After losing out to eventual Bellator 145-pound champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in the finals of last year’s featherweight tournament, Justin “Silverback” Wilcox rebounded this past March with a unanimous decision win over Jason Fischer.
Wilcox feels that a big key to his win over Fischer was the fact the fight was at lightweight and he was able to keep his weight under control more than he had in previous fights at featherweight.
“I kind of knew that I was going to be going down to 145 (after the Fischer fight), so it wasn’t a hard cut because I was walking around at 165 compared to when I was fighting at 155 before and was walking around at 170,” Wilcox told MMAWeekly.com.
“It’s real easy for me to gain muscle mass, and it seems like I pass a weight room and I gain size, so I’ve gone back to way I used to college with a lot of grinding cardio and running and things like that.”
While he is happy to have gotten the win against Fischer, Wilcox still feels he’s not lived up to the potential that had him at one time as one of the best prospects in MMA.
“Looking back on not only that fight, but all my fights in Bellator, I just don’t think I’ve put together my game to where it was at when I first started fighting like in Strikeforce,” he said. “I really want to get back to that frame of mind and have fights where I can really show fans what I can do overall.”
Wilcox (14-6, 1NC) will look to pick up his second straight win when he takes on former 145-pound champion Daniel Straus (22-5) at Bellator 127 this Friday night in Temecula, Calif.
“I’m just going to have to be more of a grinder than he is,” said Wilcox of Straus. “He prides himself on his ability to grind opponents out, and I do too, so I have to go out there and break his will to win.
“That’s what grinders do – that’s what wrestlers do – we want to get in your face and break you.”
For Wilcox, defeating Straus will give him exactly what he wants: to be placed one step closer to fighting for the Bellator featherweight championship.
“I think it can put me up there for a title shot,” said Wilcox. “(Straus) was up there and so I’m looking to take that real estate so I’ll be looked at.”