Walel Watson Speaks on Move to Featherweight
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 09.19.2013
He feels much faster and stronger not having to cut so much weight…
MMAjunkie recently spoke with MMA fighter Walel Watson. Watson is set to face Tom Niinimaki at the upcoming Cage 23 event. Watson also spoke about reinventing himself by moving up to featherweight. Below are some highlights.
Watson on how the cut to bantamweight hurt him in the UFC: "It's physical, and then from the physical came the mental. I was cutting a lot of weight. The weight was killing me. That's what messed me up mentally. I moved up to 145, and I was fast and super strong. I was able to get those finishes again. I just hit this last growth spurt when I hit 27, and I don't walk around the same weight I used to walk at anymore. When you're only 4 percent body fat, it's really hard to be cutting 35, 40 pounds."
Watson on his release from the UFC: "Luckily, I don't get broken really easily. Things happen in life, but it's a career. You're going to have your ups, you're going to have your downs. Unfortunately, those were my down moments right there, and they had to be in front of the world. But I'm strong-minded, and I just jumped right back in, and I'm ready to go."
Watson on his upcoming fight against Tom Niinimaki: "I'm super excited," Watson said. "Tom Niinimaki is the kind of opponent I want to test myself against at this weightclass before I get back in the UFC. He's a guy that's been running through his division. He's got a 10-fight winning streak. Nothing but respect for him. He's the champion of this show, and this is how I'm going to test myself and find out if I really belong at the next level – and I know I do. I'm going to go in there and show him what the next level is."
Watson on wanting to return to the UFC: "The goals never change. I still want to be No. 1 in the world. That never went away. I know I'll be back in the UFC after I get this 'W.' If it's not enough, then I'll do what I have to do. If they tell me I need three more wins, I'll do it. Whatever it takes to get in. My goal is to be No. 1, and I'm not going to let anything break that up."