While defending his belt is priority one, Zachary Baldwin also has his sights set on something bigger.
Belleville’s Baldwin (3-1) will defend his MFL amateur flyweight title for the first time Saturday night when he takes on Montreal’s Tommy Morrisson (6-1) at MFL 17 in Montreal, QC.
Baldwin, 26, claimed the flyweight title back in October, after defeating Alexandre Noiseux via knockout at MFL 14.
And although defending his title for the first time would be significant to him, Baldwin said he also sees this as an opportunity to takeover the top spot in the rankings, and potentially setup bigger breaks down the road.
“It would mean a lot to me. It’s obviously something no one wants to lose. No one wants to lose a fight, first of all, but especially a title,” said Baldwin in an interview with MMA Empire.
“It’s a big fight because, with Tommy’s ranking and my ranking right now, when I do get the win, hopefully, I’ll get that number one spot, and maybe it’ll lead to bigger things, take the pro road and go from there.”
With restrictions on large public gatherings still in place due to COVID-19, Saturday’s event will be taking place with no crowd in attendance.
Baldwin said it’s going to be a unique scenario to compete in, but also said it could mean less pressure on he and the rest of the fighters competing.
“I feel like, because there’s no spectators, there will be less pressure,” said Baldwin.
“I don’t really have an opinion on it; I don’t really care who’s there watching. I think it just makes it that much more legit. It’s just less pressure and straight business.”
Baldwin bringing full arsenal
Following his title win in October, Baldwin looked to add another belt to his collection two weeks later under the Victory Cage Fighting Championships banner in New York. He would go onto drop a tight split decision to Lance Brown, a talented American Top Team product with a strong wrestling background.
Although he didn’t leave New York with the win, Baldwin said he learned just how important a well-rounded game is in MMA, and will look to show that on Saturday night.
“You have to have everything. I’ve obviously known that before; it’s MMA and you have to have a little bit of everything,” said Baldwin.
“That’s what I’m going to try and bring into this fight, that grappling aspect as well too. If it goes to the ground, I’m happy to be there and show off my skills there.”
Rankings-wise and record-wise, Baldwin is set to face his toughest test in Morrisson, who’s looking to win back the flyweight title that once belonged to him.
Baldwin said he’s aware of the skills and dangers Morrisson poses, and is expecting a tough fight to defend his gold.
“Tommy’s pretty good. I think he’s the number one amateur in Canada right now, so he’s no joke, that’s for sure,” said Baldwin.
“I expect him to come out just as good as any other time or with a regular training camp. I’m sure he’s been training just the same, so I expect a good fight.”
“I’d like to give a shoutout to my gym (Infinite Martial Arts and Fitness), all my teammates, Limitless Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing, and my sponsorship with Kimurawear.” Follow Baldwin on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM