Name: Jason Witt Age: 28 Height: 5’11 Weight Class: Lightweight Record: 6-2 (1 KO, 4 Sub., 1 Dec.) Fighting Out Of: Kansas City, Missouri (Glory MMA) Notable Wins: Ryan Dickson Jason Witt isn’t a household name yet, but having been dubbed “The Vanilla Gorilla” is certainly one of the more unusual nicknames in the sport. Witt recalls how UFC veteran Jason High gave him the nickname. “There was a point two years ago when I [had a terrible] cut to 155 pounds” Witt told MMAOddsBreaker. “It really messed my system up, I didn’t do it right. I actually won the fight by knockout. After the fight my body, I think it was in survival mode. I think I went from 175 to 195 pounds in the matter of a month in a half. One of coaches was Jason High, he’s like ‘man you’re so athletic but you’re so big and muscular, you look like a vanilla Gorilla’ and the whole class started laughing. Just from then on it just stuck. You don’t pick your nicknames so I was kind of lucky to have one that made me laugh and worked out for myself.” Witt got introduced to mixed martial arts after working for his uncle, a former kick boxer and boxer, and immediately fell in love with the sport. Growing up in Missouri, Witt also had the added benefit of competing in a state that had no shortage of MMA events. The Midwest has become a great place for aspiring MMA fighters to hone their craft, and Witt has become a beneficiary. “We have a tier of fights. When you were an amateur you could fight every month if you want to get that experience. [Kansas City Fighting Alliance] is becoming one of the biggest shows in Kansas City. We’ve also got Bellator right around us [us too]. We have companies that are building a repertoire. So its making it easier for people like me to get experience and get good fights in there. Kansas City area it’s kind of blown up in the last couple years, it’s phenomenal.” The Glory MMA product has established himself on the Midwest circuit, but his aspirations are much greater than that. This past April he tried out for Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter and while he wasn’t selected for the popular reality series, the wealth of knowledge he gained was invaluable. “It was definitely a good experience no matter what, there is no [such thing as] bad publicity. I just fought Josh Tully [the Saturday before the tryouts] and my eye was completely shut still. You get to Vegas, wake up at 7:30 in the morning and you go to the tryouts. You’re waiting in the line full of people. I didn’t start going till about 4:30pm, I didn’t even make it past the grappling round. I don’t know why that was; they said I didn’t have an experienced enough record. It was a good learning experience, I got to meet the producers, matchmakers, they met me, and they know who I am. Now I just have to keep getting fights.” Despite being sent home early from the tryouts, Witt received a phone call shortly after from his manager Joe Wooster about a fight up in Canada. While he had just fought in April, the 28-year old jumped at the opportunity. “I was sitting down, it was actually my girlfriend’s birthday, and we’re eating cake and ice cream. I get a text from Joe saying ‘Hey can you make 162 pounds in three weeks against Ryan Dickson?’ I’m one of those people who don’t hesitate, I said yes. I don’t care who the opponent is, I just want to fight.” Witt travelled to Burlington, Ontario, Canada last month Global Warriors FC 2. His 25-year old opponent Dickson, had been known as one of the top prospects in Canada with a 10-3 record. The odds were against Witt heading into this matchup and the nerves were getting to him. “There were so many factors going into the fight that were different for me. I never fought outside the country, my mother has been to every single one of my fights and she didn’t make this one. It was a lighter weight class, it was short notice, it was against a guy who had more fights than me. That all played into the back of my head. Normally when I fight, even when I get to the cage I’m fine, my mind’s calm. For this fight, I knew what Dickson was brining to the table. He had really good jiu-jitsu, take downs and wrestling. A lot of that played into my head. Even when they were announcing his name. I was kind of reassuring myself, which normally doesn’t happen in a fight. It definitely played a big part in the preparation in the fight, I enjoyed it and I accepted the challenge.” This co-main event matchup was supposed to be a showcase fight for Dickson, who was coming off a loss in January. Instead Witt shocked the Canadian audience by winning the catchweight affair by first round TKO. The crowd went silent. “That was one of the best moments in my entire life, I’m not going to lie. All the stuff leading up to it, fighting up north, not having my family there, all that stuff. Put together with that knock-out victory over a really tough opponent like Ryan Dickson. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, I could not compare it to anything. He had twice as many fights as I did; I obviously hadn’t fought anybody of his calibre. He’s the toughest opponent of my career at the moment. He probably overlooked me a little bit. There were a couple things that worked to my advantage; he doesn’t move his head a lot. He didn’t have a lot of footwork, he kind of stayed in front of me a little more. So I took advantage of that. My repertoire is a lot of footwork and head movement. I’m very athletic and it just worked out to my advantage.” In addition to earning the victory, Witt also handed Dickson the first knockout loss of his career. His cornerman UFC lightweight James Krause believed in Witt’s power and thought his pupil could earn the finish against the Canadian prospect. However Witt even admitted himself that an early stoppage wasn’t something he predicted. “I predicted a second round TKO that was what I wanted. To get a knockout in the first round, its definitely [impressive] I knew he was going to be tough, I was pretty nervous going into that fight [and] no I didn’t predict a first round knockout. I never thought I’d fight in Canada, I never thought I’d fight something that big. Now I feel like the sky’s the limit for me, I can do whatever I want to do in this sport. So I’m just going to keep going with it and hopefully I do have more success and make it to the big show. Following the victory, Witt was quick to credit his team at Glory MMA and Fitness for how much he’s developed as a fighter. “It’s phenomenal. I started going there 7-8 months ago. It’s changed my entire game. Not just from a training aspect, like mentality towards fighting, my confidence has changed. James Krause is one of those guys who he kind of almost goes out of his way to help you out.” In terms of what’s next for the American lightweight, Witt ideally would like to get back in the cage sooner rather than later. “Something I have to talk to Joe Wooster about, figure out what our gameplan is. Titan, RFA, Bellator, , whatever I can get into, whatever makes my career go where I need it to, that’s what I’m going to do. Hopefully I can fight as soon as possible.” You can follow Jason on Twitter @jasonwittmma and he wants to thank Glory MMA & Fitness and Kansas City Jiu-Jitsu.