After producing a pair of fighters that went two for two in performance bonuses, Michigan’s WXC promotion is putting the UFC on notice with stellar cards aired on UFC FIGHT PASS.
Promotions like LFA and Cage Warriors have a long history of putting elite talent into the UFC. Now that the UFC is dipping their toes into the WXC pool, fighters are showing that they’re not just happy to be there; they’re after bonus money.
Khaos Williams introduced himself to the world at UFC 247. As a last-minute replacement for two-time TUF runner up, Dhiego Lima, Williams stood across the Octagon from 17-5 hometown welterweight Alex Morono. Yet battling the crowd and being on the wrong side of the experience battle in his UFC debut seemed easy for Williams.
Williams took the Octagon with no worries that he was seemingly a last-minute sacrificial lamb to the hometown wolf.
“I’m a wolf myself,” Williams said. “You really can’t prey on a predator. I think they knew it was going to be a good fight. He was scheduled to fight Dhiego Lima, who’s a striker. Well I’m a world-class striker. Me filling in for him was just a perfect fit.”
In 27 seconds, Williams became the first person to ever completely shut the lights out on Morono, who had waited over three years to fight in front of his hometown fans again.
With names on the card such as Derrick Lewis, Jon Jones, Valentina Shevchenko, Dan Ige and many more, Williams strutted out of the arena $50,000 richer.
UFC Las Vegas 3 included another short notice WXC veteran who stole the show.
Justin Jaynes spent 2018 and 2019 going 3-0 in WXC with three stoppages. With an overall record of 15-4, Jaynes put away 22-8 UFC veteran Frank Camacho in 41 seconds. Fueled by a Dana White speech, Jaynes went out and changed his life.
“I’m sick of living paycheck to paycheck,” Jaynes said. “I make $25,000 a year and I’m sick of this s***. I’m going out there and whether I get knocked out or knock him out I’m going to throw as hard as I can and I’m going to sit in the pocket until my gas tank is on zero.”
It was the most fun Jaynes has ever had in his life. He has now accomplished everything he’s ever set out to do. With a welcome re-evaluation of goals in front of him, Jaynes is already back in the gym with a smile on his face ready for more.
Williams and Jaynes are both known for their well-rounded skillsets. Stoppages well exceed decisions, so the fights are always exciting. Now that they’re in the UFC it might just get better.
“If you lose in the regional circuit your career is over,” Jaynes said. “I’ve gone in and demonstrated my skillset, but I couldn’t let my hands go. I couldn’t let my kicks go because it’s always in the back of my head. I’m not saying I’m not out there fighting to win because I am, but there’s a little bit of me fighting not to lose.”
With WXC putting out fighters who are UFC ready, both Williams and Jaynes share confusion as to why the state that produced Kevin Lee, Tony Ferguson, Daron Cruickshank and many more is buried under the radar.
“I really don’t know what’s going on as far as views or as far as people being able to see any Detroit talent, but there’s a lot of talent in the city of Detroit and definitely a lot of hungry fighters,” Williams said.
Now that both men have UFC contracts thanks to the WXC and performances to live up to in the Octagon, The Motor City is pretty far in the rear-view, right? Wrong.
Williams spends his time outside of the UFC with his Detroit real estate investment business and Jaynes has aspirations of commentating for the WXC when events ramp back up.
Jaynes and Williams both explain that their experience with the WXC wasn’t a stepping stone. Fighters in the regional circuit who make the walk to the WXC cage often find themselves sticking around. It doesn’t appear that has changed for Jaynes and Williams. They’re both looking forward to getting used to the bright lights of the UFC, but the Southgate cage has and always will be home.
“I don’t see myself as a big shot. I know where I’m from, I know my roots,” Jaynes said. “I’m always rooting for hometown guys because that’s where I came from. I love seeing other people do it. People are going to start opening their eyes to Michigan and realize how tough that circuit is and how tough the WXC is.”
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