Simon Maait: I put on '300' before every fight

Simon Maait is an undefeated (9-0-0, 5KOs) prospect coming out of the Bulldog Gym in Castle Hill. Find out more about him in this exclusive IK interview.

Simon Maait: I put on '300' before every fight

Your fight record is impressive. How did this KO ratio come about and is it your intention to always finish the fight within the distance?
In my first fight, I knocked the guy out in the second round and it’s always been my intention to do so, as bad as you feel for your opponent. I don’t think any fighter wants to leave it in the hands of the judges but if it has to go the distance, I know I have the strength and cardio to do so.

You’ve had big success with weight loss. Please outline this.
When I first walked into Bulldog four years ago, I weighed 105kg and told Stuart [McKinnon] I wanted to fight. He said I’d have to drop to 86kg before he’d consider it.

Dieting and training started from there.
I train two to three times a day, varying between cardio, weight training, pad work and sparring. My diet consists of five meals a day, which are heavily portion controlled. Zero to almost no carbs leading into fights. First few weeks are tough in terms of energy levels but your body does adapt.

How long have you been training and why did you start?
I’ve been training for four years and it’s been a dream since I was a teenager. The reason why I initially started training was because I had to work on my core strength after two back operations.

I was told by doctors I would never be able to do this sort of exercise (Muay Thai) again and I wanted to prove it to them, myself and others out there that if you work hard, you can do anything.

What does it feel like working and training at the same gym as the successful McKinnon brothers?
Working as an equal in the gym is awesome. Being around fighters and trainers like Stuart and Steve inspires you to become a better fighter and trainer as well. Stuart and Steve are constantly teaching me new things and I wouldn’t have the record I have today if it wasn’t for training and sparring with these guys.

You’ve had a bad run with opponents. I’ve heard of many pull-outs, which must be disheartening. Tell us about the emotional rollercoaster you go on when opponents are set for you and you train accordingly only to be cancelled or changed closer to the fight date.
Having an opponent pull out is one of the most devastating things that can happen in a fight career. You train so hard, diet so hard and sacrifice a social life to prepare only to find out a few days before, it’s not going to happen.

The most disheartening one was travelling to Canberra with friends and family to take on Spiro Black for his Australian title. I had been on antibiotics for three weeks with the flu, and he pulled out due to illness on the night. Short of being on your death bed or having a serious injury (like a broken limb), I think there’s no excuse for it.

Fighters should be held accountable with fines or some sort of penalty.

What is that one important aspect for you about training that you just can’t go without?
It’s a bit weird, but before every fight, I put on the movie 300 and watch the opening scene with King Leonidas front-kicking the Persian messenger into a pit.

It pumps me up and I watch it three or four times before I leave the house. “This is Sparta!”  [Laughs] I love that scene.

Tell us something about yourself that we would never know.
I’ve had two back operations — and I sleep in a onesie [laughs].

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