To prep for his role as a mixed martial artist in Warrior, star Joel Edgerton spent three weeks at Greg Jackson's famed MMA training camp in Albuquerque, NM. While he didn't mix it up in the ring with the likes of Georges St-Pierre or Shane Carwin (both top UFC competitors and members of Jackson's team), he did adhere to the same training routine the pros use.
"You're up at seven in the morning," Jackson says. "You head to the gym. You've got your first class at 9:30. In the afternoon, there's strength and conditioning." Equally important was training the mind. Edgerton had to tackle one of Jackson's most daunting challenges—"The Hill of Tears"—a run up a steep 8,000-foot incline in the sweltering desert heat. "It was like 104°, but Joel ran it really hard," Jackson says. "He threw up—but he ran it really hard."
Edgerton achieved his pugilist look through a combination of weight training and traditional MMA techniques. He had an athletic build when he arrived, but as the weeks passed, his body took on a leaner appearance to reflect his character's personal fighting style.
And even though his time at Jackson's camp was short, the actor picked up enough from their marathon training sessions to stay true to the sport onscreen. "He was a real martial artist in the sense that he was an all-around guy," Jackson says. "He did well with the grappling, the striking, with everything, really. He was an actual mixed martial artist, which was pretty cool."