TJ Waldburger on TUF 16 Finale Bout With Nick Catone: “I’m Definitely Coming Out Swinging This Time”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although TJ Waldburger has been with the UFC for just two years, the Texas welterweight’s Octagon tenure has already been marked by several highs and lows. After being stopped by number one contender Johny Hendricks last March, Waldburger proceeded to score back-to-back wins over Mike Stumpf and Jake Hecht to extend his UFC record to 3-1.
In June, however, Waldburger came up short in a UFC on FX 4 bout with established veteran Brian Ebersole, who went on to score a unanimous decision win. While Waldburger was understandably disappointed that he didn’t win the high profile bout, the loss did produce some positives to draw from.
“I feel like I did some good things; I got to show a little bit more of myself, but I’m definitely upset,” Waldburger (15-7) revealed in a recent appearance on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “Mainly with my post weigh-in. I think that it had a little to do with my body, as far as my stamina, I think that had a little to do with it.”
“I think the fight still went pretty good,” the 24 year-old furthered. “It was a fun fight. It was a good fight for the fans and I think they enjoyed it…If you can put on a good show, a loss can be alright, but I’m definitely coming out swinging this time. I’m looking for the win; I’m not looking for an exciting loss. I’m going to win on this one and put on a good show.”
The bout Waldburger plans to come out “swinging” for is a December 15th tilt with Nick Catone, which will be part of the TUF 16 Finale card in Las Vegas.
“My thing has always been to react when it happens,” said Walburger, when asked if he’s been watching footage of Catone to break down the vet’s abilities. “I’m ready for anything. I know that he has strengths in certain areas. I know he’s a wrestler, so I’m going to be trying to look at wrestling a little bit more, reacting to that, being ready for everything.”
Catone (9-3) is coming off a stoppage loss (due to doctor’s decision) against Chris Camozzi in June, after scoring a UD victory over Constantinos Philippou in March, 2011. The loss marked the only time the rising Philippou has been defeated in the Octagon.
“I assume he’ll go into that,” said Waldburger, when asked if he’s expecting the 31 year-old Catone to try to take him to the mat. “The UFC’s bringing in a lot of wrestlers, but he has to be well rounded and I’m ready for anything…I’ll expect the wrestling and I’ll expect a good grappling match. I’m excited.”
“He’s a big guy, I believe he was a middleweight, so he should be big and strong,” Waldburger added. “So I’ll have to use my speed and work around that.”
Catone is only the latest experienced wrestler Waldburger will face, as Ebersole, Stumpf, Hecht and Hendricks all spent considerable time in college and high school on the wrestling mats.
“I focus on all areas,” said Waldburger, when asked if he’s been spending more time in particular training his wrestling. “I don’t want to have any holes in my game, but yeah, there’s a lot of wrestlers. You have to take that into account though. You have to learn that game, know what they can bring at you so you can be ready for it, know how to counter it and know the offensive side of its as well.”
The TUF 16 Finale will be hosted by The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and will be broadcast live on FUEL TV and FX.