Justin Wetzell (5-1) could not be coming into the sport of mixed martial arts at a better time. With a 10-0 amateur career and coming off his promotional debut with Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) with a 27-second knock out in the first round at LFA 79, he is coming on the scene with more than luck.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) November 23, 2019
MMA today requires a lot of training and evolution. For years, the sport was always referenced as one of the fastest-growing sports as far as non-traditional sports go and are probably at the highest point it has ever been. Wetzell knows to stay relevant in the space of MMA being active matters a lot, but so does evolution as a martial artist. “My first four fights were all decisions,” Wetzell told the Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour podcast about the beginning of his pro career. However, something changed in his last two fights, before that Wetzell said he was content to use his wrestling.
“I would just kind of use my wrestling to like hold people down and my mentality almost would be, just you know; I keep them down, don’t get submitted, I’m going to win the round,” Wetzell said of the system he was using. He added, “Do it again, win the round and ultimately win the fight.” However, realizing training altitude with the Elevation Fight team with the likes of Cory Sandhagen, and Miguel Perez, Wetzell credits them for helping him evolve as a fighter.
Wetzell says they helped him a lot as far as understanding the “whole universe of striking.” He said, “Learning how to have your feet underneath you when you move, switching stances. I think switching stances is going to be the biggest thing I think in the coming decade with MMA.” With two first-round finishes in his last two fights, the LFA 79 one being his latest, Wetzell is making a case for him being the next big thing in MMA at 135-pound division.
Fighting is a young man’s game and with that in mind, being a prospect with a four-fight win streak certainly puts Wetzell is in a good place for the coming year. LFA has a vacant 135-pound title he would like to fight for but his record and recent finishes could also put him on Dana White’s Contender Series list. “In a perfect world, I’d possibly hold out till the summer and get on the Contender Series, Wetzell said of his future, “ but you know that’s all the way till summer and a big part of this game too is kind of staying active.”
Sounds like a nice plan from Wetzell, what do you think?
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel