Tom Watson Has International Appeal
Already a top-ranked contender for the MFC’s middleweight title and one of the most-potent strikers in the entire organization, Watson is in position to become something that the MFC has never had before – a truly international star.
Because of his mass appeal and social media accessibility, Watson has become a popular figure in his native England and in both countries where he trains – the United States and Canada. His Canadian fan base in particular has grown exponentially thanks in large part to his appearance at MFC 24: Heat XC but Watson is far from forgotten in his homeland or in the U.S.
While the MFC has featured countless fighters over the years in prominent roles and as home-town favorites, Watson has the chance to become the first fighter to have international drawing power.
“I’ve always had a bit of a following in the U.K. due to the fights I’ve been involved in,” explained Watson, who will sport a 12-3 record going into his expected clash at MFC 26 in September.
“It was great to see the Canadian fans appreciate the humor of my (ring) entrance at MFC 24 and I hope to give them more of the same in September. I have been training in America for over three years now so that has helped my exposure in the States as well.”
At MFC 24, Watson strutted to the ring to funky soul music all while sporting a gorilla mask in homage to his nickname “Kong.” But what’s a stylish ring entrance worth if you don’t back it up with some substance when the bell rings? Watson certainly did that, scoring a near-lethal head-kick knockout of Travis Galbraith. The first-round sudden stoppage is most definitely a candidate for the MFC’s Knockout of the Year and instantly put Watson on the map as a contender and budding star.
That convincing win was Watson’s seventh straight positive verdict and was a resounding debut, both in the organization and on North American soil. Watson will get his chance to show the world his talents at MFC 26 when he steps into the ring for the first time on HDNet Fights.
“(Against Galbraith) I remember being thoroughly prepared for a jiu-jitsu battle and didn’t really train too much striking too be honest,” recalled Watson. “But years’ of hard work is always there and as soon as it landed I knew it was over. No one can take my kicks clean on the jaw and not get knocked out. My coach Eric O’Keefe put together a great game plan. We knew what Galbraith’s moves would be and the rest fell into place.”
And so did Galbraith, with a crashing face-first thud to the canvas. Should Watson come away from MFC 26 with another victory tucked securely into his back pocket, he has been assured of a crack at the MFC’s middleweight crown – an emblem that has only been worn once before when Patrick Cote took the honor way back at MFC 9 in March 2006.
“Of course it won’t be easy but nothing worth doing in life is easy. I came into the MFC with the belief that I would become champion. I will achieve this goal,” declared Watson, who is hoping the road to the title goes straight through Drew McFedries – his potential opponent at MFC 26.
“I really hope it is McFedries as for sure he will come and stand and bang with me. I have never been knocked out in 50 fights but he has big power so for the fans that is a great fight. I have no doubt I can do whatever it takes to win and put myself forward to fight whoever the MFC decides.”
One thing for sure with Watson, whatever fights await him, he will undoubtedly do his best at creating as much hype as possible and even fire off a few verbal jousts at his foe. It’s just ingrained in British fighters that part of their job is to heat up the pre-fight antics with some ribbing – good-natured or not. While some in the martial arts world frown on that behavior, it’s a necessary part of the business both for the fighter and the organization to stand out in the crowded world scene.
Like his good friend Paul Daley, Watson isn’t shy about tossing out the quote-worthy lines, shooting them out like a stiff jab.
“Not all British fighters are like that … just the good ones!”