Jason Wilnis will never pretend he’s the best trash talker – he only asks people to look at his resume now that he’s fighting in MMA.
The 31-year-old former GLORY middleweight kickboxing champion is a rare breed because he holds wins over two of the best kickboxers in MMA: UFC champion Israel Adesanya and top prospect Alex Pereira.
As he prepares for his third MMA fight at KSW 70, Wilnis understands he’s not going to fight either one of them in the immediate future. But he does predict they will again cross paths.
“Everybody can say what they want,” Wilnis told MMA Fighting. “I’m not a big talker, but I have two wins over Pereira, he has one win over me. I have one win over Adesanya. I even have a win over Joe Schilling, [and] he has one win over me.
“I can compare with these guys, and even in MMA, I can do a lot more than I do in kickboxing. So we’re working on it, and I can’t wait to rematch these guys again and show them my skills. My skill level in MMA.”
Thus far in his young MMA career, Wilnis has amassed a 2-0 record with one knockout, and he’ll go for his third win, facing fellow undefeated prospect Radosław Paczuski.
Wilnis isn’t looking to follow in the footsteps of Adesanya or Pereira, but he knows the comparisons are tough to ignore given the success they’ve both found in a relatively short time since making the full-time transition to MMA.
“We have a lot of kickboxing experience,” Wilnis explained. “Of course, it helps us in the cage time. It helps because we start standing up. We are kickboxing, so we know what stand up is like.
“We have our different paths, but maybe we can see each other in the UFC later. I think that’s the plan for me, for Alex Pereira also. He wants to fight Adesanya. I also want to fight one of them. Different paths but somewhere the same goal.”
While kickboxers have been fighting in MMA for decades at this point, Wilnis feels like he has a better understanding of what’s expected if he hopes to find success long term. Because he has a reputation for his ferocious striking style, the man nicknamed “Psycho” has worked diligently to add all of the other parts to his game that will allow him to face off with any style of opponent without panicking that he’ll almost certainly be fighting off takedowns.
Despite what might be perceived as deficiencies when he first started, Wilnis found himself enjoying MMA more than he ever imagined.
“It’s a totally different world,” he said. “I had to learn wrestling. I had to learn grappling, fighting off the cage, fighting off my back, learning the escapes, the clinch. Standing strikes are different also. You have a different stance. The stance is wider, the stance is lower, the combinations are more individual, not large combinations.
“We had to train a lot to get this done. A lot of training, but I think I’m on a good level now. I like the way of MMA with smaller gloves, not so long combinations, the clinch, the elbows, I like this way of fighting more than kickboxing.”
With plans to eventually face Adesanya again in the future, Wilnis compliments “The Last Stylebender” for the way he’s adapted his striking style to fit MMA as he’s become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Wilnis believes he has those same abilities, and now, he’s just anxious to show it off.
“This type of style is different than kickboxing,” he said. “I’ve got some guys I trained with, they’re good kickboxers but they come into MMA and their stance is different. They don’t understand the combinations, and then they get taken down a lot easier. For some kickboxers like Adesanya, he’s more capable of throwing strikes, and his movements are more efficient in MMA than kickboxing.
“He understands the game good. Everything just fits for him. Some guys just try to kickbox but in MMA, that doesn’t work. I’m getting more confident. I know what to expect now. I know what I can do in MMA. I have some good experience for this third fight and I’m a lot more confident.”
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