After Going Undefeated in Strikeforce, Jason High Ready to Begin “Whole New Chapter” in Second Run With UFC
By Kelsey Mowatt
Even before Strikeforce permanently shut its doors, following its final event on January 12th, there was a steady stream of announcements confirming UFC bouts for many of the promotion’s more established competitors. Although some observers may have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Strikeforce vets that were called over to the UFC, few were likely shocked when it was confirmed that Jason High was also returning to the Octagon.
“I was pretty sure that I was going to get moved over,” High recently said on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “But it always takes time; I know they have a lot of guys that they’re dealing with, and I know everybody wants to get in, so I was just waiting for a few things to pan out and everything worked out.”
Of course many likely expected that the UFC would bring High over, due to the fact that the former NCAA Division 1 wrestler went undefeated during his tenure with Strikeforce, by scoring wins over Quinn Mulhern, Todd Moore, and Nate Moore. The victories extended the 31 year-old fighter’s winning streak to seven, which includes wins over rising welterweight Jordan Mein and Japanese legend Hayato Sakurai.
“I found out late last week and I’m excited man,” said High. “I’m looking to be more busy this year, so it’s a great opportunity.”
Although High completed 2012 having only fought one time, due to Strikeforce’s reduced schedule and the cancellation of two events this past fall, the vet believes the promotion served a valuable purpose during its run.
“I think it’s always good to have competition options for fighters, so on that front I am sad to see Strikeforce go,” High noted. “But as far as the last two years, I’ve only had four fights, one this past year, and two in Strikeforce in 2011, and one with Titan…I’d like to stay busier than that and that was my only real complaint with Strikeforce.”
Unlike many of the other Strikeforce vets that have been brought over to the UFC, however, High will not be making his Octagon debut when he fights next. The welterweight was released from the UFC after just one appearance in March, 2010, when he lost by unanimous decision to Charlie Brenneman at a Fight Night event.
“I think I look at it as more of a whole new chapter,” said High, while discussing whether he feels like he has something to prove in his UFC return. “I think I’m a better fighter; I’m smarter, I’m a little older, so it will definitely be good to get in there and get a win….anywhere that I’m fighting I’m trying to get a win, so I don’t really think about that very much.”
Due to the recent run that High has been on, and the American Top Team fighter’s 16-3 record, it will be interesting to see who the UFC elects to match the welterweight up next. To date, many of the Strikeforce vets have been signed to fight well established Octagon competitors.
For example, former Strikeforce lightweights Isaac Vallie-Flagg and Caros Fodor are set to battle Yves Edwards and Sam Stout respectively. Strikeforce welterweights Bobby Voelker and Tyron Woodley are scheduled to fight Patrick Cote and Jay Hieron. More similar match-ups, in terms of the experience levels of the fighters, have also been booked.
“I’m hoping to fight end of February, beginning of March,” furthered High, who operates the HD MMA gym alongside veteran LC Davis in Leawood, Kansas. “I would just like to get active again at this point, just whoever basically.”
“All those guys, like Yves and Patrick have been fighting for a while, but at a certain point it doesn’t really matter,” noted High when asked about the recent fights his fellow Strikeforce vets have been assigned. “Guys are trying to climb up the ladder and get their name out there. All those guys are tough. It really doesn’t matter who you fight. There are no walkovers anymore in the UFC, or really in Strikeforce either. There’s no easy fights.”