James Krause is quickly becoming recognized as one of the finest coaches in mixed martial arts. He’s 34, and still an active competitor himself, but fighter after fighter who works with Krause raves about his methods, his teaching ability and the understanding he has of mixed martial arts.
As his fighters rack up wins and put together impressive performances, Krause is more and more being talked about as one of the sport’s elite coaches. Among his fighters in the UFC are Megan Anderson, who will fight Amanda Nunes for the women’s featherweight title in November; Grant Dawson and Kevin Croom.
“I think James is just now starting to get the recognition he deserves as a coach,” said UFC broadcaster Laura Sanko, a former Invicta fighter who was coached by Krause. “[This is] just the beginning of what I believe will be a very long and successful coaching career. I truly believe he will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the sport by the time it’s said and done. I think what sets him apart is his attention to detail and how he systemizes people’s games. He takes what a fighter is good at and organizes their game to accentuate those attributes.
“There is organization and a system to everything he does as a coach. I also think that being on the mats and doing every single class and every single rep alongside his students sets him apart. No one is a head coach/gym owner and coaching as many UFC fighters as he is. I believe it’s 13 at this point and the majority of those are home-grown fighters whom he has shaped from the beginning of their careers.”
For Krause, though, this is nothing new. He’s been coaching almost from the time he began to fight. He turned pro in 2007 and fought twice in the WEC in 2009.
All that time, he’s been working with fighters, helping them improve while competing himself.
He lost an agonizingly close decision to Trevin Giles at UFC 247 on Feb. 8 that snapped a six-fight winning streak and left his record at 27-8.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time, but I’m starting to get more notice for it,” he said. “I was coaching way before I should have been. I think I started six months after I started fighting. When I started, if you had six months on somebody, you had a big jump on them. I think I went from a fighter who was helping other fighters to an actual coach about five years ago.”
Krause will reprise his other role on Saturday on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi when he takes on Claudio Silva in a welterweight bout. For the second time in a row, he has taken the fight on short notice, replacing Muslim Salikhov.
Last time out, he took on Giles on less than 24 hours notice and up a weight class and still put together a Fight of the Night performance.
Going from coach to fighter and back to coach might seem tricky, but he shrugs it off as no big deal.
“I don’t really care, I guess, or think about it because I don’t know another way,” he said. “This is all I’ve done and all I’ve known. You guys [in the media] are recognizing it and talking about it a little more, but I’ve been doing this since the WEC days.”
Krause said perspective is important in his line of work. He has the ability to look at a fight from a coach’s perspective, a fighter’s perspective and a fan’s perspective.
As a fan, he’s just watching for enjoyment and taking in all the action. As a fighter, he is watching his opponent for any tells or mistakes he can take advantage of. And as a coach, his eye is on both with the intention of being able to correct mistakes and take advantage of openings.
That ability helps him as a fighter.
“It opens me up and I get a fuller sense of what I need to do,” he said of the varied perspectives he brings.
Sanko said Krause’s ability as a fighter is what make him such a complete coach.
“I’m not sure many people know this, but he taught himself jiu-jitsu off of YouTube,” she said. “You go back to his amateur career and he had an insane number of triangle finishes because he taught himself that move off of YouTube. So he’s been coaching himself from Day 1. He was sort of a coach even when I started in 2007 and was always helping us younger fighters even when we were just amateur teammates.
“I can remember so many times after class he’d say ‘Hey, let me show you something. I saw you doing this, but it would be more effective if you did X.’ … What it comes down to for me is that he has one of the best minds in the game combined with the ability to connect to people and motivate them combined with an unparalleled work ethic. He truly cares about his fighters more than himself. The main reason he took this fight is because he didn’t want to disrupt the schedule of all the other guys we have fighting over the next few months. He sacrifices his own camp so that they can be sure to succeed.”
Moraes: Stoppage too soon
Marlon Moraes was stopped for the second time in his last three bouts on Saturday when he was caught early in the second round by a wheel kick to the head from Cory Sandhagen and then finished on the ground.
Moraes went on the UFC post-fight show on ESPN and said he thought referee Marc Goddard acted too quickly.
“Probably a little early stoppage, but whatever,” Moraes sad. “I thought I was [OK] but the ref just jumped on me. I didn’t have time enough to get up.”
Stopping a fight or letting it go is the toughest choice a referee has to make. After Sandhagen dropped him, he raced in and caught Moraes with two punches to the face that were clean.
Moraes didn’t seem terribly woozy, but he was dropped hard by the kick and hit with two clean shots before Goddard jumped in. Had he not, Sandhagen would have landed several more hits.
I get Moraes’ point, but safety always comes first and I side with Goddard on this one.
Barboza has got it right
Edson Barboza ended a three-fight losing streak Saturday in Abu Dhabi with an impressive win over Makwan Amirkhani. He was in control throughout, aggressive but not opening himself up for counters.
He looked to be in brilliant shape and fought strategically rather than going for the hero shot as he’s done so often in the past.
I love what he said after as he mused about his next opponent. Sign me up for fights with Barboza against any of them.
“If you see everyone in the top six, top seven, they’re all great fighters,” he said. “Imagine me against Calvin Kattar, me against [Max] Holloway, me against Yair [Rodriguez]. It’s going to be a great fight. All those guys in top six, top seven, they’ll all make great fights with me.”
Agreed. Get on it, Dana White.
He said it
“If you’re Israel Adesanya, you just don’t fight [Jon Jones], because you know how mad he is. Could you imagine making this man as mad as you’re making him and still not fighting him? Because it doesn’t seem Izzy’s ready to fight him right now, but I think it would be a fantastic fight. Jones wants to fight him. Jones is a fighter, man. He’ll fight anybody. He’ll fight Adesanya, but Izzy won’t even fight him, which is just like picking at somebody constantly but at a distance. I’m not saying Adesanya’s scared, but Adesanya says, ‘I need my time. You said you’re going to heavyweight 10 years ago; you’re finally doing it now. Why can’t I have time?’ It’s very fascinating watching these two interact with each other.” — UFC television analyst Daniel Cormier.
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