The last time we saw Bellator 220’s Jordan Williams compete was in the UFC’s Octagon in what was, at the time, a third-round TKO victory on Dana White’s Tuesday Contender Series.
The 28-year-old Williams finished Tim Caron via ground and pound in the final round of their bout but did not receive a UFC contract despite the finish victory on five days’ notice. Williams believes he knows why he didn’t walk away from the fight as a full-time member of the UFC roster.
Williams had Caron hurt on the feet in the third, but instead of going for the “flashy” finish, he took Caron down to batter his opponent on the mat.
“I even heard Michael Bisping say when he was commentating, he’s like ‘man if Jordan would have just kept it on the feet another 30 seconds to a minute, two minutes max he would have finished him on the feet,’” Williams told John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock.
“That’s why I was kinda kicking myself, I don’t have to prove to be better in everything… I feel like I should have just been more present and see that I was winning on the feet.”
Not receiving a contract from Dana White wasn’t the only bad news Williams would have to face after the fight.
Less than two months after his Contender Series victory, it was revealed that Jordan tested positive for marijuana metabolites in a post-fight drug test. The Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Williams a six-month suspension, fined him 15 percent of his purse, and overturned his impressive victory to a “No Contest.”
Williams told The Body Lock he knew there was a chance he would test positive having taken the fight on only five days notice. Williams has Type One diabetes and uses marijuana in part to combat inflammation of the pancreas that comes with the disease. While he believes he has a legitimate excuse to use marijuana, he understands that these are the rules.
“So, I have an over inflamed pancreas like all of the time already,” Williams explained.
“You know, it’s to the point where it’s shut down. I was like, come on man, I legit have a reason to use it.”
Williams will return to Bellator at Bellator 220 and will make sure that his marijuana use will not interfere with this opportunity or any other potential opportunities down the line.
“I just have to be accountable for my actions and just follow the rules.”
Bellator 220 will mark Williams’ first fight in ten months, and his second fight under the Bellator banner. Despite being a California native himself, the bout may be more of a “home game” for his opponent Diego Herzog who trains out of San Jose’s famed American Kickboxing Academy. All of that aside, Williams cannot wait to get back to competition.
“Oh man, it feels good,” Williams told John Hyon Ko when asked about how it felt to be competing again.
“That’s like the closest thing to a meal, you know, if you consider the cage a feast, you finally get to eat and feed and release all that you’ve learned… It’s going to feel good to have some fight nourishment back in my system.”
Williams’ opponent Herzog hasn’t competed in MMA in over two years but owns a 3rd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While Williams is undoubtedly aware of the danger Herzog possesses on the ground, a 2016 knockout loss to Dwight Grant has been his motivation in training. Having been, in his own words, “knocked out cold” by Grant, Williams has been using his time off sharpening his striking with his Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance team.
“Ever since I took my last loss, I was beat on my feet; I got knocked out cold. So, basically, my game has really been working on my stand up.”
Williams, a wrestler by trade, promises to impress on the feet. “Mainly man, it’s my hands. Watch out! I’m coming to bang!”
Man’s best… training partner?
Sharpening his striking arsenal at one of northern California’s premier MMA gyms isn’t the only thing aiding Williams’ game recently. The 28-year-old has made a considerable commitment in the form of a new puppy.
The commitment of caring for the dog has been massive; a tiny creature entirely dependent on you can be quite the burden, but Williams has found that the dog is helping him just as much. The life of a fighter is often a selfish life out of necessity. Williams has to put himself first most, if not all of the time. Everything Williams does, from the choices he makes to the people he associates with, has to better his career. The puppy has allowed Williams to alter that lifestyle and has even helped him adapt his training regiment.
“In the life of a fighter, you are always thinking about yourself,” Williams admitted.
“In this world, in this fight life where I’m always thinking about myself, I have to take a step back and now there’s this little dog dependent on me. I have to stop thinking of myself for a while and take care of the dog… I trained him like I trained myself. It helps me realize like, whoa man, I might be going a little too hard on myself because I went really hard on this dog right now.”
Win, lose or draw at Bellator 220, the young pup will be there every step of the way. He will be accompanying Williams to fight week and hopefully for Williams, will continue to provide clarity and a calming presence as his return to the cage draws near.
Bellator 220 takes place on April 27th at The SAP Center in San Jose, California and is headlined by a welterweight championship bout between champion Rory MacDonald and challenger Jon Fitch.
A 29-year-old paralegal by day, but I rather write. MMA nut since '04.