“Jesse” James Wallace is on the verge of going from local veteran to UFC talent. All it takes is one finish in one fight, something he’s used to doing. All nine of his wins have been by finish. He’s a killer, plain and simple. The #1 ranked regional fighter takes on Joseph Solecki on next week’s Contender Series main event.
While other fighters might be ecstatic to get a chance to fight in front of Dana White on the Contender Series, Wallace is not as much.
“It’s my way into the UFC. My goal is to be in the UFC and win. I was excited and of course it was a good opportunity for me. But, I’m looking further down the road. I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest moment of my career. It’s my way into the UFC but I’m trying to get in there and win. I’m thankful but I’m looking to keep moving forward.”
It’s that mindset that the best fighters all share. He’s not looking forward to this fight, but to the fights on the big stage.
In his last fight, James Wallace got yet another submission win. While he wanted to show off his striking more, he saw the submission opportunity and took it.
“I actually just wanted to mix it up. I just wanted to establish the shot right away. I took him down and it was easier than I thought it would be. I was expecting more,” says Wallace. “Soon as I got the first takedown so easy, I was like, ‘Man, we’re not striking. I’m going back to the easy stuff.’ So I took him down again and passed guard right away. Got into mount and I was going to throw bombs and he turned his back. That happens when you’re getting punched in the head. Got the choke and finished it. It was a good one for me. Kaleb was a tough opponent and I expected a lot. Luckily I got out of there with no injuries.”
It’s not that Wallace is a neck snatcher, he just takes the advantages given to him.
“I take whatever they give me, man. If we are standing in the middle banging and I get the knockout, that’s great. I’m more of a technical striker. I’m not going to bar fight. If I get to the ground and a submission presents itself, I’ll take that as well. I just want to be known as a finisher in the industry. That’s it.”
How does “Jesse” James Wallace get those openings in the game plan of his opponents?
“It’s crazy the mistakes you’ll make when you’re getting punched in the face.”
New gym, new life
James feels his career really has taken off since changing gyms. Moving from Memphis to American Top Team, he feels like he is just now catching his stride.
“I’ve moved camps. I’m now at American Top Team. Right now, I’m working with Cole Miller. He basically just took me in like a little brother. He’s taking care of me and I can’t thank him enough. Yes, I’ve changed camps, but we’re doing more smart work. More technical, taking care of ourselves not really banging in the gym. Our war is on fight night, not in the gym. I’ll say he is the smartest coach I’ve ever had. His amount of MMA knowledge is just crazy. I like when me and him get in there and I get to pick his brain and I get to ask questions. I’d say he’s smartest coach I’ve ever had and I have a new tool. Bobby Mitchell at Rush is also helping me a ton. He’s my other coach. Just those guys and the amount of MMA knowledge they have is just crazy. I’m lucky to be here and I’m lucky that they’re taking care of me like this.”
As many people have already said, “It’s THE best gym in the world, I’ll say it.”
The camp is one of the most important part of a fight. Wallace feels like he has the best group of trainers for this fight. Aside from Cole Miller, he’s utilizing the best local talent that many haven’t heard of.
“I’ve just been in one of Robin’s for this camp. I didn’t go to Creek, but I will be going to Creek. Here, I’m working with Q Culpepper. He’s a local pro. I’m telling you, he’s high level. He just chooses not to fight, which is his own thing. I’m telling you he could beat guys in the UFC already. I work with him a couple times a week. Also, Nathan, another local pro. He’s a high level jiu jitsu guy, but a great wrestler as well. Good boxing, he’s pretty well rounded. Those two are my main training partners. Other than Cole, I work with them the most.”
I’ve followed “Jesse” James Wallace for a while. He’s one of the best talents in the southern region of the United States. Be sure to catch him in the main event on next week’s Contender Series card as the main event!