Fort Lauderdale, FL — After falling just short in two consecutive PFL seasons at lightweight, Long Island’s Chris Wade dropped to featherweight — and now finds himself in his first championship final.
At the PFL 2021 World Championship on Wednesday, Wade (20-6) will face the daunting Movlid Khaybulaev with a million dollars on the line. Yet despite the high stakes, the feeling ahead of the fight hasn’t changed for Wade.
“I feel no different than I felt going into the Bubba [Jenkins] fight,” said Wade, in reference to his semifinal bout this year. “I feel confident in how hard I’ve worked to manifest this moment and this opportunity. And I think that through all the shortcomings I’ve had at 55, almost being there, and coming back from that, I’ve become a stronger, more dedicated, and a tougher fighter overall.”
Wade is going into this fight with “extreme confidence,” he added. One key to his success at 145lbs? He’s turned a weakness into a strength.
When Wade first moved down to 145lbs, he said during the PFL 2021 World Championship media day on Monday, many felt the weight cut would get the better of him. “They felt the weight cut was going to make me have no gas in the fight,” he noted — but those critics overlooked his wrestling background. Wade has been cutting weight a long time, and believes that the drop in weight “turned my weakness at 55, which was my cardio late in fights, into my strength. I spun my weakness and I made it one of my best attributes, and I’m proud of that.”
That could be key heading into what Wade admits is “absolutely the biggest moment of my career.”
Wade also touched on the PFL’s place in Mixed Martial Arts as a whole, opining that “I truly believe that the PFL is the #2 fight organization in the world right now. That’s no disrespect to us— I say us because I believe in the PFL and I always have— it’s just that the UFC has been around longer, they have the name, the notoriety, they’re 25, 30 years running.”
Despite the longevity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, “we’re working diligently to catch them, and I think that we will. I think it’s time to move past some of that stuff. This is where I want to be, this is where I want to make my legacy, in the PFL. I believe in their format, I believe in the opportunity that they give fighters, so I’m just very happy to be in this moment.”
Watch the full PFL 2021 World Championship media day appearance from Chris Wade above. More coverage can be found below. The event takes place this Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Hollywood, FL.