September 11, 2010

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com Joey Villasenor is facing a last minute opponent change at Saturday night’s Shark Fights pay-per-view event in Amarillo, Texas.

He was originally slated to face UFC veteran Drew McFedries, but a last minute swap finds him stepping in with Danillo Villefort instead.

It’s no matter, Villasenor is just thankful to be fighting, period. Despite being under contract with Strikeforce, he has had only two bouts in the past two and a half years. That’s just not enough, so Strikeforce gave him permission to take a bout with Shark Fights.

“I think that sometimes (as fighters) we’re just looked at as commodities and we sell shows and stuff and we’re a dime a dozen to a business sometimes,” said Villasenor, venting. “What people don’t realize is that this is our full time job. When I get paid, I have to pay three people. I have to pay two of my coaches and a manager and I take home what’s left.

“It’s really tough to take care of your bills and take care of the people that are taking care of you and pursue fighting.
It’s been real frustrating, but at the same time I gotta keep in perspective that this is sports and these types of things happen.”

Villasenor is a known fighter with an exciting style, but he’s fallen into a journeyman’s role, where the paydays are good, but not good enough to fight an average of once per year.

“I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I was making a million dollars a fight,” he declared.
“I appreciate Strikeforce. They’ve heard me and my manager out many times about wanting to be active. And for them to say go ahead (and fight for Shark Fights), it relieves a lot of stress and makes me happy.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that Villasenor has abandoned his goals in Strikeforce. His focus is only temporarily shifted to Villefort. When he’s done after Saturday night’s Shark Fights bout, he still has goals in mind under the Strikeforce banner.

Tops on the list is Strikeforce’s oft talked about middleweight tournament to declare a top contender to current champion Renaldo “Jacare” Souza.

“I would love to be in that tournament. When I look at (my fight with Jacare) and him being the champ now… He’s the champ for a reason. He beat me fair and square, but I’d love the opportunity to fight him again. To have the opportunity to fight in the tournament to be the number one contender, that’d be great.”

And whether he’s granted a slot in the tournament or not, Villasenor still has another fight mapped out as part of the remaining agenda for 2010.

“A goal I set for this year is three fights for this year. If I can do that, I’m going to be riding great momentum.”