When Anthony Johnson first arrived at the Blackzilians fight team as a welterweight, he was already one of the UFC’s heaviest hitters, with several highlight-reel knockouts to his name.
But once the team’s strength and conditioning coach, Jake Bonacci, started working with ‘Rumble’, his ability to concuss his opponents jumped up a level – even though he’s now fighting the big boys at 205lb.
TRAIN: What’s it like to work with Anthony?
Jake Bonacci: I’ve worked with hundreds of fighters and athletes during my career but, as far as fighters go, he’s the best I’ve ever worked with. If he’d chosen to play in the NFL, he could’ve. That’s how good he is. He’s an absolute freak. He had pure, natural, raw athleticism and now he’s getting even better. It blows me away. Whether he’s weighing 230lb or 215lb, he’s an absolute freak athlete. He’s also the type of guy who you show something to one time and he gets it. His attitude is awesome and he’s got a great work ethic. That’s what I like.
How hard was it to get his power to translate from 170LB to 205LB division?
I knew he was killing himself to make weight and I always said, even before I knew him, that if he moved up he was going to be a really hard guy to deal with. He was killing himself and he wasn’t even on a strength and conditioning program, he was on a starvation program. This is his natural body right here and the sky is the limit for him.
How has he enhanced his level of athleticism since you started?
We do a bunch of agility work and a lot of balance and stability work. I’d say that the balance and stability work were part of his gray areas before. We also do a lot of explosive work along with some power lifts. I train him like everybody else, but for a guy who was never on a proper strength and conditioning program and is then put on one, those are the kind of results you’re going to get. He’s been fun to work with.
What has been the most impressive thing you’ve seen him do?
The most impressive has to be his pylometric work. The way his feet move compared to other athletes or professional mixed martial arts fighters is just incredible.
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