Deron Winn has recently signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC, although his promotional debut has yet to be announced.
The undefeated prospect did sign with the UFC in the end, but also spoke with Bellator MMA and the Professional Fighters League before making a decision.
“After the Golden Boy fight, we kind of started to explore our options. We were basically trying to see who would offer me the most money, ultimately…I always wanted to sign with the UFC just because of being a fan for so long. I think that for who I am as a fighter…who I am as a person, it’ll match me the best. We had talks with…Golden Boy didn’t offer me anything, so I don’t know what they’re doing and then we talked to Bellator and we were gonna maybe try to get into that next Pro Fighter League tournament. It would’ve been so long, their next tournament isn’t going to be like until July or something. I wanted to fight before then, I fought in November and I’d like to fight again within the next two months or so. I want to stay active now that I’m in my prime, we kind of jumped on what offer fit me best and the UFC was it…here I am,” says Winn in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.
Winn is undefeated thus far as a professional MMA fighter, last defeating UFC veteran Tom Lawlor at Golden Boy MMA: Liddell vs. Ortiz III.
UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier is one of Winn’s main training partners, but a short notice fight at UFC 230 for DC caused some issues with Winn’s training camp for the Golden Boy MMA bout and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez was the savior.
“Cain’s (Velasquez) is the man and Cains very smart, he’s a very intelligent guy. He knows how to train, he takes care of his body. I always mess with him because we all live in Gilroy, which is right outside of San Jose and sometimes we’ll just go to this gym and get a workout in. Anytime Cain needs something…during my camp, there was a lot of time…like when DC took that short (notice) fight with Derrick Lewis. So basically DC’s team is my team, my manager Bob Cook and so they all left me in the midst of my camp like two weeks before my fight. I’m at the gym and not that I don’t have a great support system at the gym, but I’m like ‘my teams gone.’ But Cain didn’t go for the entire fight week, so I was like ‘would it be OK if you could during my camp…come do whatever.’ We grew a great bond during the Ultimate Fighter and he’s just a great guy and he doesn’t ask for anything, but he came in and he would come in for bike workouts…he’d watch my sparring…he would coach me. So now in return during his camp, I will…its hard to workout by yourself sometimes…its hard to work out at night. So I’m just there to support and lucky for me to be there just to be like an energy for him, to help him train. I get to witness the greatest heavyweight of all time and get to witness what he does to train and pick his brain and stuff like that, he’s good man…he’s fine. He’s being smart, I think his backs all good…all healed up and he trains hard. The thing is his cardio, he doesn’t stop training. He’s a man, obviously I’m biased, but I truly believe he has the tools to finish Francis (Ngannou) that Stipe (Miocic) didn’t. I think he puts a little bit more pressure on him, he’s a better striker than Stipe. I think Stipe’s awesome, I’ve always said this. When DC was fighting Stipe, we were at the show…it was hilarious because I always have this joke with DC like I don’t like him, but obviously I like all of them with all I got. I’ll sit there and talk with Stipe and I’m like ‘you know Stipe, usually when DC’s fighting somebody, I try to find something I don’t like about them. But you’re such a good guy that I might want you to win.’ I think Cains the man and I definitely think he’s one of the most inspirational…I love to be around him, I think he’s gonna do fine and after DV retires…he’s gonna take his belt back,” says Winn.
A newly signed Winn is planning on competing in the middleweight division, which is currently ruled by Robert Whittaker.