Trevor Wittman is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in Mixed Martial Arts. He’s a six-time MMA Coach of The Year winner and has trained some of the best fighters in the sport to become champions.
With a background in college wrestling and as a professional boxer, Wittman is more qualified than most to teach the sport of MMA.
Every coach has their own teaching styles and ways of getting their messages across to their fighters, but Wittman’s methods haven’t helped his big three this year, subsequently leading them to three losses in three title fights, compared to last year, where at UFC 268, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas and Justin Gaethje went 3/3 in their fights.
Wittman doesn’t seem to show empathy when his fighters lose, I often see screenshots or videos of him smiling when one of his fighters has been knocked or has lost. When I compare him to Leon Edwards’ head coach, Dave Lovell, who throughout the fight was trying to motivate his fighter, you can’t help but imagine he doesn’t really care about his fighters.
Trevor telling Usman to pour on the pressure with strikes when he could’ve out grappled Edwards like he was, is a huge blunder but I don’t think it’s the biggest issue. Every coach makes tactical errors, he thought Leon was completely drained and he wasn’t.
Going back to the Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza fight, when Rose was clearly doing nothing and the crowd was booing, Pat Barry said “Hear those boos, that means your doing it right,” when that clearly wasn’t the case and Trevor did nothing to challenge that. I know he’s the more technical guy and does the “fine-tuning” but I think there are times when he needs to push his fighters more and take a lead when he sees something wrong.
The only time I can recollect Wittman being angry at his fighter losing was Gaethje vs Oliveira earlier this year.
Trevor is still one of the best in the game, let’s not get it twisted but there were just a couple of things that I noticed that I didn’t like about his coaching style.
When I was younger and used to train, I loved the fact my coaches got under my skin and pushed me to be the best I could be. There was a perfect mix of level-headedness with teaching and pure motivation for me and there was a clear discrepancy between what my coaches did for me and what they did for others. I don’t think Wittman does that enough with his fighters.
I think Wittman and Gaethje are perfect for each other. With his almost psychotic calmness taming his caged bull in Justin. However, for Rose, I think Rose needs more of a push, especially if Pat Barry is scared to tell his partner what she’s doing wrong.
As I said before, Wittman is still one of the best in the game and he coached these guys to the top or from the top of the pack. There are just some things I personally think I’d prefer him to do if he was my coach.