Gavin O’Connor’s sports film ‘Warrior’ is one of the stand-out mixed martial arts films of the 21st century. Along with being a moving family drama, the film offers stunning MMA sequences that involve Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, the two lead performers. Their incredible portrayals of Tommy Riordan Conlon and Brendan Conlon respectively succeed in captivating the viewers with the commendable effort they put in the film’s fighting sequences. As their incredible talent and athleticism engross us, one must be wondering whether they know mixed martial arts in real life. Let’s find out!
Does Tom Hardy Know MMA in Real Life?
For Tom Hardy, the role of Tommy Riordan Conlon opened the doors to the world of mixed martial arts. The actor had to train mixed martial arts techniques and other combat sports vigorously to prepare for the character of Tommy. “I did two hours boxing a day, two hours Muay Thai, two hours Ju-Jitsu followed by two hours choreography and two hours of weightlifting seven days a week for three months. So come on! You have to really want to do that, so it was a challenge,” Hardy said to The Guardian. He gained 28 pounds for the role as well.
Hardy was chiefly trained by Patrick “P-Nut” Monroe, his longtime coach. “For Warrior, I didn’t want to train Tom to look like he could fight, I wanted to train him to actually fight. We spent three months working [on] striking and the muscles involved in that. We’d take the normal movements involved in striking and add resistance.”
“For example, I would resist him when he was throwing a punch or throw strikes at him while he blocked with weights on his wrists and ankles. I knew it would be impossible for him to interpret the choreography without knowing how to move naturally,” Monroe said to Coach. Hardy’s determination to train properly and resolutely paid off to portray Tommy in exceptional quality. The actor returned to mixed martial arts training for ‘Venom’ and ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage.’
Does Joel Edgerton Know MMA in Real Life?
Prior to ‘Warrior,’ Joel Edgerton wasn’t really a mixed martial arts enthusiast. The actor trained MMA under famed trainer Greg Jackson in Jackson Wink MMA Academy, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Edgerton trained three weeks under Jackson, who guided the actor with the same routines he uses with top UFC fighters. He worked on strength and conditioning and even ran up a steep 8,000-foot incline unflinchingly. Under Jackson’s experienced watch, Edgerton trained with weight and focused on traditional MMA techniques.
Right before the filming of the movie, Edgerton and Hardy trained with Eric Hibler in Pittsburgh Fight Club. Edgerton, with his co-actor, trained six or seven hours a day intensely. He focused mainly on stretching, strength, and conditioning. The collective experience helped the actor to overcome the unfamiliarity of the sport. He also communicated constantly with real-life MMA figures who worked in the film while filming. From fights to massive weight-lifting, Edgerton put in maximum effort to master the nuances of mixed martial arts for the betterment of his performance.