After years of building himself on the local circuit and then as an undercard fighter for Strikeforce, James Terry is being given the opportunity to headline his first show for the promotion at Strikeforce Challengers 16 on June 24 in Spokane, Wash.
“It feels great and I’m really excited to be the main event,” Terry told MMAWeekly.com. “I feel it’s definitely well deserved. I’m 5-1 in Strikeforce, and my only loss was to one of the top welterweights in Tarec Saffiedine.
“The exposure for me is perfect timing. I’m going to be married this year, and I’m right on track with my personal life. There’s a lot of things going on beyond just fighting that are lining up correctly, and this is just one of them.”
According to Terry, his only loss in the promotion helped set the table for his recent success that has him winning three in a row, with two first round stoppages in his last two fights.
“I think that Saffiedine loss really helped me achieve that next level,” he said. “He exploited some things in my game; things that I obsessed over after the loss and really worked on.
“In these last three fights I’m a completely different fighter, and it’s shown with my performances that I’m a different level now.”
On June 24, Terry will face a fighter he’s had his eye on for some time, fellow streaking up-and-comer Caros Fodor.
“I’m really excited to fight Fodor, because I’ve wanted to fight him for a while,” said Terry. “My coach was leaning towards me fighting someone else, but I said I wanted to fight Fodor, and the Strikeforce guys came back and told me I would be fighting Fodor, so I feel like it’s meant to be.”
Terry feels he and Fodor have a stylistic match-up that could come down to a war of wills.
“I think what Caros does well can nullify the kind of style that I bring to the table, but at the same time, what I bring to the table can nullify what he does,” said Terry. “Stylistically each of us can eliminate what the other one wants to do, so it really comes down to (who can) implement their game.
“Who can go out there and do his thing; who is going to dictate the tempo is what this is going to come down to. I’m really confident that I’ll be able to do what I do better than he does.”
With fellow Challengers series fighters Tyron Woodley, Tarec Saffiedine, and Justin Wilcox having their opportunities to step up to the main Strikeforce show, Terry feels this could be the springboard he needs to join them.
“I think if I do my thing, my next fight will be in the big show,” he said. “I’ve fought some tough guys in and out of Strikeforce, and I think it’s time for me to go to the big show.
“I’d love to get on that September card before I get married in November and crack some heads before I go on my honeymoon.”
Having paid his dues, Terry continues to improve his position, both inside and outside the fight game.
“I want to thank my sponsors: BR Flooring, GFY Gear, San Jose Athletic Club, 5150 Fight Clothing, Bad Reputation Fight Clothing, KNOXX Gear, Celi Group Realty, Vision Quest Spine and Sport, Chris Shelton at the Morning Crane Healing Arts Center, Key Chiropractic and the SCORE Clinic,” he concluded.
“I’m going to be bringing it in the main event on June 24. I’m really excited for this fight and I hope you guys can check it out on Showtime. I’m going to put on a fantastic array of intensity.”