After picking up an impressive Contender Series win over Gregory Rodrigues (who has since made it to the UFC and has a win of his own) – Jordan Williams got the UFC contract he had been so close to so many times. However, his first shot at the big show didn’t quite go his way. A short notice fight on Fight Island in October resulted in a decision loss to Nassourdine Imavov.
While the contract was a long time in the making, Williams points out, the seeds for his debut loss had actually been brewing for a while as well.
“I broke my knee before the Gregory Rodrigues fight, it was an avulsion fracture,” Williams explained regarding his health going into that fight. “So a tendon broke off and took a piece of bone with it.”
It wasn’t the first time that Williams had fought through a tough injury and it wouldn’t be the last. Dana White and gang offered him the quick turnaround of fighting Imavov just weeks later, and he quickly accepted. After all, for plenty of amateur and earlier professional fights in the past, he had dealt with injuries. This loss to Imavov taught him that doing that was simply no longer an option for him.
“I can’t go into fights with injuries like that. And that’s the big takeaway – I’m with the big boys now,” he said. “I was a little bit humbled in my last fight.”
And when you’re fighting at the highest level against ‘the big boys’ you need to be at your absolute best. While he could get by without a 100% training camp again some of the regional talent he had faced, Imavov showed him he needs more than that.
“These boys mean business and I came in there for a 17-day notice fight and I was dealing with a broken knee. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t train at my full potential,” he admitted. “In the Nassourdine [Imavov] fight I felt like my gas tank really wasn’t fully prepared, and just wrestling. I wasn’t able to wrestle for months.
Now with his first truly healthy training camp for a UFC fight, Williams feels like he’s ready to go in there and pick up a big victory. Standing across from him and his chance at his first UFC win at UFC Vegas 32 is fan-favorite Mickey Gall.
“I feel like this one is going to be a knockout. I feel like I’ll clip him in the first and finish him in the second,” he predicted.
You can catch Williams take on Gall as part of the prelims on this weekend’s UFC Vegas 32 on ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 32:23.