Travis Wiuff Ready for Last Shot in IFO
Light heavyweight veteran Travis Wiuff (Pictures) has had his share of ups and
downs, particularly of late with the Minnesotan splitting his last
One performance that stands out came in February of this year, when
Wiuff suffered a shocking 39-second loss to longtime King of the
Cage fighter James Lee.
"I was very disappointed," reflected Wiuff on his bout at PRIDE 33.
"It was a huge setback. Once I got the PRIDE contract I was very
excited. I had trained for about a little over three months for
that fight. As far as the outcome, they changed my opponent about
two days prior to the fight and I think that had a lot to do with
the outcome of the fight."
"I was training for (Kazuhiro) Nakamura, who is a different type of
fighter than James Lee was,"
he added. "They're both tough guys and I don't want to make
excuses, but they are two different styles completely. I got caught
right off the bat and it happens to the best fighters. It's just
unfortunate for me that it happened in my PRIDE debut. It was
disappointing but I'm still around. I'm still alive and
The rough patch hasn't turned Wiuff away from fighting, and this
Saturday he makes his IFO debut for the organization's light
heavyweight title against fellow UFC veteran Sean Salmon (Pictures), who dropped two consecutive
fights inside the octagon.
"Salmon (11-3-0) is a tough guy and I don't care what anybody
thinks," Wiuff said. "He was knocked out by Rashad Evans (Pictures) but that doesn't mean he's a bad
fighter. He's a got pretty good stand-up and he was doing well
against Rashad until the knockout."
Salmon, 29, replaced Chris
Price, who was forced to pull out due to an unspecified
"I don't try to focus on who I'm fighting when I train," Wiuff
revealed. "I try to work on my weaknesses and my biggest weakness
is my boxing. I spend probably about 80 percent of my training on
boxing. I've incorporated a little bit more wrestling this time
around as I don't want to be on my back at any time during the
fight. I'm sticking to the things that I've done well with, when I
have beaten good guys, but I'm really working more on my cardio and
my weaknesses. But I do expect Sean to be just as ready as I am and
it should be a good fight. He's probably just as hungry as me."
While both men enter the cage with much to prove, Wiuff said he's
excited just to compete.
"My last couple of fights have been in much smaller shows, very
small local shows," he said. "I enjoy fighting. I enjoy the
competition and when it is in a larger show with bigger crowds and
more things to market itself around, it's always nice. It makes
training a little bit easier knowing more people are going to see
you and that it'll be covered (by the media) well.
"As far as the IFO goes, I'm excited to be fighting for them. I
think every fighter's goal is to eventually get to the top level,
which right now is the UFC, but it's not my ultimate goal. The
sport is getting so mainstream and so big that the paydays are
getting better for everybody with every show. When I first started
fighting I'd fight in a small show for a couple hundred dollars and
was happy with it. But nowadays, there are more people seeing it
and coming out to the shows that the paydays are getting better,
even in the smaller shows."
And with that comes an important realization for the 29-year-old
"I'm taking this basically as my last shot to do something in the
sport," he admitted. "I don't want to be considered a journeyman
who could never win a big fight. I want to win this one, get back
to Vegas next year and defend the belt and do well for the IFO. I
want to compete for them as a champion that they could be proud
Wiuff (44-11-0) said that he hopes to keep fighting well into the
next decade, and joked about how young he really is despite most
people thinking he's fought since the dawn of time.
"I don't consider myself a veteran at all," he said. "Whenever I do
interviews and stuff, people call me a veteran and I'm like, 'man
that's crazy!' Jeremy Horn
(Pictures) is a veteran; that guy's
been fighting forever. I have fought quite a bit and I have fought
in some big shows, but I can see myself doing this at least another
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