In the short career of a fighter every fight is important, title fights even more so, but for former UFC and Pride fighter Travis “Diesel” Wiuff his recent IFC heavyweight title win on Aug. 15 in Canada had significance for a whole other reason.
As Wiuff explained to MMAWeekly.com, having the chance to honor a fallen friend by following in his championship footsteps made the fight all that more important.
“The belt became available from Justin Eilers,” explained Wiuff. “He was the title holder and passed away last Christmas.
“A couple of months after that happened, I got a hold of Paul Smith, who is the owner for the IFC, and asked him if there was any opportunity to get the belt because Justin was a close friend of mine.”
Wiuff went on to explain his relationship with Eilers. “He was probably the best friend I had in the fighting business.
“We trained together a lot, lived together for a little bit, and cornered each other for a lot of fights, (including when) I cornered him versus (Andrei) Arlovski for the UFC belt (at UFC 53). It was an opportunity to keep that belt in the family, and Paul agreed and we went from there.”
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