by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It’s been a long couple of years for Joey Villasenor, but the former EliteXC middleweight is ready to get back to the business of fighting and put contract negotiations behind him.
This week, Villasenor signed a new four-fight deal with Strikeforce, which will place the Jackson’s Team fighter into the middleweight class, the deepest division in the promotion.
“I signed a multi-fight contract and it’s exciting,” Villasenor told MMAWeekly Radio after signing the new deal. “I’m just glad that it’s all over with. There was some other competitors in there that were trying to get my services and Strikeforce rose to the occasion and they really fought for me. Now I get the opportunity to show them thanks by going and fighting for them.”
Villasenor admitted that following the dismantling of EliteXC he had to be much more careful making his next deal, but now that it’s all said and done he’s happy with his choice.
“It feels good to finally have a home, and it feels good to finally be able to focus and know where my home is,” he commented.
Now it’s back to the fight game for Villasenor, who last competed in June 2009 in a split decision win over Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, his fourth win in a row. The New Mexico based fighter admits nothing has been signed yet, but he’s hoping to finalize his return fight very soon.
“We’re targeting March. I know Strikeforce after this event next Saturday is targeting March sometime, so their next Showtime gig is something that we’re targeting,” Villasenor said. “At least it’s not as long of a layoff as that year was after the Baroni fight. I’ve been in an unfortunate situation along with a couple of other athletes, but it’s part of business and it shows its ugly head every once in a while, but I’ve been training hard.”
That training will soon include UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who is headed to New Mexico to work with Team Greg Jackson along with Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi, who is also expected to begin working with the team.
As far as opponents, Benji Radach was a possibility, but the former UFC fighter suffered another injury recently that’s going to keep him out of action for longer than expected. Villasenor says he is welcoming all challengers, and hopes to gun for a title shot fairly soon as well.
“Whoever Strikeforce wants to put in front of me,” he stated. “Some of these athletes either have fights coming up or have fights scheduled. CBS of course we’re anticipating Jake Shields and Dan Henderson to get with it. I’m definitely in contention for a shot, but I definitely want a fight or two to get back into a rhythm, and then make a run for the title.”
Look for Villasenor’s next fight to be named sometime in the coming weeks as Strikeforce starts to work on their next Showtime broadcast rumored for March.