Featherweight title challenger Chris Vasil gets his shot at CFFC gold on Friday night at CFFC 123, with the promotional veteran ready to cash in on an opportunity he never dreamed would happen when he first embarked on his career in mixed martial arts.
“Honestly, I never really expected anything like this to happen when I got into this game,” he told CFFC.tv.
“When I first started fighting, I would watch pro fights and I was like, ‘Oh man, there’s no shot I want to do that.’ Then when I started fighting pro, I saw these guys fighting for titles and doing stuff on TV and I thought, ‘Oh man, there’s no way I’ll ever get into that,’ and here I am now.
“It’s surreal almost to be in that scenario to look back and see what I have done but now know I am in that spotlight and that spot I never thought I would be at.”
Vasil is now a veteran of the CFFC cage, and will make the walk for his sixth CFFC bout this weekend at CFFC 123. At this stage in his career he’s sure he’s at the level worthy of a champion, having pushed former CFFC bantamweight champion Vilson Ndregjoni to the limit in a bout he felt he’d done enough to win.
Despite losing out via split decision, Vasil bounced back immediately and scored a highlight-reel knockout of Frank Wells at CFFC 116 to reestablish his title credentials.
“That was kind of a crazy experience because I remember specifically when I was going into the third round and I think ‘I’m up 2-0, but judges suck, so I’m probably 1-1 right now, so I really need to give these guys something to think about,'” he recalled.
“So I took the shot, which was poorly set up on my part, and then I remember thinking as I was failing on the shot, ‘He saw this one coming, so let’s get up top.’
“I started grabbing the clinch, and I very specifically remember thinking this in the moment. I was like, ‘This knee I am about to throw isn’t going to do any damage, but we should throw it anyway and use it to set something else up.’ I threw the knee, and I honestly didn’t even feel his face on my knee, and then all of a sudden I saw him going backward.”
That stunning finish put Vasil in line for a shot at the CFFC featherweight champ Jose Perez at CFFC 121, but health issues with the champion forced the bout to be postponed until September 1.
“I said, ‘Yeah, let’s keep it rolling,'” he said.
“So we rescheduled for September 1. Again, it was kind of a surreal experience. I was waking up ready to cut weight and ready to go, and then all of a sudden, ‘Hey, remember that thing you came down here for? It’s not happening. Nothing is happening. You can drink water. You haven’t weighed in yet. You aren’t fighting anymore.’ I haven’t really had that happen yet as a professional.”
Now, after having to wait longer than expected, Vasil will fight for the featherweight title in the main event of CFFC 123. It’s a huge occasion and a big moment in his career, but Vasil is trying to keep everything on the level ahead of the event.
“It’s the same thing, man,” Vasil said.
“It’s the same s**t every time. Fighting is fighting. I’ve been the main man before as a pro, as an amateur. It’s nothing that’s foreign. At CFFC, there’s only been two other times where I haven’t been the co-main event or higher up on the card, so fighting later on the card, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
“What can we expect to see? I think in the first round, we’re going to meet in the middle, we’re going to start throwing down, and if neither of us goes down in the first minute or two, I think we’re going to find out real quick who the big d**k in the locker room is.
Within the first couple of minutes, I think, is going to set the tone and pace for the rest of the fight. It’s going to be a f*****g war and I know it. Jose is tough. He’s extremely tough and very durable. I like to think of myself as kind of tough and kind of durable, as well, so at this point, it’s just a matter of who wants it more.”