Ahead of his main event fight at this weekend’s Cage Warriors Academy show, Aaron Khalid believes he has the tools to get past a tough opponent in Phil Wells.
Khalid (5-2-1) comes into the fight having previously defeated a top prospect in Adam Proctor in his last outing, and he feels well prepared to stretch his winning run to four. He said:
“Preparation and training has been coming along really well.
“I feel like I’ve improved in all areas, and I’m feeling fit and ready.”
Khalid in the main event? No problem
Just like his opponent, Khalid feels no pressure in being promoted to the main event of Saturday’s show. If anything, the cancellation of the fight between Josh Reed and Damo Weeden serves to give Cardiff’s Khalid more exposure.
“I’ve fought in the main event twice before if I remember, and nope, [being promoted to the main event] changes nothing.
“If anything, it gives me a bit more exposure, but my mindset is still the same.”
In Phil Wells (8-3), Khalid faces what he believes to be his toughest fight to date, though he remains confident of coming away with the win on the night. He has the added bonus of fighting on home soil against an opponent who, though fights out of nearby Swindon, will definitely be competing on enemy territory. Khalid said:
“This will be my third fight in Newport, as both professional and amateur level, and so I have kind of gotten around to the idea of not adding pressure on myself, regardless of whether the fight is at home or away. Saying that, it is always a bonus to see friendly faces after the fight.
“This is a tough fight for me. Phil is an awkward opponent as he’s both taller and longer than me.
“I don’t see him stopping me though, I think I beat him in every area. I’ll stop him.”
A future champion in Khalid’s corner?
Such confidence comes with training alongside several top fighters at South Wales’ MAT Academy, including a fellow Welterweight who just might be next in line for a shot at Karl Ammoussou’s Cage Warriors belt. Indeed, he will even be in Khalid’s corner, come fight night.
“In my corner I’ll have wrestling coach Arash Shojaei, Muay Thai coach Joey Brincat, and the soon to be Cage Warriors Welterweight champion, Lewis Long.”
Thinking ahead to the future, Khalid is aware of the opportunities that could come his way, especially considering that Cage Warriors Wales promoter Richard Shore hinted at a potential feature fight for the winner of this when the promotion returns to Newport in May. However, he is not one to overlook the challenge ahead, though he has been inspired by the success of fellow Welsh fighters Jack Marshman and Brett Johns in recent times, saying:
“I’m not thinking past the fight with Phil, all my thoughts and energy is going into this fight. Afterwards, I’ll think about the future.
“[Marshman and Johns] have opened the doors for the Welsh, and I’m sure that the UFC will start marketing here soon. I’d like to make it to the big leagues, but I’m far from there at the moment.
“One size 12 footstep at a time!”
Of course, the next step in Khalid’s journey is the fight with Wells, and he thinks he knows just how to beat the SVT Swindon fighter.
“Pressure, pressure, pressure, I’ll bring the fight to him and be the first to every attack. He’s going to have to fight at my pace.
“I can’t wait for this fight, Phil is my toughest opponent yet, but everything’s gone well, and I’m predicting a second round stoppage, either via ground and pound TKO, or by submission.”