Opportunity Rises: Alderic Keith Hopes Tristar Camp Results in Elite 1 Win
While a mixed martial artist would probably not use Sheryl Crow for an entrance song, her single ‘A Change Would Do You Good‘ can be the best way to describe the path taken by Alderic Keith in his fighting career. After starting off his career at 4-0, he hit a bump in the road and has since lost his last two fights. The change that he needed was to take a step up in training and he has since moved his sessions to Tri-Star gym. We will see if the switch will help him when he faces Troy DeMerchant at Elite 1: Showdown this Saturday in Moncton.
Before heading to Tristar to train, Alderic had to be accepted by the gym. Waiting for the call from Montreal made Keith very anxious.
“It was definitely a surreal feeling, “says Keith. “It was kind of like Christmas just waiting for the call to see if I was going to be accepted. Everyday I was looking forward to it and when I got it, I was pretty ecstatic. AFter I got the call, every day seemed to go by so slow that when the day came when I got there, I was a kid in a candy store. It was a great feeling. It’s the number one gym in Canada and its ranked number three in the world. The top notch guys are out there and training with them helps make you better.”
Since getting the call, Keith got to spend two months in the dorms last fall and just came back from a three week session to help him make his debut at Welterweight. He has been able to train with the some of the best the school has to offer including Kenny Florian, Miguel Torres, and Ryan Ford just to name a few. While staying in the dorms, Keith could not help but treat the opportunity like he was in university and soak in the knowledge. It was in there that the move to 170 made sense.
“Before my last fight I was thinking about it,” says Keith. “The last weight cut I did, I didn’t have to lose too much weight. I think I had only lost four pounds to go into that fight of water weight and I wasn’t really on a strict diet leading up to it. I felt I would be bigger force at 170 than I would be at 185. After I went to train at Tristar, they really encouraged me to go at 170 as well. The guys out there are monsters at 185. I was here on the east coast getting by at 185, but my goal is to go as far in this sport as possible, so I think 170 will be a better category.”
With taking everything that has learned over the last six months, you would think Keith would have the advantage on paper going in against DeMerchant who comes into this fight with a 1-1 record. This is not the case for Keith because he knows anything can happen when the cage door closes.
“You have to keep your mind open to all the possibilities,” says Keith. “You can’t look at any fight as an easy fight. You can’t underestimate your opponent because that is when you get caught. I will go in there and give him as much respect that I would give any opponent. With MMA, it just takes that one shot to end it. I am training hard no matter who it is and with this being my first match at 170 and my first fight under Tristar, I am looking to go out and impress and say I can be a force at 170.”
While you hear fighters say this kind of thing over and over again, his experience certainly speaks the truth. His two losses in his career came against Mike Kent, a Top 10 Canadian Middleweight rankings who has cleaned out the division in Atlantic Canada. When the two fought the first time in May of last year, the fight was a close split decision that could have gone either way. The second time in June however, Kent was able to catch him in an exchange and record the TKO victory in the first round. While this will be his first fight since that match, the two losses will at least help him with his thought process against DeMerchant.
“In the first Kent fight, I expected a stand up fight and it turned into a wrestling fight,” says Keith. “In the second fight, I focused on my wrestling and it turned into a stand up fight. I am just trying to keep my skills all well-rounded and go into this fight with the focus on my strengths and strike with him but if it goes to the ground, I think I will be comfortable where it goes. I just need to keep my composure. The last time me and Kent fought, my emotions got to me, which got me into that trade and I got caught, but I took it as a learning experience.”
While everything seems to be going right for Keith leading up to Saturday, there has been one small bump in the road when trying to get the fight that he really wanted. For a period of a few months, there was some trash talking between him and Jeremiah Bernard who he was supposed to square off against a few times previously. While the issue is in the past now, the idea of the two fighting was because Keith questioned Bernard’s character.
“I try to be respectful when it comes to fighting and I don’t find him to be respectful,” says Keith. “Now it has just been excuse after excuse. I called him out to fight and he said he would not fight at 185 and I said that is great because I plan to drop down at 170. After that, he said that he had not been training, so I will fight you next fight. So the next fight came up and it was going to happen but then he got injured and then he said I would fight you in January. January came up and he said that he had some personal issues come up. This has been the third or fourth time that something has come up, so I have put it behind me. I just don’t like his attitude. He always says ‘nobody will fight me at 170 and I always got to go up a weight class’, so I said I will come down to 170 and I will fight you for my first fight there. So that way you get what you want out of it and I will get something I want too. It didn’t end up happening and it was a fight I was looking forward to so I could close his mouth a little bit.”
While the Bernard fight could be possible for the near future, the only thing Keith needs to worry about is winning against DeMerchant Saturday night. If the win should come, maybe some bigger and better things can be on the horizon.
*** all photos by Martin Blais|aggro photography
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