Saturday is fast approaching, and with it, the fourth World Series of Fighting event. The card is being held in California and will feature several recognized fighters, as well as some fresh talent. Being the new promotion on the block has historically been an uphill battle for most promotions, but WSOF seems to have all the right connections in place right out of the gate, with a television deal being at the top of the 'things we do right' list.
One of the more recognizable faces on the card is former UFC middleweight/welterweight prospect, Jorge Santiago. Despite three stints in the UFC, Santiago will probably best be remembered for being part of one of the best fights of the last 10 years. His battle with Misaki in Sengoku was truly the stuff made of legend. When people throw around the term 'fight of the year' all willy nilly, this is the fight that could easily define some of the standards we should be accountable to when determining who receives such a prestigious honor.
I digress though. Back to the topic at hand, which is Santiago's upcoming bout with Gerald Harris. The fight will be his second outing at welterweight, and comes in at a lengthy 7 months since his last time wearing a pair of MMA gloves. I recently sat down with Jorge in a quick interview and got his thoughts on his new WSOF home, his hopes of being part of another legendary fight and his treatment by the UFC. Here's what he had to say:
I went to their first show in Las Vegas. My teammates Tyrone Spong, Anthony Johnson and JZ Cavalcante were all on the card. Just watching them, right there I knew that this would be a good home for me. The guys running the show have experience fighting and managing, like Ray Sefo and Ali (Abdel Aziz). Ali is a great manager and CO. He represents the company and the fighters, and he takes care of everyone really well. I really think this show will be around for a long time and will be a good competitor for the other promotions.
Hell yeah it was a surprise when they cut me. I really felt that the way they offered the fight ... I wasn't getting ready for a fight or anything. I was just in the gym helping the other guys. I was staying in shape, but I wasn't ready, you know? I had a fight canceled from Strikeforce a few months before that, when they were merging with the UFC.
I got a call from my manager saying that I had finally been offered a fight with Gunnar Nelson because his opponent had pulled out. It was two and a half weeks out. I at first said, I can't do it, I can't get down to 170 and train that fast. He said it would be a huge favor for the UFC and that they wouldn't forget something like that. So I said yes to the fight.
I went there and fought the best I could. I fought very well for just two weeks notice at a new weight class. It's just not fair the way they treat people. I was not happy with the way they did things. I'm not there anymore, but I do feel bad for the guys that are there. Sometimes life just isn't fair. I'm just glad I found a new home and I hope to stay with them.
2010 Fight With Misaki
I was really proud of that fight. Misaki is the guy that I hate the most and I love the most. He's an amzing fighter and that match was unbelievable. It's a mental game. It's not only about conditioning and skill. It's also about the mindset and putting yourself in the moment and giving it everything that you have. We fought like samurais that day in Japan. I had to cut off his head to make him stop.
Both our fights, the referee had to stop them. He just wouldn't give up. He knocked me down. I knocked him down. It was an unforgettable experience, both times.
He's a lot like me. He's a slow starter, just like I am. I'm just going to take advantage of that time to get a rhythm going. I always try to finish fights, and this one will be no different. I'm just going to keep moving forward and look for the right time.
He's pretty tough and well rounded. He's fought a lot of guys along the way, good guys. If it's necessary, we'll fight three hard rounds. Who knows, maybe we'll have a legendary fight, too. I would really like that. Let's do it. Let's make it happen.
You can follow Jorge via his Twitter account, @SantiagoMMA