Sometimes redemption can take years, but for former “Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” cast member Abe Wagner, it may have taken only a matter of seconds.
As Wagner himself puts it, his win over Tim Sylvia this past weekend at Titan FC 16 may be just the thing to right the minds of others about him.
“I think that if anything, it’s redemption for my performance on The Ultimate Fighter,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “Hopefully it goes a long way to setting the record straight to the kind of fighter I am.”
Wagner feels that the fight played out perfectly in its timing, as he explained, “If I would have knocked him out in 10 seconds, everybody would have said it was a lucky punch. If it would have taken 10 minutes, everyone would have said it was because he didn’t have any conditioning.
“We stood in there for a while and the outcome was the outcome and neither of those excuses could be used.”
After starting off 2010 on a low note, Wagner’s win at Titan FC was his second in a row and continues a catharsis that began after decidedly the worst loss of his career.
“Last year I guess I had a pretty bad fight in February and I took a lot of time off after to re-evaluate some things and get my head straight, and I guess I’d even say to find my love for the sport again,” he admitted.
“So when I came back and started training again three or four months later, I really enjoyed it and wanted to be there. I think it’s made all the difference.”
Wagner is also positive in the steps he’s taken to improve his fight game since TUF.
“I’m still working pretty diligently on my wrestling and my ground game,” he commented. “That got exposed like two years ago, and I think I’ve gone a long way towards shoring it up, but obviously it could always use improvement.
“I think in some of my past fights I fought stiff, just because my nerves were getting the best of me, but I’m trying to stay looser and that’s really paying off too.”
With a big televised win under his belt, Wagner expects to have his immediate future locked up in the coming weeks. As for his more long-term goals in the year, there’s just one place he wants to be.
“My general goal is to fight at the highest level I can, and obviously the end game is to fight in the UFC,” he concluded. “As far as what I want to impress on people; win or lose I just want to fight hard and display my skills and athletic ability.
“I want to thank my coaches and all my training partners at my gym, and also my sponsors: Clinch Gear, 8-Ball Nutrition and Tapout Pro. I think the fans should look for Abe Wagner in the UFC before the year is over.”