The WEC invades Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday for the company’s 47th show. Between Brian Bowles defending his bantamweight title for the first time and former champion Miguel Torres making his long-awaited return to the cage, the veteran matchup between Javier “Showtime” Vazquez and Jens “Little Evil” Pulver has been vastly overlooked.
Vazquez has been involved in the sport for over a decade now, and even though he has always been a tough and competitive fighter it took a few years away from the sport and the emergence of the WEC for him to really find his place.
"When I left, I was fighting in a weight class where I was pretty small," Vasquez said. "I don’t walk around that big—between 160 and 165—and getting close to fight time without cutting any weight I’m around 155 and I’m fighting at 155. Most of the guys I was fighting were cutting from like 170 or 180 and I was just small.
“It was never like I was getting blown out either. The money wasn’t great at the time and the sport was not getting the exposure; it was like every fight was an uphill battle.
“As time has progressed, the WEC has done a great job. Urijah Faber has done a great job bringing attention to the weight class and helping to build the weight class up. I just finally feel like I am fighting guys that are my size.”
Since coming into the WEC Vazquez has lost back-to-back fights via split decision; he knows that, even though he has fought well, the judges have seen things differently and that getting a win is crucial.
"It’s extremely important," he said. "I don’t necessarily feel I have been fighting very bad, I actually think I have been fighting quite well. I have just been on the wrong end of some questionable decisions. You could easily be talking to me now and I could be 2-0.
“It’s been tough. I try to learn something from every fight, so I walked away with a couple things here and there that I did wrong but overall I thought I was fighting well and I don’t think I have that many adjustments to make.”
While Vazquez’s opponent, Pulver, has lost his last his last four fights, Vazquez knows that Pulver is still dangerous.
"He’s definitely not an easy opponent," Vasquez said. "I don’t care how he has looked his last few fights; he’s not an easy opponent.
“I’ve wanted this fight for a very long time. 2003 2002 2001 I thought I could beat him then but I had to wait until now. Now I have the chance to do it and I am happy to have the opportunity.”
Coming into March 6, Vazquez knows what he has to do, and he knows what to expect.
"He’s going to do the same thing as everyone else," he said. "He’s going to sit back and try to keep me standing. If he runs at me, he’s going to make it easier for me. If he tries to take me down it will be easy for me. My ground game is better and his stand up is better.
“On paper, it’s a pretty easy fight to see how it is going to go. Chances are, I’m going to try and take him down and he is going to try and sprawl and knock me out. It’s the same thing I have to deal with in every fight so it is not that big of a deal. It’s just that simple.
“I watched a little video on him but I have been watching him for years. He’s coming off some loses too, so I’m sure he’s motivated. He doesn’t want to lose again. It makes it that much tougher on me.”
With the support of his sponsors and his lovely wife, Rose, Vazquez is ready to make his presence felt by getting a big win over a former UFC champion.