Tarec's Tips: Secrets of "Sponge"

Hear how top-ten welterweight Tarec Saffiedine moved past injury to return with his power intact.
UFC’s promotional debut in Singapore on UFC Fight Pass is set to feature an explosive main event when former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine (13-3-0) squares off against Hyun Gyu “The Ace” Lim (12-3-1) on Friday. It’s an especially important bout for Saffiedine; not only will it be his UFC debut, but also his first fight in nearly a year.
“I’d like to keep what my injuries were on the low side of things, but I basically got sick of dealing with them,” the Belgian-born boxing specialist told “When I fought Nate Marquardt I had a nagging injury that I didn’t treat, and when I went to fight Robbie Lawler [at UFC on FOX 8 in July], another injury occurred. I figured I’d treat both at the same time.”

Here, Saffiedine lets us in on some of the secrets to throwing a perfect punch.

Polishing His Power
A win is a win, but Saffiedine understands that a an early knockout always makes a good impression -- the kind he hopes to make in his UFC debut. Saffiedine offers this advice if you’re looking to develop knockout power with your punches or kicks,

Build a foundation.
“Get a good coach and start with the basics. Learn to throw a proper punch, knee, and kick, and then add strength conditioning. Kicking a pad will develop power in the legs, but there is a strength and conditioning element, too.”

Repeat yourself.
"Hit the heavy bag, and hit the heavy bag, and hit the heavy bag. And you have to do that over and over and over and over. Repetition.”

Put your body into it.
“Heavy punches come from the back, hip, arm, feet, and legs — it’s a transfer of strength.”

Blast off. “Do a lot of plyometric work with medicine balls and movements that involve jumps and developing explosive power.”
Take a step back. Finally, treat your body right and listen to it if you're injured. Getting back to perfect health wasn’t an easy task for Saffiedine: Here’s a guy who typically trains three times a day six days per week, forced to watch watching from the sidelines. The timing made things even worse; after being picked up by UFC when the promotion absorbed Strikeforce, Sponge was itching to showcase his skills in the Octagon, not a physical therapist's office.

“When you’re injured, the beginning is frustrating,” he revealed. “And then you have to keep your mind focused and tell yourself that you’ll come back stronger.” Reminding himself that he needed a healthy body in order to compete in his chosen field helped him keep his forced hiatus in perspective.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives, Saffeidine focused on staying upbeat. “I was supposed to fight Lawler and it didn’t work out,” he explained. “But I stayed positive and did what I needed to do. Now I have this opportunity on January 4. I think it all happened for a reason.”

Watch Past Fights


Three UFC championship belts are on the line at UFC 205 - as well as history. Hear from the champions and challengers in this extended preview: Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor, Tyron Woodley, Stephen Thompson, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz
In Part 1 of the UFC 205 preview, Forrest Griffin and Matt Parrino break down some of the best fights to come. Including Chris Weidman vs Yoel Romero, Donald Cerrone vs Kelvin Gastelum, Rashad Evans vs Tim Kennedy and more.
UFC Minute host Lisa Foiles previews the Fight Night Mexico City main event with some numbers and statistics. Don't miss the event between Rafael Dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson on Nov. 5 on FS1.
Why does Cody Garbrandt have no love for champion Dominick Cruz? The unbeaten bantamweight explains the rivalry and why he thinks he'll be champion Dec. 30 in Las Vegas at UFC 207.