AMHERST, N.S. – Nick Theriault knows what it’s like to knock another man out.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never been allowed to hit anybody that hard,” said Theriault. “It was a little overhand right, and it must have caught him on the chin and he went flying.”
With his opponent on his back, Theriault stepped up and delivered the final blow.
“The finishing punch was in slow motion. I stepped over top of him and gave him one more shot and everything was slowed right down. I just walked over to him and boom.”
That’s when the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, giving Theriault the knock out win over Ben Fullarton at Elite 1 MMA’s Decade of Destruction on April 27 at Casino New Brunswick in Moncton.
Fighting at 155 pounds, it was Theriault’s first mixed martial arts fight and it was stopped at 1:39 into the first round.
“It was six years of training that went into a fight that lasted for 1:39,” said the 37-year-old. “It was a six-year training camp.”
Theriault lives in Moncton and trains at Cumberland Mixed Martial Arts in Amherst three nights a week.
“With gas prices going up it costs me about $20 for one round trip,” said Theriault. “It adds up, but it’s worth it.”
Theriault trains under Springhill’s Justin Bourgeois.
“I lived in Springhill when I was about 17-years-old and met Justin then, and started training with him in 2013 and stuck with it.”
Bourgeois was Theriault’s cornerman at Casino New Brunswick, and says he was nervous.
“I’m just as nervous as any of my students as I am at any of my own bouts, sometimes even more nervous, because I know what they’re up against.”
Theriault says the hype leading up to the fight was a little nerve-wracking, but walking out to the cage and fighting the actual fight was meditative.
“The lights are everywhere, they’re announcing your name, and, also, they messed up the tape on my gloves and gave me the wrong coloured tape, so it took a couple extra minutes to get the match underway, but when you’re there none of it matters,” said Theriault. “You’re not looking at the crowd, you’re kind of blinded by the light, and it’s just what’s in front of you. It’s awesome. It’s a great experience. It’s very meditative. Being in the cage kind of relaxes you.”
He says you need to be focused and calm to perform.
“You have to be centred on the one thing you’re doing. You can’t think about anything else or you’ll get tapped every time. If you start thinking about other things, you’re done.”
He says everything he did in the cage was very automatic.
“With all the training we do and all the classes I’ve done over and over, all the combinations came automatically,” said Theriault. “You have to do the drills over and over so that everything comes automatically because if you start to think too much, you’re late, and if you’re late, you lose.”
Bourgeois says Theriault is very persistent.
“His persistence is what separates him from a lot of other fighters,” said Bourgeois. “I really believe he could climb to the top of his division.”
He also says Theriault is a great person.
“He adapts well, he learns quick, he’s a good teammate, he gets along with all the other members of the gym, and he’s has a positive mindset and a good attitude.”
Theriault says mixed martial arts has had a huge impact on his life.
“It’s made me more confident in myself for sure,” said Theriault. “The fight itself was a great experience but I find the training, more than the fight, shows you who you can be.”