Photo Credit via Jordan Williams

Bellator 199’s Jordan Williams: A Fighter Beyond Mixed Martial Arts

Top prospect and Nate Diaz protege, Jordan Williams, details being a professional athlete while also battling diabetes.

There’s no denying middleweight Jordan Williams (6-2) is a fighter through and through.

The 27-year-old wrestler turned mixed martials artist’s battle never slows– ever. Throughout his career, the Northern California product has not only fought tough opponent in the cage, but Type 1 diabetes outside of it.

Diagnosed with the illness at age 19, Williams has found diabetic management to be a never-ending work in progress. This is even more prevalent when discussing weight cutting, which is enough of a health risk for those without diabetes.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a hassle– especially when you’re cutting weight,” describes Williams. “Once you pass all the water weight, you have to start getting rid of muscle. It’s really hard to lose the weight because insulin is an anabolic steroid. It naturally makes you gain weight.”

“I don’t lift weights at all because it would aggravate the natural steroids I have to take to process sugar,” explains Williams. “When you cut weight, your blood sugar lowers. So what do you do? You have to eat something to get it back up. I’m trying to lose weight. So I’m trying to climb down this ladder of pounds by taking two steps down and one step up.”

While knowing diabetes management is not a perfect science, Williams believes he has gotten as close as he can get. Without the help of his coaches and teammates, Williams presumes he wouldn’t be anywhere near where he is professionally.

“I’m thankful that my coaches and sponsors are covering me,” says Williams. “When I go to the gym, I’ll usually have a sugary drink filled with carbs ready to go. Someone will know to have those ready during rounds so I don’t have to stop. It’s easier when people around the gym know about it and help you. It was hard at first, but a gym is like a family.”

One major adjustment Williams has made is to move up to 185 pounds. The thought by those “in the know” was if Williams continued to compete in the welterweight division, he’d be risking his health to a dangerous extent.

“I’ve been weighing 171 pounds since my sophomore year in high school,” says Williams. “I’m 27 now and I think I should let my body expand a little bit. With the diabetes, I’d have to cut like 30-40 pounds. I walked around at 200-210 pounds and cut to 170 pounds.”

When discussing his team and coaching staff, Williams glowingly speaks of a particular role-model-turned-training-partner– the one and only Nate Diaz. Training with Stockton’s own has boosted William’s self-confidence and propelled his mentality to the next level.

“I don’t know what I did, but Nate always asks about me when talking [to my coach] Dave [Terrell],” says Williams. “I think I just left a good impression on him when I started training with Nick and Nate five or six years ago.”

“When Nick had his fight with Anderson Silva, I remember I would drive over to their house and stay there for the weekend,” says Williams. “I was one of the sparring partners that Nick would spar with in preparation for that fight. I got to go in there and see all of these high level fighters.”

“It’s just cool to be around a fighter mentality-like atmosphere at a superstar level,” says Williams. If he’s making requests to spar boxing [with me], it feels great. This past Monday, he actually came to NorCal and we got some good training in. I took in down in four times in one minute, so I know I gave him what he came for.”

MMA has been a rollercoaster for Williams as of late. After getting finished in the first round by top AKA prodigy Dwight Grant in late 2016, Williams returned to deliver a lightning-quick finish of his own. This past March, Williams knocked out Alex Lopez in just 24 seconds at Dragon House 28.

“It was quick– it was in the category of where I was finished in my last fight,” says Williams. “I got to prove to everyone that I worked on the part of my game that needed to be worked on.”

“I’m not even joking, I had a dream that I was looking at the ref after I put him down like that. Like, are you going to stop this?” recalls Williams. “It’s cliche, but the dream came true. I’m like oh my goodness, I’m painting mental pictures of victory every second of the day.”

“That’s what I learned from [the Grant] fight,” says Williams. “No matter what happens, be confident. You’re going to go in there and fight anyways. The type of people who are fighters are going to go in the cage. Why go in there with fear or nervousness?”

On Saturday night, Williams will have his biggest career opportunity to date: the chance to fight for Bellator MMA. Williams will be competing in San Jose on the Bellator 199 undercard against fellow up-and-comer Brandon Hester (4-0).

“[It’s] just one more step up the ladder to be able to achieve my dreams,” says Williams. “My opponent, Brandon Hester, I’m not scared of him. I’ve already visualized myself across the cage from me. Sometimes, that’s the hardest thing to do as a fighter– to visualize and know that this fighter is training his ass off.”

“My stand up is better and my wrestling is better,” says Williams. “I’ve been awarded an eight-time All American. I’ve reached the podium as high as six in the nation. I know his credentials as a state champion, but my credentials go on. I’m not worried about where he’s going to take the fight because it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be up to me.”

“First off I’d like to thank my head coach Dave Terrell. There’s been a lot of complications through this training camp and he’s guided me through. This is my first training camp with major exposure. With major exposure comes distractions. He’s been through it all and is guiding me through that. I appreciate him. Michelle Olivera is with Mo Documentary. She has been doing all of my sponsorship work– getting the word out, making these really cool posters and recording my fights. Also, a shoutout to Loraine. She just finished my new t-shirt design for my fight. I also want to give a shoutout to my lovely girlfriend, my mom, my dad, my grandmas, my grandpa and my lolo. I want to give a shoutout to everyone who has been sparring with me at the gym, helping me get ready for my last fight. Thank you to everyone who supported me and all of my sponsors! All these people have been supporting me so much. Thanks to my boy Donnie who just threw me some money before. When you get support like that, you don’t fight alone. Some fighters are alone in the cage, and some aren’t. I’m telling you, I’m bringing all of NorCal in the cage with me.”- Jordan Williams

To learn more about Jordan Williams, follow him on social media:

Instagram: @jordanwilliams_ncfa


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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.