What lightweight up-and-comer Robert Watley’s last three fights in common isn’t just the fact that he’s won them all, but that they’ve all been title fights.
Since April of 2016, Watley has won and defended a Shogun Fights belt and also claimed the XCC title in the 155-pound division. For Watley, championship bouts are the best way for him to secure the best challenges possible.
“For the last fights – all three title fights – has been the toughest opposition that I’ve faced,” Watley told MMAWeekly.com. “For me, fighting for a title signifies that you’re ready to step up and face the best that organization has to offer you.
“That’s how I try to model my whole career. I’ve always tried to ask for the best fighters in my career trajectory bracket; the best people available for the record I have. Holding multiple titles, you’re able to draw the best fighters in.”
Watley’s three title fights add to a seven-fight winning streak overall. This success stands in stark contrast to Watley’s last fight as an amateur and his first as a pro, both of which he lost.
“I was only training twice a week for that pro debut,” said Watley. “I think I completely underestimated the level of preparation it takes to be a successful professional.
“That’s when I had to put up or shut up and really decide if this is what I wanted to do as a career or if I was just going to be a hobby fighter. I had to kind of put the chips all in, roll the dice and really go for it.”
“I think (Moises) is definitely the most accomplished and most well-rounded opponent I have faced,” Watley said.
“I think the victor of this fight is going to be the one who keeps the other fighter guessing and is really going to be able to mesh the game of MMA as a whole. We’re going to have to dig deep into our tool boxes and stay a step ahead of the other person.”
While Watley has aspirations of where he’d like to take things after Friday’s bout, he is by no means looking past his opponent to greener pastures.
“Of course I have dreams and aspirations, but this is a very tough guy I have in front of me,” said Watley. “I really have to put my focus on him and can’t really think about anything else down the road until after I get in the cage and handle business with Thiago.”