Following his monumental win at BAMMA 27, Nathan Jones feels primed for a world title shot as a familiar foe enters the Welterweight mix.
Jones (10-5) put on the best performance of his career taking a split decision victory over undefeated, 16-0 opponent Walter Gahadza at the 3Arena, Dublin.
BAMMA 27 – which doubled up with Bellator 169 – reached an audience of 2.4 million viewers when it was streamed over UniLAD’s Facebook page on Friday, December 16.
The fight between Jones and Gahadza was hotly anticipated and after enduring a tough opening first round, Team Titan fighter Jones came back to dominate the second before coasting the final five minutes.
It was an achievement a long time coming for “Mr. Bag & Tag” who had secured a five-fight win streak, including three regional titles before dropping a difficult decision to SBG Ireland boy Peter Queally at BAMMA 24.
Jones expressed what validation the win over highly touted Gahadza meant for his career: “I said this is the face of joy and satisfaction, but it’s also the face of when visualisation meets preparation, my team, everyone that’s worked with me believed in me.
“We knew we could take this, we knew he wasn’t the guy. I’m at that level, I’m fighting guys that are at the cusp of the UFC, had he beaten me I wouldn’t have been surprised if he got signed. I’m at the top of the division, there’s no two ways about it.“
After beating Colin Fletcher at BAMMA 25 – albeit by disqualification – the hype behind Gahadza continued to spur, as the “Black Sniper” furthered his undefeated record. A Lonsdale title should have been up for grabs, but Jones isn’t fretting about the decision as he now sets his eyes on the grandest prize in the BAMMA Welterweight division.
“I was on a loss so that’s why I wasn’t shouting the odds but take that out of the equation and I was on a five fight win streak with three regional belts. The match-up was definitely worthy for the title but forget the Lonsdale title, like I just said, I’m at the top of the division, I’m looking at the world title now and taking Walter out, I’m in contention.”
It was a heart warming night for Jones, who began his career in 2011, finally gaining his acclaim as he hoisted the chequered racing flag above his head in memory of his late friend James. He described the importance of the flag and how it helped him push through the odds in Dublin.
“The flag was for my late friend James, he was into racing and stuff. That’s one of my oldest serving best friends, met him when I was 12 and we’ve been friends ever since. He was at my first fight and he was at my last fight in Dublin, and that fight in Dublin was on his Birthday so he made the effort to fly out on my birthday to come and support me and then he died three months after. So that flag was there to represent us crossing the finish line together. I signed that dotted line, James was with me and when I walked out I could have fought Walter and his whole team, James was with me and I was representing and I personally put that down to why I was able to turn the tide of the fight, his spirit.”
Days before Jones competed in Ireland, BAMMA announced the signing of Welterweight prospect Alex Lohore who Jones shares a tumultuous relationship with.
Jones joked: “I actually want to be like Alex Lahore,” before bursting out in laughter.
The perennial Welterweight contender went on to explain the beef with new signing Lohore and how the 10-1 fighter should have to beat someone before receiving a title shot.
“At the end of the day I’m five fights deep in BAMMA now, I’m a vet and even with my last fight against Queally the belt wasn’t put up, even with Gahadza it wasn’t put up so why would he just be able to get a title shot? It’s not fair, he’d have to win first to get a shot at the belt.
“He’s got a wicked record but when you compare me with him, I just beat a 16-0 fighter in an international arena, he’s just beat a 3-1 fighter in my local leisure center. Facts is facts and when we’re talking about a rivalry he needs to pass his test now in the division before he’s able to fight for a belt in my opinion.”
Based in Richmond upon Thames where he runs In the BAG – Performance Training and Coaching, Jones opened up about regional promoters trying to book the fight in the past and why the match-up would make the most ‘noise’ in London.
“The story’s definitely building, he’s been using my name calling me out, he’s using me and my achievements to bump himself up. I sense a bit of jealousy there; he wants what I’ve got.
“I’m a certified hitman, if his name gets called up, I’ll sign on the dotted line not a problem. I have accepted him as an opponent before, however the purse wasn’t right. I’m a professional, so I’m not going to just fight for silly money.
“I would love for that fight to happen in London because that’s where we’re from and where it will make the most noise. Flying us out to Dublin or Birmingham or to Belfast is going to have less of an impact. It’s not so much about the attendance but what we can do for the wider audience.”