Following his release from the UFC in 2012, bantamweight Walel “The Gazelle” Watson has had ups and downs, but with his most recent win this past May, he has returned to form.
Looking back on his victory over William Joplin at Titan FC 28, Watson feels he got back to what he does back.
“I went in there and was able to display my stand-up, my anti-wrestling and my new love for jiu-jitsu,” said Watson. “I have all sorts of new weapons from new positions. I got the results that I wanted at the end of the day.
“It was a good, hard fight from Joplin. He wasn’t a punk. He went in there, put on a show for himself too. It was a war, but at the end of the day, I got my hand raised.”
It’s his jiu-jitsu base that Watson feels has always been his strongest point, even if he hasn’t always treated it as such.
“That was like my first love when I started MMA, but then I got that knockout in my UFC debut and just focused on my stand-up and kind of forgot about my jiu-jitsu,” Watson told MMAWeekly.com.
“Jiu-jitsu got me to where I was at, so for me to put it aside was really stupid on my behalf and I paid for it. But now I’m back doing what I’m supposed be doing and I feel unstoppable.”
Watson (12-7) will seek to pick up his second straight win when he returns to Titan FC on Sept. 26 in Cedar Park, Texas, against undefeated prospect Anthony Gutierrez (5-0).
“I’ve got to go out there and be me and be the aggressor,” said Watson. “I know (Gutierrez) is aggressive too and likes to come out and impose his will. I like to impose my will, so it’s going to be a matter of who comes out first and does what they’re supposed to do, and I believe that’s going to be me.”
Even though he has had four times as many bouts as Gutierrez has had, Watson is keen on not falling into the trap of underestimating his opponent.
“If I think for one minute just because I’ve fought higher level competition that I’m better with him and go out with a lackluster attitude, I’m going to pay for it,” said Watson. “I’ve got to respect him like he’s the champ of the world and that’s how I’m treating him.
“At the end of the day, I believe he’s got nothing for me, but I’ve got to treat him with utmost respect and have my head on my shoulders and be on my toes.”
Moving forward, Watson hopes a win on Sept. 26 will be the springboard that launches him back up to the biggest stage of MMA.
“I hope it gets me back into the UFC,” he said. “If not, then I’ll just focus on my next fight. I want to fight whoever the best guys are that get put in front of me. Whoever it is, I’ll be ready for it.”