Photo courtesy of 864 Fighting Championship

Eyeing Contender Series return in 2019, meet Karl Reed: Version 2.0

Since his delve into the national spotlight in the summer of 2017, light heavyweight Karl Reed (5-1) is a completely changed fighter.

Highly touted entering his Contender Series season 1 bout against Cameron Olson, the Stephen Thompson protege was billed as potentially the next big thing at 205 pounds.

A 3-1 underdog, Olson took the South Carolina resident to the judges’ scorecards — a unanimous decision loss.

Since that time, the Limestone College wrestling coach has gone 3-0 on the Southeast’s regional scene. The 29-year-old cites his time on the Contender Series as crucial for his long-term development.

“I’m a totally different fighter now,” Reed said in an interview with MMA Today. “[I have] a totally different level of understanding. After that loss, I didn’t take no time off. I went right back to the gym.

“I had to change a lot of stuff up — mainly my diet and my weight cut. Getting people to have me handle that and understand that better to a scientific point has helped me a lot.”

Those in the southeast MMA community say the improvement is obvious. At 864 Fighting Championship last month, Reed dominated opponent Devorious Tubbs from bell to bell, earning multiple 10-8 rounds from the judges.

“I’m really happy with it just because I really implemented some of the things I’ve been working on,” Reed said. “My goal is to keep getting better every single day. When you face a guy that has a lot of experience and knows the sport like that, and you dominate him, it feels pretty good.”

Having competed three times in 2018, Reed wants to squeeze one more bout in by the end of the year — hopefully on the 864 FC’s November card.

“I think I’m going to stay with 864 Fighting Championship for the next one,” Reed said. “The past few fights, it’s been good to fight at home. That way my family can come watch me. They’ve been doing a good job of finding me fights.

It’s been hard for people to get me fights for a typical regional promotion. But [864] put the money out there to get it done. 864 has been doing a great job.”

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Everyone has been asking for video of my fight this past weekend so here it is! As you watch I want to say thank you to my team that I have around me for making my performance so great. First i wanna thank the man upstairs, without him I am nothing. I want to thank @antsamp_fit for providing my meal plan for this fight camp. @healthletic_meals for making and preparing all of my customized meals. This is a great company please check the link in my bio and check them out. And @thefightdoctors for handling my weight cut!! You three have made a game changer for me when it comes to nutrition and weight cutting for me, this has been the first fight that I have felt 100% walking into the cage!! And I am not over exaggerating!! I really want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart and looking forward to continuing working with you guys…. To my chiropractors @loganshae05 and John DuPuy, thank you guys for literally having my back!! These are the best doctors in Simpsonville and Spartanburg!! To my coaches, @raythompson @brendanrcarpenter @checkmat_charlotte @rafarosendobjj @iandunaway @strainbjj @scmmamd @reynolds_power32 and Big Phil, thank you guys for believing in me and taking time to work with me to make me the best version of myself. I love all you guys and you guys impact my life in so many ways other than fighting! Thank you!! … to my training partners @wonderboymma @king_kong_mayes @latracollick149 @cody_vilson @hoollyy_wood and the rest of @pitchblackmma thanks for never taking it easy on me and making me earn everything!! To @pynkkrown thanks for just putting up with me 😂….. The future is bright and I can’t wait to continue to put on a show for all of you and the fans!! #noworries #ufc #bellator #lightheavyweight #karate #ko #shocktheworld #864fc P.s. A special thank you to my man, mentor, and one of my best friends @matthewpirkle this guy does a lot for me for no reason and never expects anything in return, man I can thank you enough brother!! I love you man and I promise we gonna make it man!! #WorldChamp

A post shared by Karl Reed (@noworries_reed) on

From there, Reed thinks going 4-0 in 2018 should propel him onto the UFC radar once again. A potential redemption fight could be in store.

“I will have fought all four quarters this year,” Reed said. “So I’ll probably take the next quarter off, so I can add some more skills and sharpen some tools. Then I’ll look to get on Contender [Series] next summer if not get into the UFC before that.”

To learn more about Karl, you can follow him on social media:
Twitter: @NoWorriesReed
Instagram: @noworries_reed
Facebook: Karl NoWorries Reed

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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.