Following his loss to Rick Hawn at Bellator 35 in March of last year, Jim Wallhead did some tweaking and has since won back-to-back bouts, earning himself a place in this season’s welterweight tournament.
“I changed my mindset a little bit,” said Wallhead. “I stopped putting as much pressure on myself. As far as training and stuff like that, no, I didn’t make any big changes to that.
“I enjoy the whole journey a lot more. I was just drained from stressing about stuff, and now I’m really relaxed and I feel like a whole new guy. Changing my mindset has helped massively.”
While Wallhead didn’t make any major alterations to how he prepares for a fight, some changes in his coaching have helped him embrace training again.
“What it is, I’ve become a student again,” he said. “Instead of teaching my own guys and running my own camp, I’ve become a student again and I’m looking forward to learning every day of the week and I’m feeling the benefits of it.”
Wallhead’s confidence is also running high thanks to his two recent wins over a pair of battle-tested veterans in Frank Trigg and Joey Villasenor.
“It’s certainly given me more belief in my abilities, that if I turn up, I can go in there and perform with the best of them,” Wallhead told MMAWeekly.com.
Wallhead’s hoping everything he has going for him will translate into advancing beyond the tournament’s first round at Bellator 74 this Friday in Atlantic City, N.J., when he takes on Lyman Good.
“I feel I can compete in every area of this fight,” said Wallhead. “And that’s what I need to do, just mix it up and have an MMA fight. Wherever I feel I’m getting the best success, I’ll stick with it.
“He’s just as good at everything as I am. Guys are constantly evolving from fight to fight, so I can’t think of anywhere I’ll be able to dominate, so I’ve just got to be open-minded and just see how I feel in the fight.”
Not only could a win over Good advance Wallhead to the semifinals, it could act as a coming out party for one of the sport’s top rising welterweights.
“I’ll tell you, if I do as well as I think I can in this fight, I’ll open a lot of peoples’ eyes and get them talking about me,” said Wallhead. “I want to show people that I’m a good all-around fighter and just go on from there. My goal is to win this fight Friday night and then go on to win the whole tournament.”
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more Bellator news and updates.