Mixed Martial Arts is a sport where things can happen in a flash. In today’s episode of Across The Pond, you will meet a thunderous fighter whose lightning-like submissions and booming knockout power have molded him into one of England’s hot Welterweight prospects. A professional since November 2009 and representing Lion’s Den MMA under Dave Matthews, 26 year old Craig White owns a 10-7 record in seventeen career bouts consisting of six submissions and four knockouts.
In his MMA debut, Craig defeated Sam Connely via TKO in the second round. He also defeated Matt Ross Francombe via TKO in round one. White earned consecutive submission victories over Rocci Williams and Richard Weatherall respectively. At Cage Warriors 41, he submitted Dan Edwards via triangle choke in the first round. Then he tapped out Jason Cooledge in round one. At Cage Warriors Fight Night 11 in Jordan, Craig defeated John Redmond via TKO in the second round. He returned to his submitting ways with a victory over Jon Williamson. At Ultimate Impact 15, White defeated Tommy Cook via TKO in round one. In 2017, Craig returned to Cage Warriors to face Nordic prospect Thomas Robertsen at Cage Warriors 80 in London and submitted him via triangle choke in the first round. ”The Thundercat” is ready to put a jolt into the Cage Warriors Welterweight division!
Interview with Craig-
How did you get started in MMA and what attracted you to Lion’s Den MMA?
I was doing Tae Kwon Do from 11 to 16 and my instructor decided to do a runner with everyone’s money. He was part of some American pyramid scheme where they charged a stupid amount of money for a ‘martial arts package’ (buy a belt system too) and it had got to a point where the local area had been completely drained of anyone who wasn’t aware of what was going on so it all dried up. The whole thing killed my love of martial arts for a bit but my parents are very supportive and got me to go try out Lion’s Den. I started Tae Kwon Do again there but the main passion of Dave Matthews, head coach and owner, was MMA and I gradually lured into that. I never really got on with the grappling aspect at first so my first fight under the LD banner was a kickboxing bout and I was going to look to stick at that. The next kickboxing bout I got offered would have been in a head guard which didn’t appeal to me, so I took a semi-pro MMA fight instead. I gave away at least 10kg and won by KO in 55 seconds. From there my love of MMA grew and I started to get more of a grasp of everything. A year on from then I had my first pro fight and here I am over 7 years later still doing what I love with a team that have become my family. That’s the most attractive part of LD to me.
What has been the biggest life lesson of your career so far?
Making sure to be mentally prepared for a fight is just as important, if not more important, than being physically prepared. Any fight I’ve gone into where I’ve not been 100% mentally prepared has always resulted in a loss caused by stupid mistakes. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing and I’ve learnt a lot from these losses, but it’s frustrating to look back and know I could have performed better and won if I’d had that better mind-set.
What are some of your hobbies besides training?
I love wildlife documentaries. I’ve spent countless hours of my downtime watching them. David Attenborough is my hero.
As a veteran, do you have any advice for up and coming fighters?
Too much stress is put on weight cuts, especially for amateurs. I’ve seen people lose 10 kg for an amateur fight where it’s a same day weigh in and as a result they’ve put in a performance which really isn’t them. Heavy weight cuts are detrimental enough with a day before weigh in let alone with a same day. I think we need more weight classes brought in for all levels of competition as the jumps past 70 kg are quite substantial. I think changing/adding 75 kg, 80 kg, 85 kg and 90 kg divisions would be a good move. My main advice to anyone would be to make sure you’re fighting at a sensible weight which you know you can safely reach. Fighting at a lower weight to get an edge in the fight isn’t always the best practice.