Substance over style. MMA fighter Nate Jolly understands what it will take to make it to the UFC. He just is not sure it is worth it. As an aspiring MMA fighter with a 10-4 record, Jolly knows that the UFC is the big show and that every mixed martial artist wants to be there.
However, Jolly sees that that there are some changes he would have to make. Of his 10 wins, five have been by decision—including his last three.
“A part of me thinks about changing my style,” Jolly said. “I’ve never been a finishing kind of guy, but I am entertaining.
“Am I working on my knockout power? Of course. Am I going to change my style to make it in the UFC? Absolutely not.”
In just a couple of days, Jolly returns to action against David Mays for the Valley Fight League in Williamson, W.Va. Jolly is the more experienced fighter as Mays (2-1) only has three previous fights.
Interestingly, Saturday’s show will be the first ever to take place in West Virginia.
“I love it,” Jolly said, about being on the debut card. “It’s great to be a little part of history. It shows that MMA is finally growing.”
By participating at VFL 34, Jolly will help give the sport more national appeal. However, for Jolly to attain more national appeal, the most direct route is through the UFC’s reality show.
Jolly is not so sure that is the best way for him.
“It’s a great marketing tool,” Jolly said, when asked about The Ultimate Fighter. “Do I think they have a good way to pick the best fighters? No.
“Dana White said on many occasions that they want exciting fighters. Exciting fighters aren’t necessarily the best fighters.”
Jolly understands that the UFC is just trying to give the audience what they want.
“Your average fan is not MMA savvy,” Jolly said. “They want to see a slugfest with small gloves on.”
Instead, Jolly is taking the long trip to the big show. He is working his way up the smaller cards in hopes of eventually getting the call. If that does not occur, Jolly will be content.
“Long term, obviously, I want to be in the UFC,” Jolly said. “When it comes down to it, if that never happens, there are many fighters who have great careers who don’t make it to that top ship. I’m not going to change who Nate Jolly is.”
The next step for the former amateur wrestler is Saturday night against Mays.
“I’m going to win,” Jolly said, when asked for a prediction. “How I’m going to do it? The guy doesn’t have a lot of three round fights. That shows me that somewhere between rounds one and two – he’s probably gassing. Guys that don’t have good cardio? I usually finish.”