Claude has been a friend of mine for many years now and Ive always considered him to be a excellent BJJ competitor and true student of the game.With the announcement of the IFL, the League recently introduced its Canadian team the Toronto Dragons. The Dragons, led by Carlos Newton, consists of a team of Canadas top MMA fighters such as Rob DiCenso, Joe Doerkson, Brent Beauperlant, Wojtek Kazowski and Claude Patrick.
Claude has been a friend of mine for many years now and Ive always considered him to be a excellent BJJ competitor and true student of the game. His announcement to join the Toronto Dragons recently was to no surprise for me as I know Claude has been gearing towards the right MMA offer for some time now. Although hes not too well known in the United States as most of his matches have been in Canada, his recent submission victory at the IFL in Moline Illinios raised some eyebrows and a lot are now awaiting the next fight with this young. I predict another submission, but with Claude, you never can tell!
BALEIA) First off Claude, tell the OTM readers a bit of your background?
-Well I live most of the time in Mississauga, Ontario just outside of Toronto. Having a pretty big family as a lot of Jamaican’s do I’ve always been into being able to defend myself. I think its called self preservation.
BALEIA) Are you a jiu-jitsu fighter or a mixed martial artist?
-I always love when people ask that. MMA is mixed martial arts so it is a combination of what ever you use to get the job done. When I do MMA I fight within the rules to the best of my abilities it is not a jiu-jitsu, wrestling or boxing match people often forget that. I have continued to train in a variety of styles for fight applications but also for my own personal interest. My first love is the actual style of jiu-jitsu not even the sportive aspect but the real deal in the dojo training to a tap style that we see epitomized by many of today’s jiu-jitsu guys sadly a lot of which don’t even compete.
BALEIA) What’s the training like with your current team the Toronto Dragons like?
-Well I have known and trained with all the members of the team before there was a Toronto Dragons team with the exception of Joe “el dirte” Doerkson so its no big change for me everyone is a professional and knows what they have to do to be successful although it is great to have the depth of knowledge available.. for example Brent Beauparlant is a masterful wrestler and I do mean masterful, the first time we trained at the Montréal wrestling club he threw me around like he was Steve Segal and I was only of the Rasta guys in that movie “Marked for death” . Guys like Rob Dicenso are so creative on the ground that you can always learn something new. In general it’s just a great additional resource to have going into a fight.
BALEIA) What’s it like being on an IFL team?
-It has been great. The organization has been great towards us and lived up to my expectations so far.
BALEIA) Do you feel you made the right choice to join with the IFL or do you feel it may close future doors for you down the road?
-Hmm I don’t really see how competing in the IFL will hurt my future progression the event is great and provides the athletes with pretty much everything I am looking for, plus if I understand things correctly the league doesn’t stop us from competing elsewhere when not busy in the IFL. The only down side is with the teams being coached and composed by many of the sports best athletes it cuts down training options a bit. Anyone who knows me can attest I’ve been a week away from going to Pat Militech’s and Renzo Gracies gym for the last 5 years just never seem to have actually gone around actually going. When not fighting someone next I am always open to training with anyone who is beneficial, hopefully others in the league share the same views as things develop.
BALEIA) How important do you feel it was for you to have a strong jiu-jitsu background than lets say a karate background or boxing background?
-I have practice and techniques used in a variety of styles including Boxing, Karate and Jiu-Jitsu. Timing is most important in the sense that you need to know when it is best to implement what technique. You could be a great BJJ or striking artist but if you always fight within the rules and strategies of that single style no matter what it is then in today’s world of MMA you’re at a big disadvantage.
BALEIA) In mixed martial arts, many people seem to think you need to be a master at everything such as boxing, kickboxing, wresting, and BJJ. Do you feel this is an accurate statement or do you feel that it is important to have a main go to style with basic knowledge in defence in regards to the other styles?
-Again it boils down to timing. There are usually opportunities to do everything in a fight if it’s a closely matched one the winner is the guy who does the most best. This is why guys like Shogun and Fedor are so dominant I don’t really see either guy being a super technical striking or submission stylist but they can do it all and in a fight they are never at a loss for techniques. But yes I certainly do think have a solid basis in something is always a big help.
BALEIA) What is your fight preparation like?
-I train each style separate daily to ensure I learn the details correctly and then I put it together two or three times a week in mma sparring. When I have a specific match coming up certain techniques/strategies are emphasized but in general I follow that basic routine as it helps reduce injuries and even more importantly I don’t get bored and burnt out
BALEIA) What can a fight fan expect to see in a Claude Patrick fight?
-What can you expect to see in any fight other than two guys going for the gold? In general I try to push the pace of my matches and take advantage of my opportunities as they appear in the fight. Win lose or draw it is a fight with me ive never been the guy to try to eek out a win.
BALEIA) What are your thoughts on the current state of Mixed Martial Arts in Canada, and in Ontario specifically?
-There is a lot of good and bad. In terms of the positives it is good to see some of the pioneers in the area get the recognition they deserve. I have been fortunate enough to witness and often be a part of every stage of the Canadian bjj and mma scenes development and to see many of my friends who I have trained with since the early days now operating schools and spreading the art is great. With the popularity of MMA on the rise any school with even the mention of it is seeing the benefits. The bad side is a lot of people who DID NOT ever put in the work to be skilled or support the sport when it was not so popular are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to make a quick buck. MMA is great since you can’t fake success or knowledge it’s a thing where as I like to say you have to “show and prove” but unfortunately in Ontario it is not legal so the fans and prospective students can be easily swayed by a smooth talking salesman and my go to the wrong sources.
If things go well changes we changes will be on the way and we will have legal MMA competitions here in the near future at which point people like Richard Nancoo, Sean Tompkins, Mark Bocek, Jeff Joslin, Sam zakula & Shao Franco who have been doing this thing we love so much for years before the opportunity to make decent money or exposure existed will see even more of the benefits they deserve.
BALEIA) If you weren’t fighting MMA, what would you be doing?
-I would be doing what I plan to do when I am finished competing which is eating steaks and counting money. No on a serious note I am looking for the right school/instructor to study the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu under from there I’d like to really earn my black belt and I will be happy to continue teaching what I know to people looking to learn
BALEIA) What fighter/coach has inspired you or helped in the most in your path to be a mma fighter?
-I have always been a fighter but to be honest I would have to say if one man did it certainly it would be the character Frank Dux that Jean Claude Van Damme played in Bloodsport. Aside from the irony of following the life path very similar to such a legendary film people like.
Steve Dasilva- taking me under his wing at a young age and teaching a me a lot about the art
Phillip Gelinas- a great role model for how to conduct yourself as a person, martial artist and businessman
Renzo Gracie/Murrilo Bustamante- two old school fighters who use bjj as their core and have not only adapted to perform well in today’s game but also produce world champions in both arts under them.
Marco Ruas- validating my ideas about striking at a time when people had pretty much written it off as inferior to grappling
Carlos Newton- showing me you can make it to the top without a powerhouse team to work with.
BALEIA) Who in your opinion is the best MMA fighter and why?
-Im not interested in who’s best because right now it isn’t me so I watch guys I can learn from a few of them I currently watch are.Matt Lind land, Fedor, BJ Penn, GSP, Jeremy Horn, Shinya Aoki, Mirko Cro Cop, Shaolin, Diego Sanchez, Ricardo Almeida (retired), Melvin Manhoof, Denis Kang, Randy Coture (retired)
BALEIA) To those who know you, you are sort of similar to your current coach Carlos Newton as being a Ronin or master less samurai. Do you feel learning new things from different people is a good thing or would you prefer to be on a set team?
-I haven’t had a chance to be a part of a set team as I never had the money to travel very far to train so we had to make it happen right here at home with the rest of the boys. By watching tapes reading books and learning how to fight effectively. Now with the IFL I will have a bit more disposable income so I can travel a bit and find the correct fit for me.
BALEIA) Has Carlos Newton’s’ Dragon ball jiu-jitsu style helped you at all with yours?
-I try my best to take whatever effective tactics or techniques I can from anyone regardless of skill level. Carlos being someone I have known and trained with on and off for years has certainly added to my skills. The most important thing he taught me since I have known him is “Sometimes Generic is better than name brand”
BALEIA) What was your opinion of the recent UFC main event with Franklin X Silva?
-Going into the fight I had Silva as the more skilled fighter with Franklin being the larger stronger guy. I picked Silva to win for two reasons. The first being the damage and time off rich took due to his fight with the crow, and secondly the despite what many people believe I think Silva would have the ground game to dominate if it went there in that fight. The knees from the plum that ended the fight were solid and got the job done. Rich is a solid fighter and will be back.
BALEIA) What official ranks in martial arts do you hold?
-Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and a yellow belt in Goju ryu karate.
BALEIA) Which MMA organizations have you fought in and which victory in both mma and grappling are you most proud of?
-So far I have had the honor of competing in a pretty wide spectrum of events including UCC, UGC, Apex fighting championships, King of the Cage Canada and now the International fight league. For grappling I would have to say my best moment Rick was beating you down at the 1998 grapplers challenge hahah the good old days (Its true I sucked!!!) . For mixed martial arts I would say my fight with my now good friend Marcus Celestin meant a lot to me since it was my 1st match back off a long layoff after winning the match there were some words exchanged due to what I now like to think was a miscommunication between me and his corner since they spoke little English, to make a long story short it ended up being me my corner men and my buddy X vs a very hostile crowd composed of various gang member’s looking to rush the ring. All in all it worked out ok but its just another example of drama coming my way out of the blue.
BALEIA) I’ve known you for a while and know you really analyze MMA fights well, so what’s your Thoughts on the following upcoming matches
-GSP X Hughes 2- George is a good friend of mine but that aside I think he is superior in all areas for this fight except maybe straight up ground work but it is MMA so George will be fine. After watching what he did to Trigg and Shark what can you really say?
-Sylvia X Monson- Silvia is very tall and good puncher plus I have heard tough to take down but word on the street is Silvia has negligible ground work so as lame as this sounds I say if it stay up I pick Silvia if it hits the mat Monson
-BJ X Hughes 3- BJ all the way in this one prior to the injury in the second fight he was doing his thing quite well. Hughes is a soldier but BJ is too diverse for him.
-Florian X Diaz-Wow I didn’t know this fight was being made but it will be a good one. I am a big Nick Diaz fan as he come to scrap every time but Florian has shown his grit too. I would say Diaz by decision.
Claude Patrick X Rory Markham-Rory who?? Ok seriously. I meet him at the last show and he is a respectful well spoken guy and obviously very talented in the ring. I like his killer instinct and look forward to facing him along with all the other welter-weight warriors in IFL this upcoming season.
BALEIA) When is your next fight and with who?
-Im not sure it all depends on the results of the Toronto Dragons vs Iowa Silverbacks semifinal
BALEIA) Lets play a little word association, I will name a fighter and you give me a word to describe that person
-GSP- Great fighter even better person
-Carlos Newton- Eclectic
-Matt Hughes- The Champ
-BJ Penn- Constant threat at 170
-Marc Laimon- Great Bjj instructor but somewhat delusional regarding his Streetfighter 2 abilities
-Mark Bocek- The most Underrated North American grappler a great instructor and my main high level training partner for several year. I don’t hype many people but MARK BOCEK is SOLID.
-Anderson Silva- Well balanced
-Baleia- hardcore Bjj Disciple
-Claude Patrick- student of the game on all levels
BALEIA) Anybody you would like to thank for your current success?
-So many people have helped me do whatever I have in the mixed martial arts I wont get into naming any specific people because I will no doubt leave many important ones out, I appreciate all the support I wont ever forget those who helped and continue to support me along the way.
On a sponsor level I have to shout out a few who kept me alive in tougher times
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