by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
Jimmy Wallhead is probably the best unsigned prospect in the U.K. at the moment. A strong showing at all levels of The Ultimate Fighter 9 selection stage led to him being flown stateside for assessments and medicals before returning home, awaiting good news… it never came. He was deemed too experienced for the show.
“I was there when Dre (Andre Winner) got the call that he was in, and I was pumped thinking ‘here it comes’… then I was told that I was ‘too experienced’ for the show,” explains the exasperated welterweight.
Since then he has had to contend with injuries, opponent pullouts, and a host of other problems that has prevented him from staying as active as he would have liked.
“What do I do? What can I do? There has been stages where I have let it get to me, it’s affected my training and I have been really depressed, like not getting into The Ultimate Fighter and things, and I think, shall I stick with it and hopefully it will pay off?” he explains to MMAWeekly.com, adding that he will need to seriously consider his future if things don’t improve.
“I have not put a time limit on it yet, but sooner or later I am going to have to if things don’t improve. By next year if I don’t sense something coming from somewhere I am going to have to go into more of a coaching role in order to provide for my family.”
Wallhead’s upcoming fight against Che Mills at “Knuckle-up at the Manor” on Nov. 1 is representative of the last challenge on the U.K. scene. There literally isn’t anyone he can face of similar calibre at the moment. Everyone else is either in the UFC, a teammate or in other places. He is in desperate need of international fights and more importantly a place to call home.
“At one point I even thought the fight with Che wasn’t going to go ahead, just purely for financial reasons, but people have thankfully lent me money to get me through,” he reveals.
“I really like Che, he is a really nice guy. I spent some time with him out in Vegas at the trials and that. Recently he has been blowing a bit cold; he’s not been doing himself justice. His last couple of performances haven’t been to the standard that I know he’d want, but I am not taking it that he will turn up to fight me like he has at his last couple of fights,” he explains. “He is a very dangerous fighter, a very good fighter, if he rolls up like he fought (Marius) Zaromskis, it’s going to be a fun, but long, hard night”
To further complicate matters for “Judo Jim,” the U.K. mixed martial arts landscape is relatively barren. There are shows that are running, but none have really stepped into the cavity once occupied by Cage Rage and Cage Warriors. What are his options?
Domestically there is little for him. He understands the situation the UFC are in at the moment with a wealth of talent, but he still harbours ambitions of touching down in the Octagon.
“(UFC U.K. president) Marshall Zelaznik and guys like that have been fantastic with me, but it’s not only up to them. I know they are cutting a lot of guys and stuff, now they give you that one fight, don’t they? And if you don’t do well then they cut you. So at least give me that one opportunity, that’s all that I want you know? That one opportunity in there and give me a chance to build on it,” he implores.
Stylistically, Wallhead’s suffocating ground game would work well within the confines of a cage and his boxing has come on so much that it is hard to compare his stand-up now to what it was a few years ago. If the UFC can’t find a home for him at the moment, he is looking to find his way into Strikeforce, Dream, or Sengoku.
I can almost see his CV now…
Welterweight fighter, 17-5-0 record with only one loss since 2007, currently riding a five-fight win streak, will travel for work.