An exciting up-and-comer from England has been released by the UFC.
Mike Wilkinson announced Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that he was cut by the promotion following his last fight, a unanimous decision loss to Makwan Amirkhani in February. Wilkinson went 2-2 in the UFC and earned a Performance of the Night bonus with a first-round knockout of Niklas Backstrom in 2014.
After the win over Backstrom, Wilkinson (9-2) suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for more than a year. Wilkinson, 28, hails from Manchester and was a castmate on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes.
Wilkinson, who came into the promotion at 7-0 with six finishes, said he was "in a bit of shock" when he found out he would no longer be in the UFC. He thought he had done enough to hang around for a bit, especially considering his exciting fighting style. Wilkinson was disappointed about the way his fight with Amirkhani played out, even though it was very competitive.
"Not taking a win away from him, not making no excuses, he played it safe," Wilkinson said. "He didn't want to stand with me. He didn't want to put a show on. He just wanted to get the win. And that will only get him so far. For me, I want to be kind of a prizefighter. I want to put a show on for the fans, have wars, fights like Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez. I want to go out on my shield and I want to make history."
"The Warrior" said despite the loss and cut, he feels good about that fight in a way, because he showed himself he could go a full three rounds without getting tired after losing so much time due to injury.
"I do feel like I've been done bad, but everything happens for a reason," Wilkinson said. "Even though I lost the fight, it's a personal victory for myself."
The good news for Wilkinson is that a documentary on him premieres Thursday on Manchester United TV in Europe and Asia. The filmmakers followed Wilkinson around in his recovery from the injury. Wilkinson said the documentary should also be available online in the United States.
"I think this is coming at the perfect time," Wilkinson said. "This is gonna build my profile up."
Wilkinson told Helwani that the filmmakers have already approached him about doing a sequel for the television network since his release from the UFC. So things are looking up in a way, though he is no longer under contract with an MMA promotion. Wilkinson is hoping that changes shortly with the added exposure.
"Everything happens for a reason," Wilkinson said. "Brush it off and we'll go again."