If there’s one surefire way to get a kickboxer to answer the ten count, clear the cobwebs and secure the win, it’s questioning his will to win. Just ask XFN’s Haze Wilson.
In the closing seconds of the first round of a heavyweight tournament battle with Rob Morrow, Wilson found himself in the only spot worse than a rock and a hard place - a dominating kickboxer and the cage.
Options were slim. Try and ride out the last bit of the round taking shots, leave the guard and make an errant attempt to land a big shot or go down. All come with consequences, but ultimately, Wilson took the smallest risk available, sat down and handed Morrow a 10-8 advantage in the round.
That’s when he heard the magic words…
“While I was down I heard, ‘You’ve got him now. He doesn’t have any heart,’” Wilson recalled. “I might not be the most talented fighter on the face of the Earth, but if I’ve got one thing above any other, I’ve got f*****g heart. I’ll fight until I’m dead. When he said that, I got up and I was like, ‘Ok, if that’s how you guys want to play this.’”
Wilson’s strategy worked. He may have lost the round handily but after getting back up and clearing the cobwebs, the round ended. Some fighters would go back to their corner disheartened, some might go back happy that they escaped a bad round and a bad situation. After hearing what he heard, it was neither for Wilson.
“That’s all that ran through my head during the minute break, over and over again,” Wilson explained. “‘He doesn’t have any heart.’ Then it made me mad.”
Wilson came out in the second round rejuvenated and fighting borderline emotional. It may be discouraged by coaches, and Wilson would be the first to admit it, but after having immediate success with the new mind state, he couldn’t help but ride the hot hand.
“I came out in the second round, slipped a punch, caught him with a hard hook, dropped him, he made the count and got up, dropped him again,” Wilson said. “Dropped him again and they called the fight.”
XFN has had an almost infinite number of events and have a heavyweight kickboxing tournament seemingly once a week. It would have been easier to say, “He caught me, next time it’s personal.” But that’s just not the way Wilson operates.
With a far above average number of fights with few trips to the canvas, Wilson isn’t the guy to lay down for anybody. Especially not somebody questioning his heart.
That’s just not how he was built.
“I can’t speak for everyone, but my mentality is, ‘I’m a winner. I’m going to win at all costs,’” Wilson said. “I’ve never been knocked unconscious; I’ve been out on my feet but I’m there to fight.”
Can Wilson run the XFN table again? You can bet the barn he’s going to try.
Catch the return of Haze Wilson at XFN 378 LIVE Friday, February 4, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!