Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

June 16, 2014

VSU student preps for first pro MMA bout

VALDOSTA —  “Once I stepped in the cage for the first time, I never wanted to look back,” said 25-year-old Valdosta State student Channin Williams.

Cleverly nicknamed “The Cannon”, Williams is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter who will be fighting in his first professional MMA fight on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mathis Auditorium. Williams, who is originally from Albany and came to VSU to major in biology, has achieved an amateur MMA record of 8-1-1.

“I’m explosive and I know what I’m doing. You light the fuse, and the cannon goes off, that’s me,” said Williams.

Williams began amateur MMA fighting in 2009 when he was a sophomore at VSU. Wanting to be a wrestler, Williams attempted to join a wrestling team at VSU. However there was no team available so he looked for other options to pursue his passion for fighting.

“VSU was supposed to get a wrestling team but it never happened. I went around Valdosta looking for a gym to go to and I found a MMA gym. At first I was just looking for a gym to work out at but after a while, they asked me if I wanted to fight and I said sure why not,” said Williams.  

Williams began to learn the art of MMA fighting and mixed it with his wrestling skills he learned in high school. He won his first amateur fight due to his wrestling skills.

“I’m a wrestler and ground and pounder. I like to take people down and beat them up,” said Williams. “My first fight was two weeks after my 20th birthday. I won the fight but I got beat up pretty bad. I won because of my wrestling skills and if I didn’t know how to do that, I would have lost the fight.”

Winning eight fights as an amateur, Williams called his first loss a “boring fight.”

“I won eight fights before my first loss. The fight right before was a tie. The tie probably hurt me more than the loss. The tie could have gone either way and I felt like I could have done more. In the loss, we got fight of the night, but after the tie, I wasn’t even tired. All he did was lay on top of me and it was a pretty boring fight,” said Williams.

Williams is 5-foot-7 and 145 pounds and while preparing for his first pro match, he bulked up and trained harder than he has ever done before.  

“Going from amateur to pro, amateurs can’t use their elbows. I’ve been working on using my elbows more now. I’ve been touching up on the new stuff I can do and not focus so much on the stuff I’m already good at. Using the elbows makes it a bloodier fight,” said Williams.

“I put on five pounds of muscle from doing two-a-days. I’d lift, take a break, do cardio, take a break, and then go train. It’s really exhausting at first but your body gets used to it. I’m a little bigger now and I think it’s worth it having the extra strength.”

Williams trains locally at Valdosta Combat Sports off St. Augustine Road and has a very strenuous workout routine.

“I do the tire push, box jumps and heavy bag work. We do speed ladders and literally practice jumping over the things we kick. Sometimes you’re like what does it have to do with fighting and it looks crazy but it’s all about having that explosive power. You need so much endurance to do it,” said Williams. “It really helps to be in top shape.”

In his fight on Saturday, he will be taking on a boxer style MMA fighter, William Faust.

“I have a lot of anticipation about the fight. The nerves I get are never about being nervous about the fight but it’s always anxiety about actually getting in the cage to fight. Once they lock the cage and I see another guy across from me ready to hurt me, I lose the nerves,” said Williams.

With a college degree in sight, Williams pointed out that he wants a career in MMA fighting and plans to use his college degree as a backup.

"I want to fight and I know it’s a hard road and one out of a million make it, but I want to be that one out of a million,” said Williams.

“I used to want to be a veterinarian. I still love animals but I don’t see myself in that career field anymore. I’m more of a physical person now so I major in kinesiology because I want to be a personal trainer one day and help people achieve their fitness goals.”

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