Express & Star

Tim Wilde targeting place in Bellator top 10 rankings

Wolverhampton fighter Tim Wilde is hoping an 'emphatic' win over dangerous wrestler Chris Gonzalez will propel him into the top 10 of the Bellator lightweight rankings.


The 35-year-old is on an impressive win streak after his split decision victory over Saul Rogers last time out, as he now heads off to fight on Bellator's 296 card in Paris on May 12.

Hailing from the world-renowned Renegade gym in Birmingham, Wilde has been cutting his teeth with some of the best and hopes that a win will see him rise up the rankings.

"I see myself as number one in Europe at lightweight for Bellator, certainly in the UK, and I think a big emphatic win will push me into the top 10," he told the Express & Star.

"I do believe an exciting win will do that and I hope all the stars align for me.

Tim Wilde fighting Saul Rogers. Picture: Lucas Noonan/BELLATOR MMA

"I'm feeling great. Following the last fight, I haven't really taken my foot off the gas. I've been 80-90 per cent ready since December, as I've been helping team-mates get ready for fights.

"In terms of getting fight fit myself, it's nice not to have to think about any massive weight loss, and just preparing for the fight.

"It's been a long time waiting, I'm ready to fight now. I feel as prepared as I could possibly be – I'm excited to get in there.

"The gym has so much momentum at the moment. I recently helped Jai Herbert and Leon Edwards with their camps, then straight into Arnold Allen's camp for his fight against Max Holloway.

"Fabian Edwards has then got a big fight on the same card as me too – there's a real buzz at the gym, everyone is on it and working hard. It's exciting and I'm excited for my new fight because of that."

To earn that win, however, Wilde will need to overcome intense wrestler Gonzalez.

The American is an exciting prospect in MMA but Wilde believes his experience, and superior striking skills, will be enough to beat him.

He added: "Paris is only an hour ahead of the UK, so it favours me, with him coming over from Sacramento, with all the jet lag and time difference.

"He's a professional, so I'm sure he'll account for all of that, but I feel like this is a good fight for me.

Tim Wilde fighting Saul Rogers. Picture: Lucas Noonan/BELLATOR MMA

"He's a good fighter. He's a very high level all-American, Greco–Roman wrestler.

"Wrestling in America is like football here and he's a Premier League level wrestler, he's done it all his life. He'll be an extreme physical athlete.

"But he's relatively new to MMA. I've fought professionally for 10 years and trained for 12 years. His first fight was in 2017.

"I don't overlook his lack of experience, because of the wrestling pedigree, but I believe my experience will help.

"I'm excited for this one. I think he's going to try and wrestle me and I believe I'll stop that and strike him.

Tim Wilde fighting Saul Rogers. Picture: Lucas Noonan/BELLATOR MMA

"All my karate competitions, from regional to world level, has given me invaluable experience. Every fight starts on the feet.

"I feel like this is it for me, this is my good run to the top."

Having fought in Milan, Italy, last time out and seen several of his bouts come overseas, Wilde is delighted to now be fighting in France – as he makes plans for a fight across the pond soon.

Wilde said: "It's another life experience. It doesn't feel like a job to me and I'm fortunate I get paid to do this – travel around the world and experience different cultures and different audiences.

"Not only for training, but for fights too. It's slowly building for me. I've done a lot in the scene domestically and now I'm going through the process for my visa to fight in the United States – Bellator want to send me out there soon. I feel very blessed to do what I do."