CAPE TOWN - The last time Gideon Drotschie stepped into the Grand Arena, his name echoed off the walls and rattled the floor ahead of his fight with Warren Allison. It was clear that ‘The Juggernaut’ was a huge fan favourite in the Mother City.
With all the screams and cheers around me, all I could do was focus on his body language. It wrote a story of an athlete in over-drive, and it felt as if the man was not even in the moment or himself, really.
The tale quickly unfolded as Gideon uncharacteristically suffered a first-round loss in the EFC. Prior to this, the only time he had ever walked down the steps of the Hexagon in under three minutes was with a 'W' to his name.
“My last fight didn’t go my way. There were various variables involved but I am not one for excuses. I wasn’t’ thinking about getting into proper position, I was concentrating on finishing the fight and that’s what made me give up position and made it easy for him (Warren Allison) to get me on my back and keep me there,” he says.
Warren, a man with a decent Brazilian Jiu-jitsu pedigree, had top control and went to work on Gideon, the fight was declared over via TKO (punches). A bloodied Gideon walked to the lockers disappointed and looked a like a burdened man. A former Light Heavyweight Champion who had seemed to have fallen from grace, and a man who cut a lonely figure and that of an athlete who felt he’d let his fans down.
But as they say in the classics, it’s not how many times you fall, but how you get back up and learn from your faults. It’s been just under a year later, and Gideon is back at the Grand Arena for EFC72.
When he stepped into the EFC’s #OpenWorkout zone at Grand West Casino, Gideon looked fresh, focused and content in the moment. A man who opted to take some time off from the competitive scene to face and deal with his personal issues.
“I just want to perform well and get back on top and become a title contender. I went into training since my last fight and I needed to prove to myself that after all the personal problems and issues I had with my back that I can and need to do a proper job,” he says.
One of the issues Gideon alludes to is that of making a living. “I’m trying to get my mixed martial arts academy growing and it can be tough at times getting money out of people and so it’s hard for me to concentrate on building a gym and having to concentrate on my fight and not have anything else in mind.
“So yes, you have to push through and work hard and see what you can do in the cage. This time, I had the proper training camp, I had good people to train with unlike the last time where it was all over the place and I was just focused more on the club than on my fight, but now it’s all good and I am ready and I know it’s going to all come together on Saturday.”
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Gideon made his long-awaited drop to welterweight for his next fight against England’s Jenaid Ebanks. ;Jenaid, a former contestant on the EFC’s first reality television show, TF1 (The Fighter) has enjoyed three submission victories out of his last four wins. And Gideon says he is prepared.
“I’ve seen some of his fights, I know he is a wrestling type of guy so I know he is going to bring it and try and take me down. He will throw a few punches to get in but I am ready and I hope he is ready for the Juggernaut,” added Gideon.
It is also a special night for Gideon’s younger brother, Hermie Drotschie who makes his debut on the prelim card against Francois Cundari in a Lightweight bout. “I am so happy for Hermie, it’s been a while now and we going to show that the Drotschie brothers are on top of the game,” said big brother Gideon.