Tim Wilde: “I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and that the show would be back on the road eventually.”

Tim Wilde: “I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and that the show would be back on the road eventually.”

By Dan McConnell

Tonight Bellator returns to UK soil for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

On a huge card it features the rematch of former Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima v London’s very own Michael ‘Venom’ Page in the main-event inside the SSE Arena.

I caught up with current Bellator lightweight contender Tim Wilde who opens the main-card on Friday night, and is excited to put on those famous Bellator MMA gloves for the first time since November 2019.

We spoke about how lockdown was for him, main-eventing Bellator’s first ever show in the UK, training at Team Renegade with Leon Edwards and his fight this weekend.

Tim has fought under the BAMMA, Cage Warriors and now Bellator banners currently standing at 13-4 in his professional career.

Lockdown was very tough for the whole nation, and I wanted to know what it was like for a professional fighter and how he kept himself going.

“I’m always positive, I have a positive attitude and look on the bright side of life, and it’s really helped me get through Covid, and you know I have a 5 year old son who looks up to me very much so I have to set a good example to him. I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and that the show would be back on the road eventually.”

Wilde posted videos of himself training with his dog during lockdown, which went viral on social media and brought a much-needed funny side to the global crises the entire world was suffering from.

Before the pandemic struck Tim was riding the crest of a wave, he headlined Bellator Birmingham in the promotions first ever UK show, and then defeated Charlie Leary back in 2019. He had some good momentum going but like us all, life firmly came to an abrupt halt.

“Yeah I just started to get some good momentum going, I was actually matched up with Alife Davis in May 2020 and that fight fell through due to covid. I also got matched up against Chris Bungard in Milan but I got injured 4 weeks before the fight tearing my ACL and MCL.”

Alife Davis and Chris Bungard would have been two excellent fights for the Bellator lightweight. There was obvious disappointment for Tim not being able to fight on the Bellator Milan card and with his team-mate Fabian Edwards headlining the fight night. Wilde fights under the Team Renegade banner in Birmingham with the likes of Leon and Fabian Edwards, UFC fighter Tom Breese, Bellator’s Aiden Lee who just fought Aaron Pico and top UFC lightweight prospect Jai Herbert.

I have heard so many great things from this camp, and wanted to know what it was like to be a part of this stellar team.

“That’s a great question, when you get to an elite level of fighting on the higher level pro shows I believe you need to surround yourself with a higher level of training and sparring partners, as well as bring each other on in your career. That’s exactly what happens at Renegade, we have so many high level guys and we’re in it to be the best we can, help each other, we all grind and work hard. I like the team and setup. I’m very happy.

Tim is fighting on the Bellator 267 Lima v MVP 2 card in London tonight on a huge night for the UK MMA scene. I asked the 34-year old how excited is he, to fight for the first time with fans allowed back in stadiums. And what other fight is he looking forward to watching on the card.

“I just had a meeting ahead of the event and the Bellator officials announced that this is the largest crowd that they have ever drawn in the UK and with the most tickets sold. Fighting in my home country is a great experience and fighting a Frenchman hopefully everyone will be rooting for me. So I’m super excited. I love the venue, it’s an exciting card and I’ve got my team mate Yannick Bahati fighting after me too!”

The main-event is drawing attention from around the world, and Tim is looking forward to featuring on the card as well as watching the main event live.

“Douglas Lima  is an animal and MVP is a really slick striker, so I’m interested to see what MVP is going to do differently the second time around and how he’ll correct his mistakes from the first fight.”

Tim’s opponent is a tough Yves Landu, who knocked out Terry Brazier with a flying knee at Bellator 248. I asked what he makes of his opponent as a fighter and how he sees the fight playing out.

“Yves Landu is a veteran of the sport you can see that by his record, he has fought all over the world, He is a very explosive fighter which can be tricky but I see me having the edge striking because I hit harder, I do believe he will try and shoot for a takedown and not being able to finish it, or me getting up very easily. He will get desperate and leave his chin out there for me to take it off! He is a smart old fox so I will have to fully switch on. I believe I beat him 9 times out of 10.”

As Wilde trains with UFC top title contender Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards I had to ask him his opinion as to why he hasn’t received a title shot yet, especially after defeating the tough and former title contender Nate Diaz. This is a question on the lips of many MMA fans right now.

“Leon Edwards is a real specimen and I have trained with a lot of people over the years he really is a talented kit. There’s no one more deserving of a rematch and title shot than him. I have so much respect for him as he doesn’t just bend over and do what the UFC wants him to do, which is to hype the fight. He is his own person with his own personality and doesn’t change for anyone. In the gym he’s great to train with and is a fantastic coach.”

Wilde is eager to get back inside the Bellator cage for the first time since November 2019. From being unable to do his job due to the pandemic, to suffering an ACL and MCL injury it has been a rocky road for the 34-year old. But there is no doubt that training with the likes of Leon Edwards on a daily basis, Wilde is more than focused on the job at hand and climbing up the Bellator lightweight rankings.

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