by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Now is an interesting time in the career of Team Quest welterweight Chris Wilson.

After years of hard work and struggle, bouncing around various promotions, Wilson found stability and opportunity, leading him to the verge of nationwide recognition.

Impressive performances for the International Fight League’s Portland Wolfpack in 2006 led to a multi-fight contract with BodogFight, where he debuted with a submission victory over veteran Ray Steinbeiss in August.

After a few months off Wilson returns to further affirm his place as one of the sport’s top young welterweights at this weekend’s Sportfight event in Portland, Ore., against Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Derrick Noble.

“I like the idea of fighting Derrick,” proclaimed Wilson recently. “I feel he’s not the top of the food chain in the welterweight division, but he’s a solid fighter who can make you have a bad day if you make mistakes.

“I know he’s coming in, in great shape and hungry, so it should be a great fight. For myself, I feel like skill-wise I definitely have all the tools I need to beat him.”

For this fight Wilson will be returning to his home base of Portland, to a promotion that helped forge him into the fighter he is today, and he couldn’t be happier to be back.

“I love fighting in Portland,” he exclaimed. “It’s actually one of my favorite places to fight out of anywhere. The other thing about fighting back in Sportfight that I really like is that we’ll get to fight with Sportfight rules.

“Bodog has no elbows, but Sportfight has UFC rules, so I’m really excited for that. Just even elbows from the feet, from the clinch, those are tools that are, for me, tools that I never get to use. So it’s really nice to get that opportunity now.”

With BodogFight coming together with Sportfight for this weekend’s show, Wilson was asked how he feels about his move to the promotion this year after having found success in the IFL last year.

“Looking back, at the time, I took a risk in a way, because my contract with the IFL came up before my contract with Bodog was secured. So it was a little bit of a leap in faith and a little bit of trusting my market value at the time,” he said.

“But now when I look back, I definitely feel it was the right decision. Bodog has come through, not only financially, but they’ve also shown that they are a very fighter-centered organization, more so than lots of other organizations that say they are.

“Bodog actually spends the extra dollar. They work around your time schedule as a fighter to do their production stuff, the photo and video shoots, instead of forcing you to do things at certain times. It was just a really good experience, everyone was really professional, friendly, and I had a really good time up there (in Canada for the Steinbeiss fight).”

Should all go well and Wilson gets by Noble without any major problems, his future looks bright with a lot of prospective fights ahead of him.

“I’ve signed to a four-fight contract with Bodog, so I’ve got two more after this one,” he explained. “In the promotion, or out of the promotion, I would like to fight better and better opposition.”

And who would Chris feel is that better opposition?

“Pele (Jose Landi-Jons) I see being a possible future opponent. I read that somebody had said that me fighting Dan Hornbuckle would make sense. Obviously a rematch with Nick Thompson is possible in the future. So there are some guys in Bodog that I think would produce some spectacular fights.

“Even outside of Bodog, I would love the opportunity to fight Jake Shields or any of the other top welterweights.”

Wilson feels that at this point in his career, with all the work he’s put into it, that he has just as much chance as anyone of becoming the next top welterweight contender.

“I think that I’m competitive with anyone right now,” he stated. “I might be an underdog in a lot of the fights, but I think I can make a fight out of it.

“I think I have an excellent chance of winning a lot of the fights – especially the guys I just named, I think I can probably win all of those – but you’ve got to fight them to find out.”

As long as Wilson continues to perform well and win, he should get the opportunities he’s seeking. But first things first, this weekend’s Sportfight event in Portland is what’s affixed firmly on his radar.

“Sportfight has proven that it puts on spectacular matches,” exclaimed Wilson. “If you look at the card you know that great matches aren’t made by big names, great fights are made by great match-ups, and we’ve got a lot of great up-and-coming fighters and a lot of the top talent in the region (fighting), so there are a lot of great, electrifying fights on this card.”

“So, if you’re within travel range, it’s definitely worth seeing this card. I’d like to thank Clinch Gear, its Danny’s (Henderson) company; they’ve gotten behind us; and (Mike Dolce’s) StrengthCoachOnline.com.”