Wolfgang Janssen has fought many amateur fights but at the tender age of 20. At Hard Knocks Fighting Championship 19 in Calgary, he did something he’s never done before.
“I made my professional debut in mixed martial arts.”
Sometimes making a name for yourself and getting noticed is tough. Janssen’s first fight was against Jesse Arnett of Calgary. Arnett was getting looks touted as the one to watch. But when he went up against Janssen, it just wasn’t his night. And at the 3:01 mark of the first round, Janssen put Arnett in an inverted triangle. Arnett submitted.
And with that the phone rang. “I got presented an opportunity to train in Montreal at Tristar with a number of amazing fighters right now,” said Janssen. Tristar has many famous fighters training there including Rory MacDonald, Miguel Torres and oh there’s some guy named George St. Pierre who owns the gym. Don’t know who St. Pierre is? Well he’s only the biggest Canadian star in the UFC.
The 20-year-old Janssen has wanted to be an MMA fighter since he was a young kid watching UFC. “I was watching the videos on the TV of the Ultimate Fighting Championship of BJ Penn, Randy Couture and Royce Gracie and it was so amazing to me when I was young.”
After that, Janssen was hooked. He started training in Muay Thai with Gary Vig at Arashi-DO Evolution Martial Arts Club in Red Deer. At 18, he went to South America.
“I did go to Brazil to train for six months,” Janssen said, noting he went there for the experience.
Brazil is where the UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva is from. “The coach that I was training with was his old coach a while ago, his name is Cristiano Marcello. I didn’t get a chance to train with Anderson Silva because he was in Rio.”
As far as Janssen is concerned, training in Montreal is all part of the cycle of a developing fighter. “To get to the big leagues like the UFC you’ve got to do that. George St. Pierre — he always talked about how he went and trained everywhere he could.”
So what does all this mean? Janssen’s training at a gym that’s owned by GSP does it mean that he’ll be on the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter? Not exactly. “The Ultimate Fighter is not going to be just yet, but within the next year, I may be going to try out for the show.”
And if things continue to work out well for Janssen, if he gets the right fights and keeps winning against tough competition, he could be a face that you’ll get to know very well.
“My coaches and my manager thinks in 2013 I should have my shot in Ultimate Fighting Championships.” A place Janssen has always dreamed of being.
And meeting GSP is really something Janssen is taking in stride. “I’m extremely looking forward to training with him. Even if he’s not training right now just talking to him and maybe looking at his training is going to be amazing. Because George St. Pierre is second to none — his mind, his training, his everything, and I can’t wait to meet and talk to him.”
Ok, so he’s psyched. And who wouldn’t be? Janssen’s next fight is March 16 in Calgary at Hard Knocks Championship 21.