Cody Williams will step back into the cage on Friday, May 11, when he fights Ryan “Babyface” Benoit at Legacy Fighting Championship 11, which will be aired live on HDNet beginning at 9 p.m. from the Arena Theatre in Houston.
Williams, a Beaumont West Brook graduate, will look to improve on a 3-1 professional record. He last defeated J.T. Mendez (0-1) with a triangle choke submission in the second round at Legacy FC 10 back in February.
Williams will have his hands full with Benoit, who is a youngster from McKinney. The 22-year-old fighter also has a 3-1 fight record but is coming off a year layoff. He last fought on March 11, 2011, when he defeated Matthew Espinoza, who was 0-1 at the time, at Shark Fights in Lubbock. All three of Benoit’s wins have come via TKO-referee stoppage.
“We’ve been pushing him pretty hard in this camp,” said American Top Team-Beaumont trainer Mike Berryhill about Williams. “I know I say this each fight, but he is ready.”
Williams said in his last camp they worked more on wrestling and the inside game, but spent a lot time in this camp focusing on technique. “I want to be able to see all the angles,” said Williams. “I call it patient violence.”
This fight will be Williams’ second on national television. His first fight on television (HDNet) resulted in a loss to Stephen Garcia.
“I look at all the fights the same,” added Williams. “I had more pressure in my last fight because I was coming off a loss and the fact I was fighting a guy (J.T. Mendez) who was making his pro debut, so there was a lot to lose.”
As for his opponent, Benoit trains at Saekson Janjira Muay Thai in Plano and has trained with the likes of Johnny Bedford, who fought on “The Ultimate Fighter.” “I know he is a strong wrestler and comes from a well respected Muay Thai school,” said Williams.
Despite Benoit being non-active in the cage for more than a year, he was vocal in April when interviewed by Houston MMA personality A.J. Hoffman. “I really don’t know much about him besides what I have seen in videos,” said Benoit about Williams. “He seems like a well-rounded guy. By that I mean not necessarily good at anything, just average at everything.”
When asked about how he thought the fight with Williams would end, Benoit responded, “I see myself winning by knockout or submission. I’m going to be able to control the entire fight with my wrestling. Cody is tough, but doesn’t come close to what I have.”
I asked Williams what he thought about Benoit’s comments. “He left out heart,” said Williams. “You can’t measure heart. I also fight hard. Very hard.”
Williams added he expects Benoit to be good, but it’s easy to look good on video. “It’s easy to look good doing drills, hitting mitts and pads, because mitts and pads don’t hit back,” said Williams. “You know, I am comfortable getting hit and being put in tough situations inside the cage. Come fight day, his aspirations and questions about me will be answered.”
Servicing the corner of Williams will be fellow pro fighter “Parrumpinha” Marcos da Matta. Da Matta is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guru who has won several medals including gold in the Brazilian Championship, silver in the World Championship and silver in the Pan American Championship.
Da Matta owns his own school, West Palm Beach-American Top Team in Florida, and teaches BJJ at the ATT headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla. This won’t be the first time da Matta has been in Williams’ as he was there when Cody made his pro debut.
ATT-Beaumont will hold an MMA/No-Gi seminar with da Matta on Saturday, May 12, from 3-6 p.m. at the ATT-Beaumont school at 7310 Highway 105. Cost is $30 for those enrolled at ATT-Beaumont and $60 for non-members. Space is limited. For more information, call (409) 892-9352.
For those who do not have satellite and want to watch to Williams' fight can do so by going to Major League Grill (4430 Dowlen Road) in Beaumont.