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2022 PFL Championship: Rob Wilkinson credits Israel Adesanya for PFL success (Video)

Rob Wilkinson takes on Omari Akhmedov in a light heavyweight bout at the PFL 2022 Championship on November 25th.

It’s hard to imagine someone having a more successful first season in the PFL than Rob Wilkinson has had this year. After getting cut by the UFC following a loss to Israel Adesanya in 2018, Wilkinson has slowly but surely made his way back to fighting in one of the world’s premier organizations. Ironically, Wilkinson attributes a lot of his post-UFC success to his relationship with Adesanya.

“I actually credit it a little bit to fighting Israel, and then going and training with him and learning a little bit off him. Just how those guys turned down the UFC…His coaches turned down the UFC for him for a couple of years before he was fully ready,” Wilkinson told FanSided’s Amy Kaplan during a pre-fight interview.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been released from the UFC…Then obviously Covid happened, and it was hard to get some fights. But I kind of just used that time preparing myself so that when I did get my second shot, my shot on a big promotion like this, I was gonna be ready. Kind of like how they (Israel’s team) were doing.”

Rob Wilkinson credits his post-UFC success with the PFL to fighting/training with Israel Adesanya

It was a grueling process to get back to the top for Wilkinson; a process that outlines the difficulties of making it as a professional fighter outside of a major organization.

“It was a long four years fighting for pretty much no money, not getting many fights at all, or getting back to a world stage. I just was making sure that when the opportunity came knocking, I was gonna be 100 percent ready to take that,” said Wilkinson.

Now given a second shot in a big promotion, Wilkinson certainly appears more ready than ever. After finshing his first three opponents in PFL in impressive fashion, he’ll look to keep his streak alive against Omari Akhmedov in the 2022 PFL light heavyweight championship.

“I feel like I match up against him (Akhmedov) well. He’s a shorter guy. A few of these light heavyweights probably should still be fighting at Middleweight, and I believe he’s probably one of them,” notes Wilkinson.

“I’ve definitely had my eye on him…one of the ex-UFC guys, very experienced…I think he’s probably one of the toughest in the division. When he left the UFC, I think he was still ranked in the top 15. He had heaps of fights in the UFC.”

Rob Wilkinson faces Omari Akhmedov at the 2022 PFL Championship for a prize of one million dollars

Despite the larger stage that the PFL provides compared to smaller organizations, Wilkinson insists that he isn’t feeling the pressure of the moment. In fact, he’s exactly where he wants to be.

“These are the fights I’m looking for at the moment. I want to start making a name for myself, and you gotta beat decent guys, you gotta beat good guys. I’m not expecting any pushovers or any easy wins at the moment,” said Wilkinson.

Generally speaking, a step-up in competition comes with a step-up in pay grade for fighters. This is especially true in the PFL, where championship fighters compete for a one million dollar prize. As nice of a payday as that would be, Wilkinson isn’t concerned with the money; he just wants to be the best.

“That’s my goal since I set out with fighting. To be a world champion. That means more to me than the money. Obviously, the money is amazing as well, and life-changing. But the world title…that’s one of my goals and that’s what im looking forward to achieving on the 25th,” said Wilkinson.

“Once I’m a world champion, no one can ever take that away from me.”

The 2022 PFL World Championship will take place on Friday, November 25 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

 

 

 

 

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