Bellator’s Travis Wiuff: Tourney Competition Can’t “Stop a Nosebleed; Now They’re Going to Stop my Takedowns?”
By Kelsey Mowatt
These are interesting times in the decade plus career of Travis “Diesel” Wiuff, as the veteran not only continues to add to a win column that has over 60 victories, the light-heavyweight is hoping to to make a title run with Bellator. After handing the promotion’s champion Christian M’Pumbu a unanimous decision loss in a non-title affair last October, and with a follow up win over Anthony Gomez last month, Wiuff has been green lit for Bellator’s summer light-heavyweight tourney.
“That was what I was hoping for,” Wiuff told FCF while discussing the upcoming competition which gets underway on June 22nd. “I think after I beat M’Pumbu they had to put me in the tournament.”
“My goal is to get back there and get the belt,” the UFC vet added. “I already deserve it, so, get through three opponents and fight the champion again.”
While Wiuff (66-14) has not been informed who he’s fighting yet in the competition’s opening round, recently Bellator announced that Atilla Vegh will face Roger Hollett, Richard Hale will fight Beau Tribolet and Marcus Vanttinen will battle Philipe Lins.
“I’m not really familiar with any of them,” Wiuff stated. “At this point I don’t really worry about that kind of stuff. Been in the sport long enough where I just worry about myself. I don’t worry about things I can’t control. I have one goal; to get the belt. Whoever I have to go through doesn’t matter.”
While Wiuff concedes that he’s not well informed on any of the confirmed participants, the 34 year-old-fighter believes his wrestling abilities are what sets him apart from the field thus far.
“I don’t think anybody in the tournament can stop a nosebleed; now they’re going to stop my takedowns?” The former NJCAA All American wrestler noted. “I’ve been wrestling for almost 30 years, so if they think they’re going to learn how to wrestle in a few months good luck to them.”
In fact, Wiuff believes recommitting to his wrestling is a key reason why the Minnesota fighter has gone 11-1 (with one no contest) since he was stopped by Stanislav Nedkov, at a Sengoku event in May, 2009.
“I think I’ve definitely rejuvenated my career,” said Wiuff, who credits decorated wrestlers like Nick Severson and Jim Richardson, as well as BJJ black belt Mario Roberto, for helping him evolve as a fighter . “I got a new set of training partners and just went back to the basics; went back to wrestling.”
“For the longest time I was thinking about too much,” Wiuff furthered. “If you break it all down, forget all the pretty stuff, just get out there and fight….It doesn’t matter where it is, or who it’s against, just get out there and fight. I feel the best I probably have in my whole career.”
Although Wiuff’s win over M’Pumbu was a memorable way to begin his Bellator tenure, a loss to the aforementioned Gomez last month might have hijacked the veteran’s title aspirations.
“I got the win; that’s the most important thing,” Wiuff said about his UD victory over Gomez at Bellator 60, which ended the latter’s four fight win streak. “Sometimes my fights aren’t going to be the most pretty things…I grind out victories and that’s what I’m good at it being a wrestler.”
“I was able to get a lot of takedowns and came close to finishing him a couple of times,” Wiuff noted. “He’s a tough kid; had a good record and some good wins. He’s young still and will do well in the sport, but I was able to control him with my wrestling. I felt really good.”