Former WEC Champion and current UFC Lightweight Jamie Varner spends a lot of time in gyms, but he is typically training for a three-round fight with one of the top lightweight fighters in the world. This time Varner is training to run in an eight-mile obstacle race called Spartan Race. Varner will weave his way through hundreds of other runners and will have to navigate over and through at least twelve obstacles ranging from rope and wall climbs and scurrying under barb wire in mud pits.
Some people compete in races like Spartan Race to just say they finished the course. As you can imagine, like most professional athletes, Varner doesn’t have that gear.
“I am very competitive person, so I don’t do anything like this unless I am trying to win. I said I would do the elite heat, but I guess they got guys that are very highly trained obstacle course runners, so they put me in the open category,” Varner explained. “Either way I always have high and realistic expectations when I compete. I am going to have to go out there and wing it to a certain extent, but I am going to be competitive.”
Varner is always in shape, but he is usually training for an entirely different sport that requires much different training, pointing to differences in the two endeavors by explaining, “I am more of an anaerobic athlete. We train to go for 5 minutes, take a one minute break, and go another 5 for as long as it takes. I train to be an explosive athlete, I am an mma fighter.” He continued “In a fight, there is an ebb and a flow, and you have moments when you are trying to finish a guy that are high paced, and you have moments when you are working for a position or working back to guard that aren’t. This type of race isn’t very conducive to that type of training. This race is more geared toward the tri-athlete and endurance sports athletes, I think those are the people that are going to place really high.”Varner really enjoys these types of events. In Arizona, there is plenty of outdoor activities and races to go on, and he plans on doing them for a very long time. “ I am always excited to do stuff like this because it is something to get in the gym and be motivated. It can be tough sometimes when you are in between fights and aren’t training for a certain person in front of you. Spartan Race is one of those things that’s really easy for me to get motivated for. This is in my wheelhouse of things I really enjoy, and i’ll be doing these things long after I am done fighting.”
Varner plans on being sore for a few days after the race, but as far as getting back in the cage is concerned, he is still waiting for an opponent from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. However, Varner is staying in shape, and now that he is healed from his UFC 155 win over Melvin Guillard, he is ready to get back in there.
“I always try and stay in shape, and we have a lot of lightweight fights coming up in the UFC, so you really never know. A few weeks after a fight I like to relax, and not get pushed and pulled, twisted and punched in the face, but one of my goals is try and be ready to fight in case I can,” Varner concluded. “There are a lot of fights coming up, and I am always willing to help the UFC and fill in if I can.”