Strikeforce has a deep talent pool in the middleweight division. Although champion Jake Shields may be leaving for the UFC soon, there are plenty of great fighters looking to take his spot. A win over Souza would be Villasenor’s fifth in a row and possibly set him up with one of the top contenders in the division.
“This is where I wish I had been more active,” explained “Smokin Joe”. “This fight will definitely show everyone that I am a real contender. In my mind, I view this bout as a championship caliber fight. A win here could possibly put me in line for a shot at whoever is champion – or at the very least push me towards the top. In my heart, I feel this is a huge fight not only for me, but for Strikeforce as well. A lot of people have forgotten who I am because of my inactivity, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like going into this fight as an underdog.”
While fighting for Strikeforce seems to have made Villasenor a happy camper he almost signed on elsewhere, but Scott Coker swooped in and brought him back at the last minute.
“After my last fight with “Cyborg” I became a restricted free agent,” Villasenor said. “The contract that Strikeforce purchased from Elite had some restrictions in it that allowed them to match any other offers I received. The UFC came in with a very nice deal and I was all ready to sign, but Strikeforce invoked their right to match. I am very happy with how things turned out. This is exactly where I want to be at this point in my career.
“Strikeforce has a great middleweight division and they really treat me well. Scott Coker is a great man and has been in the business a long time. Normally I try to stay away from the people who sign my paychecks, but Scott is a cool dude. He brought me out to watch one of his cards and then brought me to the Pro Bowl. At the end of the day, it’s still a business and decisions have to be made for the good of the company. With CBS and Showtime involved I’m pretty sure they are persuading Strikeforce which direction to go in. I would have to assume they have a say in who fights whom and so far everything has gone well for me.”
Last but not least an interview with a Greg Jackson trained fighter can’t be complete without talking about the man himself and how effective his methods truly are.
“Having Greg and Mike Winklejohn together makes a great combination,” explained an excited Villasenor. “When you have someone like Jackson in your corner he can really calm you down. When I see their faces it makes me think that we are back in the gym as opposed to fighting in front of thousands of people. Everything else doesn’t seem to matter. I can just focus on what my coaches have to say and that is more valuable than you will ever know.”