It’s been over two years since Red Deer’s Wolfgang Janssen has set foot in the cage, but the wait may finally be over.
Janssen, 26, last competed way back on Sept. 25, 2015 where he suffered a TKO loss to Craig Shintani at Hard Knocks 45, but said his extended absence since that defeat was strictly due to injuries.
He said most of the injuries occurred in the middle of or near the end of his training camps, which was extremely frustrating.
“To go through almost the whole training camp and get injured right before competition, it hurts. It sucks. It’s brutal,” said Janssen in an interview. “I put a lot of time into the sport, and it’s a hard business. It’s not easy. You’re beating your body and your mind up.”
Janssen (5-2) said he’s feeling as healthy as he’s ever been now, and he’s confident he will be back in the cage in 2018.
“I feel like things are going to line up this year, finally,” said Janssen. “I’ll be able to have a healthy training camp with my body feeling great, and I’ll be able to step in there and get back on that tear I had three years ago.”
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Although he hasn’t been able to compete since his last fight, Janssen said he’s still been keeping busy training, day in and day out.
He spent eight weeks in 2016 training in Thailand with Phuket Top Team. At the end of his training, he was offered a year-long contract to fight MMA in China. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to compete at any point in that year due to injuries getting in the way once again.
Janssen said even though he hasn’t been able to compete, he feels he’s improved his game all around from the dedicated training he continues to put in, which included earning his brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu while in Thailand. He competed in two Brazilian jiu jitsu tournaments while overseas too, winning gold in both.
“I’m a martial artist first at heart, and I just love to train,” said Janssen. “Even when I’m not fighting, I’m always training, staying in shape, and trying to get better.”
From The Coach’s Eyes
When back home in Red Deer, Janssen trains primarily out of Arashi Do with his coach Gary Vig.
Heading into 2018, Vig said Janssen’s looking great in all areas, including his health, but his improved jiu jitsu has really stood out so far.
“His jiu jitsu’s gotten a lot more technical,” said Vig in an interview. “He’s always had a good, strong, fundamental jiu jitsu game, and it’s a lot more refined now.”
Vig said as good as Janssen looks physically, he’s also in a great state mentally. There’s a lot of anxiety involved with being a professional fighter, but Vig said he’s not seeing any of that in Janssen right now.
He said Janssen appears to be very loose and relaxed, and seems to be really enjoying his training, “which is good to see.”
Janssen said he’s expecting to fight in March or April in China, and has also been in talks with Havoc FC to get on their fight card in September.
Despite the long layoff from competition, Vig said he’s expecting big things from Janssen in his return.
“He’s always done everything right in regards to his preparation,” said Vig.
“If he has his head on straight and really wants to do it, I think he’ll be a beast.”