As the anticipation builds for the upcoming fight between James McSweeney and Badr Hari at Glory 88 on September 9th, fans and martial arts enthusiasts are eager to witness this clash of titans. Will it be the resurrection of Badr Hari now that he has 'officially' come out of retirement or could McSweeney be the last nail in his proverbial coffin if he inflicts his 4th consecutive loss on the Moroccan? Not to mention, there is also a hot ticket on the line to participate in Glory's World Grand Prix, a one-night, eight-man heavyweight tournament scheduled to happen in December. Winner of the tournament is set to bag $500,000. Potentially a comfortable retirement package for some?
Warrior Code had the opportunity to speak with McSweeney from his home in Dallas, Texas where he is enjoying life on the farm with wife and daughter to get his thoughts on the upcoming fight, reflections on life and the secret ingredients to a fulfilling career in martial arts.
At the age of 42, McSweeney continues to find motivation and passion in his sport. He credits his physical well-being and the culmination of his experiences and accomplishments for his renewed drive. With a clear purpose in his life and a mind and body that are in sync, McSweeney feels empowered to compete at the highest level, defying expectations and proving that age is really nothing more than a number.
Life of Adventure
Born and raised in London, McSweeney has spent the last 17 years living abroad, immersing himself in the world of combat sports. From fighting in Thailand's vibrant MMA scene to competing in Australia and eventually settling in Dallas, Texas, McSweeney's globetrotting lifestyle has allowed him to experience different cultures and training methods.
Reflecting on his time in the sport, McSweeney acknowledges the significant changes that have taken place. In the early days, training hard and pushing oneself to the limit was the norm. However, as he has grown older, McSweeney has embraced a more balanced approach to training, focusing on quality rather than quantity. "Recovery and self-care have become integral parts of my routine, allowing me to maintain peak performance and avoid burnout."
A pivotal moment when he began studying his losses that he experienced a transformative shift in perspective. By detaching himself emotionally and analysing the technical aspects of his fights, he was able to turn those losses into valuable lessons. This newfound understanding and ability to replicate successful strategies from other fighters' performances have played a significant role in his recent victories.
Outside the ring, McSweeney discovered a newfound passion in farming. Living on his farm in Texas, he has immersed himself in nature, caring for animals, growing organic food, and teaching his daughter about self-sustainability. This connection with the earth has not only added depth to his life but has also contributed to his overall well-being and motivation.
"I've found that living with a spouse who doesn't share the same passion for combat sports actually provides me with a much-needed balance," reveals McSweeney. He explains, "By separating my personal life from my professional endeavours, I ensure that I maintain a healthy mindset and avoid mental fatigue. This clear division allows me to fully dedicate myself to the sport while also enjoying quality time with loved ones."
His driving force has always been his love for the sport and the desire to push all limits. "Fighting is in my blood, and I'm constantly striving to improve and become the best version of myself. The support from my fans and the satisfaction of achieving my goals also fuel my motivation to keep going."
"I'm feeling a mix of excitement and determination about the next fight. Badr Hari is a formidable opponent, I have been asking for this fight since I joined Glory and the moment is now here to give it my all."
So where does McSweeney actually think he sits in his career? Is he on the home stretch or is the word retirement not part of his vocabulary yet? "I genuinely feel like I am in the prime of my career. Physically I am where I want to be and having been around for so many years, my mind has reached a level of maturity that I can cope with anything. The fact that there is a ticket to the world series on offer if I defeat Hari is incredibly exciting." He continues: "Of course, I am not going to deny that I am on the home stretch of my career and I have definitely made plans which I am not going to reveal. But, I will say this: Everything is up for grabs in that end of year tournament and what a way it would be to step down from such a long career with a belt around your waist."