Strikeforce Vet Bobby Voelker Excited to be Making Octagon Debut: “We’re Right at the Same Level as Those UFC Guys”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although 2012 went far differently than Bobby Voelker wanted or expected, the year did not come to an end without delivering some career altering news to the 33 year-old welterweight. Shortly after the recent announcement that Strikeforce’s relationship with Showtime is coming to a close–to signal the end of the promotion itself– the UFC announced that Voelker is among several Strikeforce vets headed to the Octagon in 2013. While the announcement can’t make up for a year that saw Voelker sidelined with a partially torn ACL and MCL, it makes the disappointing campaign sting much, much less.
“Absolutely; a huge relief,” Voelker said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing his move to the UFC and his upcoming March 16th bout with Patrick Cote. “I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t fought for Strikeforce, it’s been almost a year and a half since I fought for them, I figured they probably had forgot about me, they were probably going to let me go, and I’m not going to be a guy taken over to the UFC.”
Although Voelker (24-8) has not fought since July, 2011, UFC officials evidently did not forget about what the Kansas fighter did during his time with the promotion. Not only did Voelker go 4-1 under the Strikeforce banner, but the resilient welterweight is coming off back-to-back stoppage wins over Roger Bowling.
“It’s a great relief to know that okay, I’m being brought over and now it’s time to get pumped up, get ready and get it on.”
Word of Voelker’s move to the UFC came the same week that other Strikeforce competitors like Caros Fodor, Bobby Green and Robbie Lawler were also confirmed for upcoming UFC events.
“Honestly, most of us should be heading over there, you know?” Voelker noted. “We’re right there at the same level as those UFC guys. So, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to take most of the guys over there, because if they don’t take them over there, they’re just going to go to another organization.”
“Someone is going to grab them and try to build their organization off these guys so why not take them all over and prove themselves over in the UFC?”
In addition to signing with the UFC, Voelker has been given an immediate opportunity to score a high profile win in his Octagon debut, by facing former number one middleweight contender Patrick Cote. After middleweight Alessio Sakara –Cote’s original scheduled opponent–was forced to withdraw from UFC 158 due to kidney issues, the Canadian announced that he was moving to welterweight.
“I’m fighting a name and that’s exactly what I wanted,” said Voelker. “I didn’t want to come in and be on one of the first earlier undercard fights, I’m hoping we make it on the main card and everything; we’ll see how that goes.”
“He’s got his name set,” Voelker added about Cote, who is coming off a disqualification victory over Sakara at UFC 154 in November. “It’s a good name for me and a victory over him definitely knocks me up there a couple of notches, so I’m excited for it.”
During his run with Strikeforce, Voelker engaged and defeated noted strikers like Erik Apple and the aforementioned Bowling, and once again, he has been matched up with a man who is well known for his stopping power.
“You know what? I think he’s the perfect guy to match me up with,” Voelker said about the 32 year-old Cote. “We both love to slug it out, we’re both tough as nails, and I think we’re both going to come in and that’s the way the fight is going to go. I can see “Fight of the Night” right there between us two.”
UFC 158 will be hosted by Montreal’s Bell Centre on March 16th and will feature welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre versus Nick Diaz in the main event.