Kyle keen to conquer
2012 will see Kyle Watson make his Cage Warriors debut and the 32-year-old Illinois native has already set himself a target of clinching the CWFC lightweight title by the end of the year.
Watson has committed his future to the promotion and will get his first taste of Cage Warriors action at Fight Night 3 in the Middle East on February 9 against a soon-to-be announced opponent.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has been released by the UFC – unfairly, in his opinion – and hasn’t fought since losing to John Makdessi at UFC 129 in Toronto back in April.
Prior to that, Watson (13-7-1) made the semi-finals of season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter, before securing a unanimous decision victory over Sako Chivitchian at the TUF 12 finale in Las Vegas.
Watson has taken some time out this year in order to open his own gym – Watson Martial Arts in St Louis – but is now ready for a return to the cage.
“I’ve been extremely busy, but in a good way,” said Watson. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to accomplish a lot of my big goals in the last couple of years and opening my own gym was definitely a milestone for me as well.
“Since I was a purple belt, I’ve always thought I’d run my own place and now it’s a reality. I’m very passionate about teaching others and positively affecting people’s lives, and this gives me the opportunity to do it as my livelihood.
“It’s a lot of hard work but I feel very strongly about putting out a great product, so it’s nice to have complete quality control.
“There have already been several notable faces through my doors, in addition to the regular clientele like Michael Johnson (TUF 12), Andy Main (TUF 12) and Carson Beebe (TUF 14).
“I look forward to having more great visitors, as well as creating several champions and ultimately improving people’s lives.”
When asked about being axed by the UFC, Watson said: “I feel that my time with the UFC ended prematurely. On TUF, I finished three of my four opponents before losing by a decision to the season’s winner.
“After the show, I won my bout on the finale and then lost by KO in the third round of a close match. So overall with the UFC I was 4-2 (1-1 post-show), so I was very surprised when I was released, especially when you consider that other guys from my season who have lost after the show are still fighting with the company.
“With my performance on the show, I figured that they would at least allow me to lose two in a row before releasing me. That being said, I do understand that it’s a business and it’s not always fair.
“I also firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and I honestly feel that this happened so that other opportunities would come my way. I’ll make the most of it and continue to accomplish my goals.”
One of those goals is to impress on his Cage Warriors debut in the Middle East, which is just two months away.
“I’m really looking forward to introducing myself to the fans in the Middle East,” Watson said. “I appreciate their support of MMA and I hope I can be a good ambassador for the sport for them.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity and I’m confident that I won’t disappoint them. As a UFC veteran, what they’ll expect from me is experience, professionalism and skill – I’ll deliver all three and more.”
Watson added: “Cage Warriors is a top-notch promotion that’s on the rise. They’re continuously adding great talent to what’s already a tough roster.
“The shows have great production value and I’ve heard the fighters are treated extremely well. They also serve as a feeder promotion that has sent talent into the biggest shows like the UFC and Strikeforce.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing that quality first-hand and growing with the company as it continues to make a splash in Europe and globally too.
“I want to show people that my career is not over and that I’m still relevant in the lightweight picture. I plan on proving that by capturing the Cage Warriors lightweight title next year.”
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