Pictured: Rob Wilkinson in motion in opposition to Israel Adesanya at UFC 221 (Supply: Huynh Nguyen/FNA)
Rob Wilkinson has needed to bide his time since his launch from the UFC again in 2018. With just one MMA bout to his title since, the Tasmanian has struggled to land matchups within the years following.
Wilkinson has spent his day out of competitors coaching and constructing on his recreation, and having fought Israel Adesanya within the present UFC middleweight champion’s promotional debut, he attracts confidence from having confronted one of the best fighter in his former weight class.
“It positively wasn’t my finest struggle, however taking a look at how nicely he’s completed in turning into the champion, it give me confidence preventing anybody else. I’ve fought one of the best man on this planet at that weight class, he’s one of the best MMA striker on this planet.”
After making his mild heavyweight debut in opposition to fellow UFC veteran Dylan Andrews in December 2019, Wilkinson returns to motion at Hex Struggle Collection 21 on April 9, when he faces Brazilian Daniel Almeida for the promotion’s mild heavyweight title.
Wilkinson believes he has taken his recreation to a different stage, and with a struggle booked eventually, he can’t wait to point out the MMA world what he has been engaged on.
“I’ve been just about been getting ready for a title struggle for six months now, so it’s one of the best form I’ve been in going right into a struggle.
“It’s in all probability probably the most excited I’ve been for a struggle, I simply can’t wait to get in there and present all the brand new expertise I’ve been engaged on, present how good I’m, and present that I belong again within the UFC.”
Wilkinson has largely held a grappling benefit in his fights up to now, however Almeida brings a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt to the desk, a reality that’s not misplaced on the 29-year-old and one which holds no worry.
“I’ve wished to struggle a Jiu Jitsu man for a very long time, everybody I appear to struggle is a striker. I’ve obtained good wrestling so I usually attempt to take them down and preserve them down, however I’ve had a couple of kickboxing bouts because the UFC, so I’ve been actually engaged on my putting and I’m excited to have the ability to show a few of these expertise that I’ve been engaged on in addition to my defensive wrestling if he does attempt to take me down.
“I’m more than pleased to go to the bottom with him, I don’t suppose he’s been submitted in MMA earlier than, so I’d like to get that notch below my belt. Could even assist get me as much as my brown belt if I can submit him, however I see myself knocking him out positively.”
With the final of his 9 profession wins coming by means of head kick knockout, Almeida could nicely deliver an improved putting arsenal to the struggle on April 9. Wilkinson nevertheless, is greater than up for the problem, whichever approach the struggle goes.
“Apparently he (Almeida) mentioned he desires to strike with me, I believe his final struggle he received by head kick knockout, when folks begin knocking folks out they get a bit excited and suppose they’ve obtained good putting. I’ve obtained a little bit of top and attain benefit on him, so as soon as I begin tagging him and he’s swinging and lacking at me, he’ll look to get it to the bottom the place he feels a bit extra snug.”
“I see myself controlling the struggle, I don’t see him having the ability to take me down. I’ll be controlling with my putting, I’m a very good wrestler so I’m glad to take him down, floor and pound and even search for a submission there. I wish to placed on a very good efficiency and actually dominate this struggle. I’d prefer it to go previous the primary spherical, as I haven’t fought in a very long time and I’m seeking to get a little bit of time within the cage to really feel it out. However, I see it being a primary or second spherical end.”
Regardless of a stern check forward of him in Almeida, Wilkinson can be wanting on the larger image. An image that sees him not solely returning to the massive time, however mixing it with one of the best fighters on this planet.
“I’m coaching not only for Daniel Almeida, I’m coaching not simply to be Hex champion, not simply to be again within the UFC, I’m coaching to be prime 10 within the UFC. I’m able to compete with the highest 10 guys.
“I’m 29-years-old now and I wish to take advantage of out of the following 5 or 6 years, which I believe might be my finest years. In my early-30s I wish to make a run in direction of that world title.”