James Krause: Student of the Game
Following a win against fellow TUF: Redemption contender Tom Gallicchio back in July 2017, ‘The’ James Krause (24-7) has been patiently waiting, and preparing for his return to the octagon.
Never one to be forced into taking a bout, James explained his routine before accepting a match-up and ensures that he stays hungry. He has several other avenues of income outside of the octagon, notably the ‘Glory MMA & Fitness’ gym that he owns, and so I was particularly interested in what motivates him to continue fighting; speaking to SpitballingPod late last week, he said ‘I really do enjoy it, and for me it’s the hunger. My body and my mind tell me this is what I want to do, and I get the itch that says I wanna fight. When I don’t get that itch to get in there to train every day, then I don’t even think about taking a fight. I train everyday regardless, but the intention in which you train is different. Whenever I get that hunger, I’ll let it sit for a couple of weeks and then if it’s still there, then I’ll know that it’s time to get back at it again’.
The eventual bout that Krause accepted comes on January 14th in St Louis, Missouri as he prepares to take on lightweight contender Alex White (12-3) – a division that he hasn’t competed in for over two years. ‘I’ve always been one of those in between guys’ he explained, adding ‘I either needed to stay at 155 and get some weight down, or go up and lift weights and get a bit leaner, and I hate lifting weights. I’m walking around lighter and I hate lifting weights, so yeah, that was essentially the decision making process’. Considering the cut hasn’t been made for so long, it sounds as if the cut is going well at least – ‘It’s good, I’m actually lighter now than I used to be and I don’t wanna jinx myself, but I feel like the cut is gonna be a lot easier this time around’. Fingers crossed.
When it comes to the match-up, the Missouri native sees it as a favourable one for himself; while breaking down the fight, he explained ‘Stylistically I feel like I’m a nightmare for him. On technical ability, I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m light-years ahead of him’. As you’d expect, his opponent Alex White has stated in interviews elsewhere that he is expecting a dogfight on January 14th, but when asked for his thoughts on that, James feels that won’t be the case – ‘Dogfights mean you’re both getting hit and so I’ll do my best to make sure it’s not like that. I think I have a good plan in place to stop his offense. He’s decent everywhere but I feel like I excel technically in a lot of areas over him’.
Fighting around Christmas clearly has its downsides, but it was just part of the job for James as he approaches his 5 year anniversary as a member of the UFC; ‘The way I looked at it was that I had Thanksgiving. I already missed out on the opportunity to fight in Kansas City, so I didn’t wanna miss the opportunity to fight in St Louis. When you sign up for this sport, this is just what you get, this is par for the course, and things like this are gonna happen’. He did manage to find some positives though, as he added ‘Am I happy about it? No, I watched everybody eat Turkey, and cookies and shit like that, but I’ll tell you what’s even nicer than Turkey and cookies, and that’s cashing cheques. There’s always something you’re gonna miss, it’s part of the game, you’re gonna miss somebody’s birthday, or some party, or holiday – there’s always gonna be something. At the end of the day, this is what we’re paid to do’.
As well as competing personally, Krause has now established himself as essentially a full time trainer and in the last few months alone has travelled to Winnipeg with Tim Elliott and Julian Marquez, and then again to Vegas with Tim Elliott to close out the year. Simply from speaking to James, you can hear a real passion in his voice when he talks about coaching and you can hear that it’s something he clearly enjoys doing; he echoes those statements himself, saying ‘I love coaching, it’s something that I definitely feel I’m good at. I’m a student of the game, whether I’m competing, coaching or whatever, I’m always obsessing over the game. I feel like it’s helped, I guess I live the life of a martial artist, I’m putting in the work, learning, helping others and that forces you to break it down technically and so I think it’s a great thing for me’.
As previously mentioned, part of the job when training fighters is cornering them, and so a fair amount of travelling comes with it. Travelling during fight camp is something that other fighters may not be comfortable with, but James seemed to embrace this side of the role. ‘I’ve been getting some great work away from home. It’s not been a concern at all’ he stated, and even explained how he enjoys being able to work with other coaches while on the road ‘I always enjoy picking other peoples brains and I really enjoy training with different minds. I think it’s good for me’.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the plan seems fairly clear cut. ‘I just want to continue the success – this will be four in a row for me. I’d like to fight three, maybe four times’. James is currently unranked at lightweight (largely due to inactivity at the weight), but if things go to plan against White and he can be as active as he plans to be, then he could quickly find himself in the heart of one of the most interesting divisions in the entire organisation.