Adam Proctor hopes an active year with impressive stoppages will pave the way to the UFC.
The welterweight talent only competed once last year which he knows isn’t enough to build any kind of serious momentum. Despite his relative inactivity as of late, Proctor (11-1) defeated Olli Santalahti by unanimous decision last September in a hard-fought battle.
Santalahti had a strong start to the contest where he looked sharp on the feet and took Proctor down on a couple of occasions. However, as the fight wore on, Proctor began to gain the upper hand with technical striking and implemented his own grappling game. Proctor acknowledged that the bout was a lot closer than he expected it to be, but he was pleased with his own performance given the circumstances.
“I was a bit banged up before I went into that fight with some busted ribs, so I was limited to how much I could do in there,” discussed Proctor. “In my opinion, Olli is a solid opponent for anyone in Europe right now and would give most a good test. I would definitely have liked to have been more aggressive and should have pushed more of a pace on him. You can kind of see that I was standing off a bit more and was cautious in my approach.”
“In order to help me improve further, I took a lot away from that fight,” continued Proctor. “That was the first time I’ve had someone who went out of their way to put me on my back instead of just trying to strike, so it was good to experience that. I also need to ensure that I am healthy going into fights, which is something else I will learn from.”
Proctor trains at SBG South Shields under head coach and UK MMA veteran, Alex Enlund, where he believes some fantastic work is going on. He sings Enlund’s praises and thinks that even though he is a young coach, the impact he is having on the team is outstanding due to his teaching ability and commitment. Proctor firmly believes that as well as himself, the next wave of fighters coming out of the gym will be amazing and the team’s reputation will continue to improve until they can’t be ignored.
‘The Love Doctor’ takes on undefeated Madars Fleminas at Cage Warriors 112 in the co-main event this Saturday night. Fleminas (7-0) will be making his third appearance in the European promotion and this is a big opportunity for him to cause an upset, which would place himself immediately among the best welterweights in the organisation. However, Proctor will be looking to extend his current six-fight winning streak and believes his superior talent will show come fight night.
“I think Fleminas is a solid opponent and you can’t really fault him in terms of his record,” mentioned Proctor. “Despite that, he’s never fought anyone on my level. He’s tough but you can only take so much damage until that starts to be your downfall. That’s not something you can rely on over time. Your skill set, endurance and athleticism are what you should be depending on. This is a big step up for him and I think he is aware of that as well. During the first round, I will beat him up, put a pace on him and really start to wear on him. That’s when he’ll realise and it’ll sink in that he’s a bit out of his depth. I think the finish will come in the second or third round.”
The Cage Warriors welterweight title picture has been unclear for the past few months due to the uncertainty surrounding former champion, Ross Houston. Now that he has vacated the belt and moved promotions, a hierarchy can begin to be established at 170lbs once again.
Northern Ireland’s Rhys McKee is slated to fight for the belt on May 16 in Belfast but his opponent has not yet been named. An impressive victory for Proctor on Saturday night may cement a title shot as there aren’t currently many other options inside the promotion to step up and challenge McKee. Proctor believes that he is right at the very top of the division and that everyone else should look up to him. He acknowledges that he may sometimes fly under the radar because he isn’t the most outspoken person but that isn’t who he is. As it turns out, Proctor isn’t overly concerned about capturing Cage Warriors gold and has his eyes firmly set on the bigger picture.
“With a win, my plan is to move on to the UFC,” explained Proctor. “At the end of the day, if you want to be the best in the world, that’s the only place to do it in my mind. If the title fight with McKee happens before the UFC, so be it but I’m not going out of my way to get the belt. It’d be nice if I did get it first but being the champion in the UFC is what means the most to me. This year, I want to be consistently winning and finishing fights in order to really make a name for my myself. I need to show why I’m the best welterweight in Europe right now.”
The Cage Warriors 112 main card will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass at 9pm GMT on Saturday night. Fans in the US can watch from 4pmET/3pmCT.