2022 PFL Champion Rob Wilkinson feels underappreciated: ‘UFC fighters are put on a pedestal for some reason’


Rob Wilkinson wants to prove he’s among the best in the world, and he believes he can do just that on his next assignment.

The 2022 PFL light heavyweight champion returns to the cage on April 1 in the co-main event of 2023 PFL 1 in Las Vegas. Wilkinson (17-2 MMA) welcomes former UFC title challenger Thiago Santos to the PFL. The Australian sees this as a great opportunity to prove himself on the MMA landscape.

“He’s been fighting the top guys in the UFC for ages now,” Wilkinson told MMA Junkie Radio. “His last fight was against now reigning UFC champion Jamahal Hil. So I think going out there and making a statement and making it look easy in a way to be able to perform better than all these guys in the UFC against him, I think that really shows that there are a lot of fighters out there. not just in the UFC. We see this all the time – UFC fighters who go to the PFL think they can have good fights and make a million bucks quick, and that wasn’t the case at all. I’m looking forward to Thiago.”

Wilkinson feels underappreciated by the masses. With a six-fight win streak and his most recent loss to Israel Adesanya in 2018, Wilkinson believes he should be considered one of the best light heavyweights in the world.

He thinks the UFC’s label is unfairly overshadowing those who do good work outside of the octagon.

“I definitely want that respect,” Wilkinson said. “I’ve seen some of these world rankings, you know how low I am in some of these rankings. I think UFC fighters are put on a pedestal above all other promotions for some reason. I’m a world champion of what? One of four major promotions and I definitely consider myself a top 10 and I want to prove that I’m the best light heavyweight in the world. That’s why I’m looking forward to this fight.”

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Whether he gets the credit, whether he feels he deserves it or not, Wilkinson sees the Santos match as something other than an opportunity to show the world what he’s capable of. Wilkinson views Santos as the toughest challenge of the PFL light heavyweight season. Eliminating the Brazilian will send a message to the rest of the contenders.

“I think this fight almost feels like a bigger fight than last year’s finals,” Wilkinson said. “It’s a big name and probably the toughest guy in the tournament to sing for myself.

“I think it’s going to be exciting to go out there and make a statement and get a finish and kind of really show that… I don’t want anybody to want to fight me. I want them to be like, ‘F*ck’ when they’re paired with me. I want to make a statement with Thiago and scare everyone to fight me.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie



Source : sports.yahoo.com

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