While he’s still very much the same person as before, the way people look at Ryan Jimmo since he claimed the MFC light heavyweight title in February has altered.
As Jimmo told MMAWeekly.com, “Having the championship belt has certainly changed a lot in how people perceive me.
“Instead of just being a fighter that’s on a good streak, now I’m a champion, so it does bolster some extra importance. The extra support has been very welcomed.”
Jimmo himself has experienced a boost in some areas, while maintaining the same attitude he had prior to winning the title in others.
“Usually when you become a champion, it boosts your confidence, and that certainly has taken place,” he said. “On the other side of the coin, I’m trying to forget a little bit. Trying to just stay hungry and not think I’m a champion and that I still have to earn my keep.”
Having won an impressive 14 fights in a row, Jimmo will look to add to his streak and defend his title for the first time live on HDNet on Friday at MFC 29 at Cesars in Windsor, Ontario.
“I’m feeling really good,” stated Jimmo. “I’m in better shape than I was last time. I’m just looking forward to getting into ‘The Ring.’”
“The Ring” Jimmo mentioned will be the MFC’s newly dubbed circular cage to be used in place of their normal square roped ring, which is required by the Ontario Athletic Commission.
The new circular cage, along with the MFC’s first venture to Cesars, marks a night of debuts in which Jimmo was to have defended his title against top contender Emanuel Newton. However, Newton has had to drop out of the fight and has since been replaced by Zak Cummings.
“I was a little disappointed to not face Emanuel again,” admitted Jimmo. “On the other side of the coin, I take it as it goes.
“They’re very similar fighters. They’re both, I think, wrestling-based fighters with rudimentary stand-up. Zak’s a lefty, so I think that’s the only real change.”
In his title win over Dwayne Lewis, Jimmo was able to control the striking game, and when the fight went to the ground, he was able to seize the advantage there, which is also his intention on April 8.
“I’m certainly going to try to keep it standing with Zak,” said Jimmo. “He has a wrestling background, so I think he’s going to try to take it to the mat and gain some top control.
“I’m a good wrestler too, so if he wants to turn it into a wrestling match, I’ll beat him there as well.”
Should Jimmo successfully defend his title, he’ll be looking to return to the promotion later this year for his follow-up defense.
“I have two more fights on my MFC contract and then we’ll re-evaluate our options,” commented Jimmo. “Our next fight would probably be Sept. 30, and then we’ll see what comes after there.”
While he’s gone from just another top fighter to a champion, Jimmo has maintained consistency in his outlook. It’s that same consistency with his winning ways he hopes to keep going on April 8.
“Come see the show and watch me beat up Zak Cummings,” he said in closing. “I’m looking to capitalize on the big skill differential between Zak and I, open up my stand-up and open some eyes in that area.”