ByRyan Lilley, writer at
MMA Pro, Gladiator Challenge Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion
Ryan Lilley

Before I even took my first pro MMA fight, I competed as an for over two years because I wanted to fight the best of the best.

After 13 amateur fights, my coaches: , James Irsingler, and Randy Khatami; told me that it was time to go pro and make some money off this. After fighting at the , I wanted a big show right away, but I never got the call.

That’s when I knew I needed to consider a stepping stone to get my record up.

Taking my first pro fight less than a year ago, I’m now 5-1 with four wins by submission. My only loss was a close split decision to a guy that I beat as an amateur (I took the fight on eight days notice), and I’ve managed to win two belts: I’m the featherweight and bantamweight champion.

A lot of guys came from Gladiator Challenge: , Duane Ludwig, Rampage Jackson, and fought there, so I know I’m on the right track. But lately, I’ve been considering my options moving forward.

After my last fight, I became a free man. That was the last the fight on my contract, and while I’ve already been offered another fight, I’m all ears to new offers. I’m not fighting tomorrow, so I’m either gonna wait for a bigger promotion to call, or I’m gonna defend my belt. But, how will I know which promotion is right for me?

Right now, I’m looking for a good matchup. I also want the pay to be right, and I want to be on a big show, on TV. I figure if I can get on TV, I’ll be able to attract some bigger sponsors to help me out with training camp, and stuff like that.

Having already fought for , I know how good the exposure is fighting on , so obviously fighting in the would be amazing. I’m a big fan of the UFC, so fighting for them would be my top goal; however, I know there are some other really good organizations out there.

MMA isn’t exactly like other sports like football and basketball, where there’s one league like the NFL and NBA, that’s clearly at the top of the sport. I know has good numbers on TV, so fighting there would be a great opportunity. LFA is also out there, and that might be a good place to go as well.

LFA is actually a great option right now. They have the top dogs from two organizations fighting each other, and that’s a challenge I’d like to take. So yeah, I wouldn’t turn down either; I’d love to go there and put on a show.

A lot of this is out of my control; however, one thing I am pretty sure of is the move down to bantamweight. I fought for, and won, the Gladiator Challenge belt in my last fight. It was my first time cutting down to 135, and I think the rest of my career will be at bantamweight, for sure.

At this point, it’s really about a good matchup for me, and another win.

Let’s see how it goes ...

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