Former UFC heavyweight Justin Willis has signed with the PFL for its third season.
Willis, and a person with knowledge of his new contract, confirmed his signing to MMA Fighting following a report from MMA Junkie.
The 32-year-old California native expects to make his debut and May or June. His signing comes nine months after he disputed his release from the UFC; the promotion reportedly cut him when he turned down a fight with Walt Harris at UFC on ESPN 4.
”The last time, I was trying to save a job that I knew was taken from me unjustly, especially when you have guys like Tai Tuivasa, who loses three times in a row, and he obviously can’t fight, and he’s still in the UFC for the simple fact that he’s from Australia,” he said.
Willis and Tuivasa talked trash in dueling interviews during their time together in the UFC, but a bout never materialized.
Willis said the PFL’s tournament structure offers a good alternative to the UFC’s star-driven style of matchmaking. Rather than being judged on his ability to sell fights, he said, he could earn his keep based on his abilities.
”In the UFC, there’s a lot of picking and choosing and favoritism,” he said. “It’s not all about who can fight the best. It’s about who can shuck and jive the best. But this is the fight game, not the light game.
”Places like the PFL have it right, and god willing, me winning this will put me on a different level.”