Despite Current Run, Volkmann Says Improvements in Order

Thursday, January 6, 2011

By Kelsey Mowatt

Although it may not have been the most memorable performance of his career, Jacob Volkmann continued his march up the lightweight rankings at last week’s UFC 125 card, by working his way to a split decision win over accomplished veteran Antonio McKee. Despite the fact that Volkmann became the first man to defeat McKee in seven years, extended his winning streak to three, and started the 2011 campaign on a winning note, the 30 year-old-fighter wasn’t overly impressed with his latest victory. (Pictured: The Volkmann family enjoying Christmas 2010)

“I felt like I took a step back in this fight from the one with Paul Kelly,” Volkmann told FCF, who heading into the January 1st bout had earned back-to-back decision wins over Paul Kelly and Ronys Tores, after dropping down from welterweight to compete at 155. “From Ronys Tores I took a step forward to Kelly, but then I took a step back from what I’ve learned, to show what I’ve improved. I have to make some more improvements; if I want a title fight I have to make a lot more improvements...I’ve got some learning to do for my stand-up and my ground game too.”

While neither man landed any telling blows in the opening round of their UFC 125 tilt, Volkmann moved forward more often and was able to take McKee to the mat. After a second round which saw Volkmann work a rear-naked-choke and control the action, McKee took round three by landing a takedown and scoring more often. In the end, two of three judges scored round one and two in Volkmann’s favor, handing the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy fighter his 12th pro win.

“I was surprised that a judge scored it for McKee because I felt I won the first two rounds pretty handily,” said Volkmann. “The third round I was really disappointed with; I knew I had the fight won, but I should have just kept the pressure on him and finished the way I had the first two rounds. I didn’t and I’m regretting that now.”

“I was expecting him to do something,” Volkmann added while discussing the third round of the fight. “I knew he was losing so I thought he was going to do something pretty drastic, like a knee to the head, like Paul Kelly tried to do to me...Just come at me with some sort of flurry, but he didn’t, which really surprised me.”

Much of McKee’s professional success, which includes winning the Maximum Fighting Championship’s lightweight title, has been due to the Bodyshop Fitness fighter’s wrestling abilities. While McKee has forged a reputation for possessing strong takedowns and a dominant top game, in the end, Volkmann’s own, 3 time, All American wrestling skills won out.

“I didn’t think he really had any takedown defense when I took him down,” said Volkmann, who was also the Big Ten 165lb. wrestling champion in 2004. “His takedowns weren’t really that great. So obviously my wrestling played the most important role in this fight.”

Having recorded three straight wins as a lightweight, Volkmann could very well face one of the division’s more notable competitors next, which the University of Minnesota alumni is eager to do.

“It’s always the goal to get a top ten,” said Volkmann while discussing future opponents. “No talk yet so we’ll see...I think it would be really fun to fight (Clay) Guida; I think he has the kind of style which would be really good for me to fight. He’s got so much energy and he’s an exciting fighter.”

And what’s the latest in regards to the criticisms Volkmann directed at President Barack Obama in a recent, and now well documented, interview he did with MMA Fighting?

“People were misunderstanding me about the healthcare plan,” said Volkmann, a practicing chiropractor, who jokingly called out the President and reportedly received angry emails, phone calls and even a brief visit from the Secret Service due to the comments. “I’m not against everyone getting health insurance, as obviously, some people are going to need health insurance that are getting rejected...I’m talking about the healthcare provider, because I’m a chiropractor and I’m getting denied for getting paid.”