Coming from a successful run in the amateur ranks, middleweight prospect Joel Bauman was looking to continue his winning ways when he turned pro in December of last year, and has mostly been able to do so.
Though he’s had problems arise during the preparations for his two pro fights so far, Bauman has been able to overcome them and pick up back-to-back wins over fellow up-and-comers Corey Davis and Brock Smith in the LFA.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about Corey Davis or Brock, those are great fighters. You couldn’t say I was fully prepared in either one of those situations. I’m always prepared. It doesn’t matter; I’m going to win the fight,” Bauman told MMAWeekly.com.
Though he comes from a championship caliber amateur wrestling pedigree, Bauman hasn’t had to rely on his background much in his fights yet. He has instead focused on developing other areas of his game during the early part of his career.
“I don’t think it has mattered,” said Bauman. “I haven’t used my wrestling in any of my fights; barely. I haven’t really been testing myself there. I’ve been testing myself in other areas. Every fight I come into with a specific thing I want to work on and then I just work on that thing.
“I know what I am and what I am capable of. I don’t think it matters of my wrestling pedigree when I think I am complete. I think I have everything. If I want to just work leg kicks, I’m going to work on that; if I want to let a guy get in on me and take me down and work off my back, I’m going to work that. (Either way) I’m going to win the fight.”
This Friday in Lake Prior, Minn., Bauman (2-0) faces another top prospect in Bobby Downs (4-1) in a main card middleweight bout at LFA 68.
“I understand that he’s trying to make a name for himself,” Bauman said of Downs. “I know that’s what all these guys are doing. Corey, Brock, Bobby, they are all looking at me and are saying they should do it now because I have that momentum going into this, people are watching, and they know and feel what I’m capable of, so people are trying to take this hype train and derail it and take it for themselves.
“There’s no way he wins this fight. I hope he brings it, but there’s just no way. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but there is just no way.”
For Bauman, Downs is the next step he needs to take in order to achieve an ambitious goal he has set for himself.
“I told myself when I went pro that I had two years to be a UFC champion,” said Bauman. “I would like to be in the UFC within my next fight. I’m going into this one to prove a point.
“Israel Adesanya took four or five fights in a year’s span and is now fighting for the middleweight world championship. I said two years. When I say something, I do something. That’s that. It is what it is. After that, I will prove that I am what I am, and me and Israel Adesanya will be the biggest fight in middleweight history.”