After fulfilling his career-long goal of reaching the UFC in 2020, welterweight Jason Witt started off his 2021 on a down note suffering a loss to Matt Semeisberger, but managed to rebound with a victory over Bryan Barberena in July to even out his record for the year.
Due to his win over Barberena, Witt was able to secure a contract and keep his UFC dream alive going into 2021.
“I fought (Bryan) Barberena, and at the time that was kind of do-or-die for me,” Witt told MMAWeekly.com. “If I lost the fight I was probably going to get cut from the UFC and was probably going to retire, and I didn’t want to go out like that.
“I won the fight and got a Fight of the Night bonus and got a brand new contract. It solidified the rest of the year for me knowing that I was going to be in the UFC.”
For Witt, the biggest jump he makes in his game comes from working on the more minute aspects, which leads to the most improvements.
“I think I have great wrestling, I have great wrestling and striking and stuff like that, but it’s the fine details; holding people down and making it real hard for people to get up, tightening up my striking a little bit; those little things make me a lot better fighter,” said Witt.
“Also mentally just making sure I’m getting more confident in fighting.”
On February 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Witt (19-7) will look to pick up his second win in a row when he takes on Phillip Rowe (8-3) in a 170-pound preliminary bout at UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Strickland.
“We had asked for this fight the night we fought Barberena,” Witt said. “We knew what (Rowe) was capable of, what his skills were, and how it’d be a good match-up for us.
“It’s kind of a classic grappler-vs-striker-type scenario. I know he’s a good grappler and has been doing a lot of tournaments, but I know what I’m capable of doing, and my skillset of being able to take him down and ground and pound him will really solidify my performance.”
For Witt the main focus is always his upcoming fight, regardless of when, where, and at what point in his career it is at.
“The year doesn’t matter to me; this year, last year, next year; it’s the fight ahead of me (that matters),” said Witt. “I’m trying to maul the person in front of me regardless of who it is. That’s what I’m trying to put a stamp on.”