A conversation with Merseyside’s first BJJ black belt – Paul Rimmer

Paul Rimmer, widely regarded as one of the top trainers in the UK and head coach of Next Generation MMA Liverpool, talks about handling Covid at his gym, his favorite submission and fighting a 300 lb. wrestler.

Rimmer was the first BJJ black belt from Merseyside, so he has been in the game for quite some time. Some of the UK’s best fighters come out of this gym in Liverpool, such as Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann, and Chris Fishgold, who both have fought in the UFC. Fishgold is also a coach at the gym. Next Generation MMA Liverpool offers classes in MMA, Kids’ MMA, BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), Muay Thai Boxing, and Boxing.

Although a black belt in BJJ, Rimmer also has a varied background in other martial arts. Starting from the age of five, he studied judo and traditional Jiu Jitsu, and then got into sub grappling in 1998 and BJJ in 2002. He earned his BJJ black belt in 2011 under Chris Brennan. A pure passion for the need to train, and a lack of gyms in surrounding areas, lead Rimmer and his training partner to open their own gym in 2002 – and Rimmer has coached ever since. He has also dabbled in Muay Thai and other traditional martial arts.

Although a coach, Paul competed in the past, but stopped in 2003.

“I competed a few times in America in 2002 and 2003,” he said. “I haven’t competed since. I think the one that stood out the most was competing against a 300-pound state wrestling champ and being mounted by him.”

I’m glad to say I’m fortunate enough to never have been in that position.

With Next Generation re-opening, I asked him about Covid, along with getting a Covid certificate and re-funding memberships of those who supported the gym while they couldn’t train. It’s been a tough roll.

“We are dealing with it best we can with implemented safety protocols, social distancing, etc,” he said.

When asked how he feels about the high-level fighters coming out of his gym, he added: “It makes me very happy that people can achieve their goals with us.”

The proof is in the pudding. Rimmer puts a lot of hard work and time into his students and the results show it in students such as Molly McCann.

An absolute savage on the mats, Rimmer revealed his favorite submission: “I like the arm triangle a lot. I think it’s one of the most effective submissions. Most of my students will know me for my north south choke, which has been my most used submission over the years.”

To sign up to Next Generation MMA Liverpool, view their website. The first two weeks of membership for free for beginners.

Lucy Wynne

BJJ Purple Belt living in London, England. I began training BJJ back in 2017, when I was at university, and have trained ever since. #OSS Instagram: @journowynne

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