UFC’s Gerald Meerschaert on Gym Change: ‘I Can’t Train with Bantamweights All of the Time’

For UFC middleweight veteran Gerald Meerschaert moving away from a successful run a Roufusport was simply about getting training partners that were good, but actually his size.

Gerald Meerschaert has been synonymous with the state of Wisconsin during his rise in MMA. The UFC middleweight was born and raised in Racine and was a fixture at Milwaukee’s Roufusport Academy for years. Heading into his scheduled bout with Andre Petroski at UFC 292, things will again be much different for “GM3.” The 16-year pro will be competing as a resident of Florida. 

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His decision to recently relocate his family recently to the Sunshine State to train under Henri Hooft at Kill Cliff had zero to do with any issues at Roufusport and was simply all about a lack of comparable sparring partners for the middleweight stalwart.

Appearing on Sportsnaut’s Scrap Report, Gerald Meerschaert stated that “nothing really bad happened at Roufusport. It’s just that all of my partners that were around my size had just either retired or moved on to something else. I just kind of ran out of people … I can’t train with bantamweights all of the time.”

The move from Duke Roufus’ renowned but smaller camp to Hooft’s super camp has presented some other differences that Meerschaert feels can round out his game further. 

Gerald Meerschaert on working with Henri Hooft: ‘I’m at a place where it’s meant to be kept simple’

gerald meerschaert
Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously when you have a smaller team and fewer partners you have to somewhat hyperfocus on certain things you want to do,” he said. “…You have to be super specific on your training and getting those reps … But here, I’ve got enough bodies and different looks where I can point myself in a general direction.”

In addition to the abundance of available training partners in his weight range, Meerschaert is also happy to shift focus to the back-to-basics approach that has been the calling card of the K-1 vet turned elite coach. 

“Before I had a lot of detail … Which is good. It’s good to have both. I’m very fortunate that I got to train with Duke Roufus and Scott Cushman … I probably got more detail in striking training than most guys ever will in their entire career,” said Meerschaert. “But now I’m at a place where it’s meant to be kept simple because MMA has a lot of moving pieces. If you do the simple stuff right, everything else falls into place … I think it’s allowed me to open up a bit more and explore different avenues of how I approach striking and make me a bit looser and move on my feet a little more.”

The former RFA middleweight champion looks to showcase the fruits of his labor against Andre Petroski in August. The Ultimate Fighter alum has earned wins in all four of his UFC appearances. Meerschaert will be rebounding from a first-round knockout loss to Joe Pyfer at UFC 287. 

Gerald Meerschaert and Andre Petroski are slated for a preliminary card showdown at UFC 292, which will take place at Boston’s TD Garden on August 19.

Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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