As if things haven’t been difficult enough for MMA fighters and the world as a whole due to the novel coronavirus, for middleweight Jordan Williams, things have been further complicated due to injury.
Coming off a loss in July of last year to Ramazan Kuramagomedov at Contender Series 2019, Williams has had to sit on the sidelines dealing with cancellations, injuries, and fight card shuffles.
“I had a fight lined up in August and I injured my knee, so they had to pull me out of the August fight,” Williams told MMAWeekly.com. “Then they rescheduled that fight for October against Jordan Rice, then he gets called up to the UFC, and that left me opponent-less, so they shuffled me up and now I’m fighting Tuesday.
“With the UFC, when something happens, they’re the best about making something else happen and follow through with fights, so I wasn’t really worried about getting a fight.”
Issues aside, Williams feels like he’s improved this past year in an effort to make sure what happened to him in his fight with Kuramagomedov doesn’t happen again.
“I feel like I know what I need to do,” said Williams. “I know what I need to change. I know I need to keep my back off the cage. That’s what I messed up last time (against Kuramagomedov).
“I didn’t let him keep me against the cage too long, but he did keep me up against the cage. I need to make sure I stuff those takedowns. I need more lateral movement to make sure that I’m not receiving any extra damage while I’m dishing out my own. Those are main points I picked up from my last fight.”
On Tuesday, Williams (8-3) will look to rebound when he faces Gregory Rodrigues (7-2) in the middleweight main event of Dana White’s Contender Series 2020: Week 7.
“He has some good wins,” Williams said of Rodrigues. “He’s a lot stronger opponent. He’s tall, we have the same reach, but he’s a very forward, aggressive fighter. He’s got multiple submissions on the ground.
“Once you start tagging this guy, he likes to wrestle and put you up against the cage, and like I said before, I need to make sure I don’t keep my back on the cage, circle around more, be the more active fighter, and use my cardio in this fight.”
While Williams knows getting the win on Tuesday night is the most important thing, he also admits that he thinks about the possibility of earning a UFC contract and how that will affect his career going forward.
“You really need to set up mentally where you’re going with this, your future, and what you really want out of it,” said Williams. “At times that does weigh a lot heavier, and you need to slow down and just focus on this win.
“What it really comes down to: I need to be thinking about getting that contract, getting my hand raised, and what I’m going to do next from here. Those are always thoughts on my mind, but I do believe that you can’t skip being in the moment. I think those are both avenues you have to travel down as a fighter to get to your true destination of success.”