After his decision defeat against Curtis Blaydes, Justin Willis was controversially released from the UFC. Weeks later and 'Big Pretty' explains the situation which led to his departure.
Willis (8-2) had won his first three fights inside the octagon, notably defeating Mark Hunt in the 'Super Samoan's final UFC outing. However, that win streak was halted opposite Blaydes, losing via Unanimous Decision but remaining ranked in the promotion's Heavyweight standings. Nonetheless, he was swiftly cut which understandably surprised most onlookers.
In an interview on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, Willis detailed the factors that led to the decision. “I only wanted one fight. And that fight is Tai Tuivasa. That’s one reason. Reason two is I wanted to get my weight under control and actually come in a lot more fitter, a lot more quicker, a lot more everything. That’s number two. Number three is I wanted a chance to actually go through a camp with DC.
"He fights August 14th so my date that they gave originally with Walt Harris, it’s not about the guy’s name necessarily. It’s about more so, the date and the date was August, somewhere around when DC fights so that I’m actually able to go through a full camp with him as well."
However, Willis didn't elaborate on how that warranted his release. Instead, Willis refused to "make sense out of nonsense" and concluded by saying "we’ll be political here, I don’t know."
Nonetheless, Willis swiftly had options as a free agent but maintains that his real interest surrounds a fight with Tuivasa. "As soon as the news came out that the UFC was trying to cut me, I got offers on top of offers that came in immediately. That’s not what I really wanted, what I really want is Tai Tuivasa’s head on my wall."
Willis remains hopeful that his next fight will take place in the octagon but is uncertain of the current situation, delegating the matter to his management team. "Honestly, I don’t know what’s going on right now. That’s between them and my management. We have some stuff working out right now and that’s between the UFC and my management. I’m letting them take care of all that stuff."