Following his second two-year layoff in recent times, former King of the Cage welterweight champion Aaron “Slam” Wetherspoon is ready to return to fighting in a new weight class and with added skills.
“What (the time off) allowed me to do was really train,” said Wetherspoon. “When you’re training to fight someone, you’re not getting better; you’re just really training for that person. So this allowed me to slow things down so I can train.
“I came from a bodybuilding background, so I was pretty much a good athlete and I was staying in shape, but I didn’t really have the tools at the time to call myself a professional fighter. When I won the KOTC title, I was still pretty green and wouldn’t consider myself a professional fighter at that time.”
Wetherspoon also feels the move down in weight has helped him become more the fighter he wants to be.
“I was fighting at welterweight and I’m finally getting back to my natural weight class at featherweight. The only reason I stayed at welterweight because I had the title,” he said.
“I feel a lot more comfortable. I’m at my natural weight and I’m faster, I can move a lot better.”
Having said that, when comparing the fighter he is now to when he held the KOTC title, Wetherspoon said, “I’m much, much different.
“I think that my skills are catching up to my conditioning and athleticism. I think I survived a lot off of my athleticism and my work ethic. I’ve been able to apply my skills and I’m looking forward to displaying them for this upcoming fight.”
As Wetherspoon (8-4) mentioned, he will be making his return to fighting on Friday, Oct. 25, at BAMMA USA: Badbeat 11 in Commerce, Calif., against up-and-comer Trace Grey (3-1).
“Trace is very aggressive and I think he’s going to bring the fight,” said Wetherspoon. “We’ll see what happens when I put hands on him. It’s just basically me going out and establishing the tone of the fight, and that’s what I look forward to doing.
“I’m a lot more diverse in what I’m able to do now; so wherever the fight goes, I’ll be prepared for it.”
Having seen many of his former contemporaries move on to the UFC in recent years, Wetherspoon told MMAWeekly.com that with the fighter he’s become now, he doesn’t see himself far behind them when it comes to making that next step in his career.
“Now it’s about getting opportunities and I think the UFC is right in my sights,” he said. “I feel I can be one of the top 145-pound fighters in the world. I’ve just got to go out there and show it.”