Just fresh out of competing in the Provincial Body Building alongside Team Labrador in December, Colin Baikie is at it once again, representing the big land in a big way.
After a little over a year consisting of many bruises, tumbles and minor sprains, and a lot of mentoring from the pros- Baikie’s ultimate dream is starting to take form as he is about to step into the octagon.
The 22-year-old has been religiously traveling back and forth from his hometown of North West River to Montreal, QC to train at the world renowned Tri-Star Gym. Alongside some of the greatest names out there in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) profession, Baikie graduated and was presented with his very first MMA star from the beginner level in March, and now will be competing in his very first amateur MMA fight in Montreal on June 30.
While MMA has been around for centuries, it has no doubt become explosive on the sports entertainment scene over the past several years, and fans just can’t get enough.
For those who may not be familiar- the full-body contact involves a ‘mixture’ of Maui Thai, kickboxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu all wrapped into one. Two opponents go head to head (or toe-to-toe) in the ring putting their best fighting style and agility to take their opponent down at any given opportunity.
Baikie stopped by the Labradorian earlier this month to speak about what it’s been like to be living out the dream and once again representing his home based pride on the national stage.
Since childhood, the North West River native has dedicated much of his time into making the most of what life has to offer. He said he always knew he wanted to accomplish great things in life and to develop as a pro-athlete.
“I got to thank Pat (Gill) for introducing me to the gym and since then I just like fell in love with the sport,” Baikie originally started out as Pat “Project” Gill’s spar partner back in 2010- Gill is another Labrador MMA great making his name.
When not giving it his all in the gym and putting his physical strength and abilities to the ultimate fighting test, Baikie also runs his own gas station and snowmobile repair business in NWR.
“I needed to have something to back me up so I started a business to make money and now it’s my time to start training,” he says.
Continuously thriving on success and self-improvement, Baikie has competed in a number of sports through the years. He says there were several basic principles that drew him into the world of Mixed Martial Arts. “Hard work, determination and self discipline,” said Baikie. “That’s one thing I like about MMA – it has those three things and like if you don’t work hard at it you just, you won’t get anywhere with it,” he says.
“When I go out there to Montreal it’s just like eat, sleep and train. There’s sometimes I don’t even go out for a full week because I am living in the gym.”
Baikie credits his swift progression thus far in the MMA profession to the gym, trainers, and learning from the pros.
“The Tristar gym is a really good, knowledgeable gym. There’s so many educated people there. It could be just beginners and they’re still educated, it’s just the education and the smarts of the trainers which makes it good.”
With a two week on and two week off program consisting of up to 6 hours a day of training, Baikie said he isn’t wasting away his time inside camp and is making sure to do the best he can with the time given by training effectively.
With rests and re-fueling throughout the day a typical morning inside the gym starts with a early morning technique called striking and conditioning or Maui Thai. In the afternoon there’s Jiu-Jitsu and the evenings wrestling.
“That’s another reason why I like MMA. There’s so many different things to work on – it’s not just doing one thing – you can’t be a good stand up guy and not be good on the ground and there’s so much to learn it’s unreal,” says Baikie.
“Some people spend their whole life on doing jiu-jitsu and they are still learning. But the cool thing about MMA is you got your boxing, you got Maui Thai, you got jiu-jitsu, wrestling and you put it all together and it takes a long time. It’s so much to do with technique.”
For those who have a negative outlook of the sport, Baikie said in his experience, the MMA involves more than what one may think- in his eyes it’s a ‘safe sport.’
“It’s not what meets the eye – it takes hours of training and discipline, hard work and dedication to become these athletes,” he explains. “They don’t just get into a cage and swing their arms and hope for the best- these guys have been training for years upon years to become great champions and for people to say: ‘oh this is crazy’, it is crazy, but if you get involved in it and you realize what it’s all about it’s not as bad as what you think.”
He said another positive aspect about the sport is that it has much to do with is self-image and how you feel overall about yourself. “Confidence is a big thing in this sport – you got to have confidence,” He says if a person lacks confidence or is overly ‘cocky’ it isn’t going to work. “I’ve listened to so many inspirational speeches about boxers like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and the biggest thing I found out of from all of it was confidence. Once you build good confidence you progress a lot better and you take risks that could cost you,” he said. “You know like when you feel like you don’t want to do something, but yet you do it, and then you’re like ‘oh yeah, it’s good I done that” those things- it’s the days that your tired is what makes you become better.”
Finding a balance between the two is something that keeps Baikie grounded. “I don’t like to be the kind of guy that’s cocky – I’m never a cocky guy, but once I am interested in it, and I love something I am doing…I love to give it 100%. I don’t like to be the guy who says ‘oh I knocked a guy out in the gym today,’ I like to just have my mind set on what I want to do and any negative things it just passes by.”
He also said that while injuries are inevitable, safety is always number one in the gym.
“The good thing about the gym is that when you train we wear all our head gear and protection, our gloves and it’s not like we are just going to punch each other in the face.”
He also said one of the first things the coaches tell you coming into the gym is to train well, eat healthy and to stay clear of the alcohol and drug lifestyle.
“You can’t be a rock star and a world champion-it just doesn’t work,” says Baikie.
One day he says he hopes to see the sport becoming an Olympic event.
Since starting his training, Baikie said he is thankful for meeting the people he has in the past year and a half and being able to take in all of the experience and learn from the greats. “It’s a good thing about that gym there’s so many world athletes and coaches that give you great information…if you’re willing to train, they’re willing to help,” he says. “My roommate was in the Olympics in 2004 for judo and he just won the belt and you know just seeing him go through all of these phases of hard dieting, because it’s not about just being the fighting, it’s hard dieting, the training and just the mental game of it all, it’s tough. But it’s something, if you could understand, it’s something that feels good. After you’re all done, it’s like worth every bit of it. It just leads up to that one day and that one night.”
He said that he is still getting to know his best techniques and strengths inside the gym: “In MMA you have to be well rounded…you need to learn everything, and that’s a cool thing about MMA – it’s MMA now - it’s not just striking; you have to learn the ground game, you have to learn stand up, you have to learn the overall approach. That’s why at my last camp I felt so good too because I am actually starting to learn my best fighting stance and what my best kicks are.”
Baikie said he has learned that his strongest point is Maui Thai. “I been training in that for a while and my coach is like one of the best Maui Thai trainers in the world – he makes sure you’re good.”
Today, Baikie said his main priority is to keep focused on making a career out of his effort and is serious about his future as an MMA athlete. “Anything I do I go 100% - go all or go home,” he said.
He also says he would like to get in at least 10 amateur fights in the next year before he progresses to the next stage of the game.
“I have a goal in mind and I can just see it but its slowly coming. At first, just dreaming of even training in MMA- then I go to the TriStar gym and I am training, and then the next thing you know I am living with professional fighters and hanging out with them all of the time. Then I am training with professional fighters and now I got a fight coming up – it’s just all starting to come and it’s taking time, but it’s coming sooner.”
Baikie said he no doubt has many to thank for helping him get to where he is today and instilling values and inspiring him on keeping him focused on his number goals inside an outside of the gym.
“My parents they give me the base of learning what true hard work was and dedication. It’s in me to work hard – just seeing my family work hard all their life, it just motivates me to do it and not only that, people that support me motivate me too.”
He also adds that he is thankful to the local sponsers for their support.
Setting an example for the next generation is another important part of what he wants to accomplish as a pro athlete.
“If I know that I can even help one person it could make a big difference to me,” said Baikie. I am doing it for people of Labrador, I want to put them on the map and show that it doesn’t matter where you’re from you can become whatever it is you want to do. There’s ups and downs in life, but if you got a dream, don’t hinder your dreams, keep going.”
Some day, Baikie says he would like to start up his own gym in Labrador but for now he said he is focused on going into his first amateur match up with a mindset of technique, training, confidence and of course victory.
“When I was in the ring, I was sparring with a UFC fighter, like that inspired me-if I can do this now, there’s no trouble in me doing this and making it. Every time I go there I just learn more things and it just becomes more of a reality.”