by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
‘The Worm’ Jamie Varner joined MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio Show recently to discuss his upcoming WEC 29 fight against Sherron Leggett. Varner is a UFC veteran who will be looking for his 13th professional win when he steps into the cage with Leggett this Saturday night.
After two fights in the Octagon, Varner’s status recently changed from ‘UFC fighter’ to ‘WEC fighter.’ Since the UFC is widely considered to be the Superbowl of mixed martial arts, what was it that persuaded Varner to agree to change organizations?
“Well, in this sport it’s hard to make money, so they offered me a little bit more money to go to the WEC and they told me that they’re looking for a real champion, a true champion…a real mixed martial artist and that’s why they came to me. They saw my potential, they saw what I can do.”
As a professional, Varner certainly has proven what he can do, garnering a 12-2 record with most of his wins coming during his stint in the Rage In The Cage promotion.
Since fighting in the Octagon Varner has had mixed results, but when one’s first UFC opponent is recent lightweight title contender Hermes Franca, a loss can come with little surprise. In his Octagon debut at UFC 62, Varner was caught in an armbar in the third round and eventually succumbed to the hold and tapped out.
It certainly isn’t all that surprising to see Franca win by submission, he’s a Jiu-Jitsu wiz, but what is surprising is seeing a UFC newcomer – in this case Varner – dominate a crafty veteran – in this case Franca – for the first 13 minutes of a fight. It seemed that Jamie had the recipe for beating Franca figured out before he ultimately succumbed to the composure and poise of the more experienced veteran.
Returning from his hard fought, but unsuccessful debut bout against Franca, Varner faced a game fighter in Jason Gilliam in Columbus, Ohio at UFC 68. With his first-time jitters now a distant memory, Varner passed on the favor of an Octagon debut submission loss to UFC newbie Gilliam by catching him in a rear naked choke in the first round of Jason’s first Octagon appearance.
Now though, Jamie’s thoughts are on Sherron Leggett and the night of August 5th. With Jamie’s UFC experience he should be able to forego any type of nerves he may otherwise feel and simply go into this fight ready for action.
“I’d say having been there, done that…having fought Hermes Franca who fought a real tough fight with Sean Sherk, I go into this WEC [fight] with 100% confidence that I’m going to dominate everybody that I come against,” Varner said.
Many fighters have particular motivations going into fights whether it be to prove a point to an organization or an opponent or to simply prove something to themselves, so what is motivating Varner to get in that cage and slug it out this time?
“You know what? I’m honestly just excited to get back in that ring and show the world what I can do. With Hermes Franca I was nervous, I had all of those anxiety issues and the jitters so I really shut down and then Jason Gilliam was just an easy opponent. He gave me his back. I wanted to stand and throw down with Jason Gilliam, but he didn’t want none of that, so I’m really looking forward to showing the world what I can do on my feet, on the ground, with my wrestling, with my transitions…I don’t think they’ve really gotten to see me,” Varner said.
So what is Varner’s prediction for August 5th?
“Sherron Leggett’s gonna go to sleep in the first round. He won’t make it to the second round.” And with a win does Jamie think he deserves a title shot? “Yeah. Richard Crunkilton’s gonna beat up Razor Rob and then I’m going to go beat up Richard Crunkilton. He’ll go to sleep too,” Jamie said.
“I will be the champion in the WEC. For sure…for sure,” Varner said.