Nick Smiley
Nick Smiley

Monday morning I realized how sick I was after coughing all night. In talking with Todd Duffee, we decided it would be best for me to go back to Savannah to see my primary care doctor. I didn’t want to risk getting guys like Glover Teixeira sick before his UFC light heavyweight title shot.

Bright and early on Tuesday morning my beautiful fiancee Sunni dragged me to the doctor, where I was diagnosed with a severe upper respiratory infection and sinusitis. A shot in the butt, a Z-pack and prednisone had me feeling like a million bucks.

If Tuesday’s night training session was any indication of how things were gonna go, I was going to be alright. I felt like I was firing on all cylinders. You know, it’s amazing when you get that feeling of enlightenment, that epiphany — a true lightbulb moment!

Being able to discern between ego and competitive nature was that moment.

It was changing the entire atmosphere of my camp. Everything I did in training and in my regular day-to-day activities was changed. I started seeing things in a different light.

Wednesday’s noon session would prove to be no different.

We had a killer flow sparring session at Champions Training Center in Savannah, followed by three rounds of hard bag work and then finished out with core-abs work. Everyone on the competition team was feeling the vibe, we all seemed to be hitting our stride. But I was preparing for something that afternoon that no one should have to experience.

Wednesday afternoon my brother Justin met me in our hometown to head over to the visitation of one of our childhood friends and teammates who had passed away Sunday after battling cancer for just six months.

He was a father, son, brother and OUR friend!

Kevin was only 34-years-old. Rest easy, my friend — your job here is done.

This was just another example of how close to home some of these things hit, and it’s been happening way too often in my community.

Thursday and Friday’s sessions were all the same, noon and night. I was really getting it all together, which will prove to be very hazardous to my opponents’ health. (At least in my mind).

And something very cool happened on Friday morning. I had to get up at 6 a.m. to receive a call from Australian journalist Neil Rooke to do an interview with him for The MMA Corner.

I’m gonna tell you, that was one of the coolest things I’ve done. Even better was when he tweeted me later on that day and called me “mate”. I was called mate by a real Australian; it’s the simplest of things in life that please me. Im gonna take the momentum of all this and crush my workouts in the weeks to come.

Nick Smiley is a pro MMA heavyweight from South Georgia who is preparing to defend his Conflict MMA Promotions Heavyweight Title on April 26 in Savannah, Ga. Follow “Preparing for Conflict: The Nick Smiley blog” each week to read about his journey to fight night. Follow Nick on Twitter at @Nick_Smiley and on Facebook.

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