Cage Warriors 141, which takes place next week – Friday July 22nd – in London, will feature the return of Jimmy Wallhead (31-11).
The veteran Englishman, whose decorated career included a stint with the UFC in 2016-17, will equal Jack Mason’s record of 17 professional MMA bouts under the CW banner when he takes on Polish welterweight Daniel Skibiński on the main card of an event that will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.
Wallhead will be competing for the first time in over three years, having been inactive since a 2-0 run with Bellator in 2019. Now aged 38, he began his career with Cage Warriors as a 21-year-old way back in April 2005.
Tell us about your preparations for this fight…
Jimmy Wallhead: “It’s been a tough camp but I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve been out for a while but I feel like I’m in the best shape I can remember being in. I’m fit, strong and it doesn’t feel like I’ve been out for three years. Even though I’m getting on a bit, I feel good and I’m still hanging in there with the young’uns. I’m just looking forward to the fight and relishing coming back to doing what I love.”
Can you sum up how much you’re looking forward to being back in action after such a long absence?
JW: “The weight cut is obviously going to suck. I think you always forget how miserable it is. I just can’t wait to step into the cage for the fight itself. It was great being there to see Dean [Trueman] fighting in Manchester [at CW 135 in April]. I loved being around Cage Warriors again and seeing so many familiar faces. Cage Warriors is where it all began for me so it feels very sentimental.”
Were you contemplating retirement or was it always your intention to fight again?
JW: “I broke my hand in my last fight, which put me out for a while. Then I got another quite serious injury, I got over that, but then there was the pandemic. At that stage I was kind of wondering if I was done, but then when I started training properly again I was feeling good. And with Cage Warriors, it’s something special to me. It’s in my heart. I just thought that if I am going to finish soon, at least I can finish where I started. I’m a bit of a soppy twat so I just liked the idea of that.”
How do you see this fight playing out?
JW: “I’ve prepared well, so what will be will be. He’s going to have to kill me to beat me. I believe I’ve fought guys as good as – and better than – Skibiński. He’s a tough boy but I feel confident. There’s zero pressure on me here.”
What were your thoughts on the recent welterweight title fight between Rhys McKee and Justin Burlinson?
JW: “It was a great fight, super entertaining. Justin puts on so much pressure and he’s as tough as they come. Rhys was weathering the storm and then he got the big finish. It was great to watch, I really enjoyed it. I never look past an opponent but if I were to get through Skibiński, Rhys is who I’d be looking to fight next. That would make sense to me for the next fight, but I’m not thinking that far ahead. It’s all about Daniel now.”
How will it feel to be strapping on those yellow Cage Warriors gloves again?
JW: “I’ll have a big smile on my face. You calm down a bit as you get older so I’m a lot more chilled these days. I’ll be nice and relaxed, I’ll have a nice stroll to the cage and then we’ll have a ding-dong. It’s going to be great.”