CFFC 66 is rapidly approaching and with this STACKED card we get the privilege of seeing some of our favorite guys like today’s #10for10 subject, 7-3 “Iron City” Mike Wilkins (@mwilkins12)! Mike comes straight out of PA and is one of the more charismatic guys in and out of the cage, he is also the type of guy that once you meet him you feel like you have known for years! At CFFC 66 we see him look to get back to his winning ways as he faces off vs a very tough Rich Patishnock, this promises to be a sleeper for fight of the night. So sit back and get to know the man behind the gloves as he prepares to bounce back!
Hey Mike! So it’s been a busy couple months for you! Feels like we haven’t seen you in forever but you are back now! Catch us up to date!
Wilkins: Yeah, since we last spoke I’ve been focusing on cleaning up some holes in my game, and making my strengths even stronger. Also, I recently got engaged to my girlfriend of nine years Katie. Exciting stuff!
Now speaking of getting engaged, I got the privilege of sitting behind your fiancé and family at your fight with Pope. We will get to your fan base later but I was blown away at Katie’s knowledge of the game, seems very calculated! How awesome is it being engaged to someone who is willing to let you go get in fights for a living and be a true fan of the sport? Is there any extra pressure knowing she is cage side?
Wilkins: She is great, she was at my first amateur fight and we met a few months later at my second amateur fight. This was back in 2007, so she has been around the sport for a decade now. Her brother was a fighter from 2007-2010. She is incredible helpful during fight camps. She does my meal prep, and really understands the struggles of a fight camp. I don’t feel any added pressure with her cage side, she has seen me win, and she has seen me lose. You couldn’t be more supportive than her. I’m very lucky!
That you are sir! Now the last time we saw you in the cage it unfortunately didn’t go your way as Mike Pope caught you with a guillotine. Talk to us about that fight, you seemed to be in cruise control for that first 3 minutes, striking looked crisp and you looked very confident. What did you learn from watching the tape?
Wilkins: I felt a real speed advantage in that fight, my striking felt good. Honestly, Pope did a great job on the feet in that fight. He was stringing his combo’s together really well. While we were in there I felt like it was a fairly even round, so I wanted to get the takedown to secure the round on the score cards. He did a great job on creating an angle for his guillotine on the takedown. His squeeze was rather remarkable as well. When I look back on that fight, I don’t think that I got “caught” in a guillotine. He earned that! There were things that I could’ve done better on the takedown to keep myself out of danger, and I have been drilling that diligently.
Well I couldn’t agree more and wow, if you’re fixing that aspect then I don’t see a whole lot of cracks in that armor and it’s time to make some noise! Now you are back!!!! CFFC 66 is around the corner, talk to us about what it’s like getting back in the gym after a fight that didn’t go your way, is it more focused? More intense? What can we expect on August 5th at the Borgata?
Wilkins: The intensity is the same, when you come off a defeat, especially a finish. There is just a clear cut weakness that is exposed, so that gets more attention. Every time I step in the cage, you can expect a more evolved fighter.
I love it! Now you will face a solid fighter in Rich Patishnock who is sitting at 6-4 and looking to get back on track after a KO loss at Bellator 153. When you look at the tape what do you see and where do you feel you hold the advantages?
Wilkins: Rich is going to be a very tough fight. I think we have a lot of similarities. I think the biggest difference in our games is speed and power. I believe I have the speed advantage, while he looks to have the power advantage.
Going off that statement, he is indeed a power guy but in a weird way he can keep that going the distance as he has 4 decision wins. Without giving up any of your strategy how do you counteract those skills and impose your game plan. Do any of his skill sets worry you?
Wilkins: I think this fight is about who gets to their best positions more often. Nothing he does has me overly worried, but I have to respect his ability to fight in all positions. It’s a tough match up. That’s what you get in the CFFC.
Couldn’t agree more and that is exactly why we love Rob, Devon, Arias, Burt and everyone over at the CFFC it is truly a test of might and skill in each bout. So you are coming off a title fight, a title that just changed hands again, do you feel a win here gets you back in that title picture or is there more in your mind you need to do?
Wilkins: A win definitely puts me back on track. I don’t know how far down that track it puts me. Lowry looked amazing in his fight with Pope. I wouldn’t be surprised if that title is vacant again very soon. He might get the call up if the UFC needs a short notice replacement.
Yeah the CFFC Lightweight division seems to develop UFC fighters every day! I firmly believe you will be one of those names too. Now getting back to your fanbase, I’ll just say this, they are 2nd to none. I was sitting there and right before your fight all the sudden all the seats around me filled. I got to talking to them and it was all your fans and students, I was blown away by the intensity and passion they have! Hell, they even said they read the interview we did before the fight. Talk to us about those fans and family and what they mean to you in and out of the cage. If you could say one thing to them what would you say and why?
Wilkins: They are great! Pittsburgh loves their own! It’s not the easiest trip out to Atlantic City, or Philly from Pittsburgh, but they make it! They are loud, and it gives me energy to push in the fight.
They all told me you are one hell of a teacher, how is it teaching and then getting ready for a fight know your students are studying your every move?
Wilkins: It’s easy to teach great students. I’m very lucky to have such dedicated students. I see them watching me prepare for fights, and it motivates me to make sure I’m working hard to set a good example. As the fight gets closer, I teach less. I’m lucky to have co workers who pick up the slack when I need to focus on my training.
So we want to wish you best, we are trying to get up there on august 5 to the Borgata. Before we let you go are there any people or sponsors you would like to mention?
Wilkins: I’ve got to thank my coaches for their time and effort invested in getting me prepared. My team Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh/Stout Training Pittsburgh. My Sponsors Ronin Advertising, and a shout out to Applebee’s with that 2 for $20.
Man you gotta respect a man that shouts out Applebee’s…. Do I sense a future sponsorship! Well there you have it fight fans, Mike Wilkins! Make sure to get over to all social media and follow that man, he is really a great guy in and out of the cage and very personable! Remember August 5th live at the Borgata in AC… CFFC 66! Next up we will be featuring the man in the main event, Jonavin Webb!