. I got into fighting because I loved to fight."

Heading into this fight, Strickland stopped thinking about things too much and just put in the work to get ready to face Garcia on Sunday night. He believes if more fighters would follow suit and stop worrying about every single detail, the results would probably turn around for them as well.

"That's always been my opinion because I've trained with some of the best guys," Strickland said. "My opinion is it's not the gym that made them. They had the training and maybe they plugged them in the right direction, but the really good guys, they're good because that's who they are as a person. It's not any miracle coaching epic."

Strickland faces Garcia in the featured prelim bout for this weekend's UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Cowboy card airing live on FS1 starting at 7pm ET on Sunday night.