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BAMMA 8 interview: Jim Wallhead talks about upcoming fight against MMA veteran Joey Villasenor

After coming in on short notice and defeating an MMA legend in Frank Trigg, Jim “Judo” Wallhead got everyone’s attention at BAMMA 7. Born in Loughborough, Wallhead has fought for a number of organisations, but is truly making his name in the United Kingdom now that he is fighting at BAMMA. Wallhead returns at BAMMA 8 against Greg Jackson trained Joey Villasenor in a bout that personifies the phrase “styles makes fights”. During an interview with Wallhead, we spoke about the fight with Trigg, Villasenor and a potential fight with new BAMMA signee Nate Marquardt.

How’s training gone for this fight Jimmy?

Yeah it’s gone great. I’ve had some time to prepare for this one as the last one was on short notice. It’s been nice to have the full camp and I definitely feel a lot fitter. I’m really looking forward to the fight.

Obviously you came in at short notice last time, but you delivered pretty much a master class. What were your thoughts during the fight, and after the fight when people were going crazy?

It was the biggest win of my career so far. Going into the fight my mind-set was, this was a good opportunity that I can’t really let pass by. You don’t really get these sort of shots every day, so I took the fight and gave it my best. Obviously, it paid off. Afterwards, it was a bit surreal. I feel like it put me on the map.
Hard-core fans know who I am, but now more of the general public know who I am. It’s definitely the best win of my career.

Have you noticed an outpour of people recognising you after that win?

A few people have approached me at shows and congratulated me and stuff. General MMA fans come up to me and say nice things now and again. People in my local area who have never seen me fight or haven’t seen me fight for a very long time were showing me a lot of support.

You’re fighting Joey Villasenor at BAMMA 8. How much do you know about him as a fighter?

I know quite a bit about him. I think he’s a tougher fight than Trigg and is definitely a step up in competition. He has knockout power in both hands and likes to double up on his jab. According to him, he likes to throw kicks a lot more at welterweight. He’s got good defensive and offensive wrestling and is a black belt in jiu-jitsu.
He fought Jacare in MMA and although he lost the fight, he didn’t get submitted which a lot of fighters have so it shows his quality as a fighter.
Obviously, I have to take a fight one at a time, but these are the type of fighters I want. I want to face the toughest fighters possible and I want to be challenged all the time. This is why I train so hard – to test myself.

With both you and Nate Marquardt in the Welterweight division of BAMMA, with a win over Villasenor, you could be potentially fighting Marquardt in 2012. Is that a thought that’s crossed your mind?

It’s definitely come across my mind. I’m not hunting for anyone and I’m not calling anyone out, but if BAMMA were to offer me that fight I’d take it. He’d be a favourite; the man is an absolute beast. However, at the end of the day it’s a test.

How do you see the fight ending on the night?

I honestly don’t know. I’m putting a plan together in my head of what I have to do to win. All I know is that he has a good chin and that he hits hard. I’m not very confident that I’m going to knock him out, but I’m going to hit him hard and cause some damage.  I feel like I could ground and pound him, submit him or it could even be a decision. I honestly don’t know.

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