Two wins against one loss last year raised his record to 13-4 and placed him in a position to challenge for the vacant MFC 155-pound championship this year.
“It was a really good year for me and was probably my best year ever as far as big profile fights and the level of how I performed in fights,” said Southern. “I feel I performed really well, and my exposure went up, and I probably made a bigger name for myself more than I have any other year.
“Besides the (February) loss to (Jonatas) Noveas, which was one sort of mistake you could say, but the rest of the fight I dominated. The Mukai (Maromo) fight (in May) I came out and fought a perfect fight. The second fight with Noveas (in October) I could say was pretty close to a perfect fight. You can’t ask for much better than that.”
Southern will kick off 2014 with a MFC lightweight title fight against Tom Gallicchio (17-8) at MFC 39 on Friday in Edmonton.
It’s a fight that Southern has been lobbying for since he joined the MFC last year.
“Getting a chance to fight for the title is just an honor,” he said. “As soon as I signed with the MFC, my goal was to become champion. I didn’t want to just go in there, fight and give my best; I wanted to be the best guy in the division.
“That goal is right in front of me and now I’ve got to go out there and do my best against Tom and hopefully I’ll be the champ after the fight.”
As for facing Gallicchio, Southern told MMAWeekly.com that his opponent’s hardnosed style could make for one of the more entertaining fights of the night.
“Tom’s definitely a real gritty fighter,” said Southern. “He uses his striking to get in tight and then clinch up and fight from within the clinch. He’s one of those grinder types who are in your face your whole time and you have to really be prepared for that type of fight.
“I like to come forward too, so I think it will be both of us meeting in the middle and whichever guy imposes his will the most is the guy who is going to win.”
Taking the MFC title would be a great way to kick off 2014 for Southern, which could only be eclipsed by bringing major league MMA to his hometown for the first time ever.
“I would love to fight in my hometown of Saskatoon because MMA is supposed to be legal here this summer for the first time,” he said. “The MFC has mentioned some interest in coming here, whether or not that’s a possibility, who knows, but it would be a cool possibility if it was.”