Recapping with Jim Wallhead - I Just Keep Getting Stronger by Brent Todd - 02-23-2010 If the name Jim Wallhead sounds familiar, it's probably due to the group of guys he trains with. Training out of Team Rough House in Leicester, England, Wallhead trains with the likes of Paul Daley, Dan Hardy, Andre Winner and many others. MMA Recap's Brent Todd caught up with Wallhead to discuss his entrance into the season two Bellator welterweight tournament as well as his thoughts on his career, training camp, and coming close to being selected for "The Ultimate Fighter".
"Judo" Jim as he is known, got into fighting at the young age of seven. But how he started with learning judo was a total accident. "I started taking judo classes at the age of seven. My mom took me to a judo class on accident after watching the karate kid. That's how I got into martial arts. I got into mixed martial arts by pure chance. I went to a show and then someone offered me an opportunity and I took it."
Wallhead thought he had his opportunity to compete for one of the big organizations with season nine of "The Ultimate Fighter". Unfortunately for him, he was pegged as an alternate, and did not make the show. "I was very disappointed. I thought I was getting in based on what people were telling me. Obviously I was misled and stuff. At the time a lot of hopes were going on that. That was the beginning of 2009 and I got the call saying I would be an alternate. I was really depressed. I had a fight lined up with M1 and I got injured and got ill. It was just a crappy start to the year. It's only now that I am back in the grove and it has made me stronger. You have to play your cards and enjoy the road."
That road as it turns out has brought him to Bellator's welterweight tournament. Wallhead recalls his thoughts on getting that call to participate. "Over the moon. I was absolutely over the moon. Last season there were great fights and a great production. It seems like every day they are signing a brilliant fighter and lots of strength. I cannot wait to be apart of something special. It's going to be a great experience. I hope to go a long way."
The welterweight tournament is already stacked with names like Sean Pierson, Ben Askren and Dan Hornbuckle. But Wallhead doesn't care who he fights first. "No one in particular. There's five guys signed right now, and all of them are going to be a good fight. Sooner or later I will fight one of them. I think Hornbuckle is the favorite for whatever reason. He's very good and I think I can take a fight to him. Whoever it is will have to beat me up and really really kick my ass cause I'm not gonna fall over for them. I hope my opponent brings the best."
And it is because it is a tournament, that Wallhead things his opponent will bring his best. "Its a great format. You will only get the best at the end. No one is picking the guy who gets the title shot. I think the tournament format brings out the best in everyone. There's a nice big check at the end, and I think everyone will progress well. I think it pushes the fighters to perform well."
Wallhead, like many, are worried about the one thing that could prevent him from continuing on with the tournament: injuries. "Obviously I am worried about injuries and cuts. I don't know how it went last year. I didn't hear anything about that. I hope that everyone can get through injury free. I hate to be selfish, but I don't want to get injured."
And the tournament format is forcing Wallhead to change up his training camp just a bit so that he can be his best and come through with as few injuries as possible. "I am training a lot more aggressive now. Getting stronger and a better fitness. I am covering all aspects of the game. I don't know who I am facing yet. I will have a plan A and a plan B. So I am getting everything ready."
As for his thoughts on the current champion Lyman Good, Wallhead just wants to perform well. "He's a tough guy. An aggressive striker. He won last year. He's a champion. It would be great to fight him. I don't ever say I want to be the champ, all I care about is fighting against the best guys out there and perform to my best. Even if I lose, yeah I will be upset, but if I can look in the mirror and say I did my best. All these guys are good."
The welterweight tournament is so stacked it isn't funny. The rest of the interview, Wallhead talks about training at team rough house and his thoughts on his career.