Whether you are a connoisseur of European MMA or not, you probably know who Nathaniel Wood is by now. The former Cage Warriors title-holder made his UFC debut just less than two years ago and since then he has racked up three victories in three fights, all won by submission.
“The Prospect” is now ready to climb up the UFC bantamweight ladder and in order to do that he needs to face, in his own words, his idols, starting with John Dodson.
“[Fighting Dodson], it’s extra motivation for me”, Wood told BJPENN.com. “I was watching Dodson back when he was in The Ultimate Fighter and I was just a fan. Now, to be facing him as an opponent is surreal.”
Dodson is going to be Wood’s first ranked opponent in the UFC. The former UFC flyweight title contender currently has the spot No. 12 in the bantamweight division.
Wood doesn’t seem worried about that, though. In fact, he’s already thinking about his next fight as he keeps asking for a slot on the UFC London card, even though it’s just over a month after his fight with Dodson.
“If the UFC offers me an opponent right now, I’ll sign that contract. Fighting in my hometown means everything and I’ll even fight at heavyweight if it means being on it”, Wood said, laughing. “135 pounds, 145, it doesn’t matter to me. I want exciting fights and to compete. If that means giving up a slight weight advantage, then so be it.”
Wood has some ideas of who he wants to fight next, too.
“The plan is to take over the division. After Dodson, I’m coming for that top 10. A fight that excites me is Cody [Garbrandt] as he’s game to fight. I hope he’ll win his next fight as [a fighter with] four losses in a row wouldn’t be a good match-up for me.”
The man who goes by the nickname “The Prospect” is ready to make a splash in the bantamweight division, and both fans and insiders agree he’s got the skills, pointing at Wood as one of the potential title contenders in the year. ”
“Having people believe in me that much means a lot,” he said. “I have confidence in my abilities and to have others’ faith in me just builds that confidence even more. But until I get that belt, I’m sticking with [the nickname] ‘The Prospect,'” the London-native said.
Wood, a Brad Pickett protégé, is one of the latest Cage Warriors champs who received the most anticipated call in the business — an offer for a UFC contract — and he’s sure the trend will continue.
“Cage Warriors is producing plenty of talent and I’m sure there will be many other CW champions joining that UFC roster,” he said.
Nathaniel Wood will lock horns with John Dodson on February 15 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
How far do you think Nathaniel Wood can go in the UFC?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/16/2020.