Aaron Highfill may not be a name you know just yet, but Shamrock FC head Jesse Finney believes you'll soon remember it for years to come.
In fact, Mr. Finney made what some might consider a bold move. After Highfill LOST his professional debut at Shamrock Promotions: "Nemesis" last September, Finney doubled down and offered Highfill an extended contract.
The buzz online is that Highfill had a sensational amateur career, and that Finney viewed the quick six-second fight as something of a fluke, and still believes Highfill is a huge prospect at welterweight.
That being the case, Highfill has high expectations to fulfill in his second pro fight this Saturday for Shamrock FC. MMAmania.com recently interviewed the up-and-coming fighter about his amateur background, his fight with Stacy Bacon on April 18th, and the vote of confidence he just received from Jesse Finney.
First up are his thoughts about Saturday:
"This is my first fight coming back from my pro debut, so it's a pretty big fight for me. It's a chance to get back on track and Stacy Bacon, he's a tough dude. One of my main training partners, Jordan Dowdy, is also fighting on the card. He fought him back in January and he won every round, but Stacy never quit fighting and kept coming at him."
This weekend's card is at the Lumiere Casino in St. Louis, Missouri, but if you can't be there in person, the fights will also be broadcast on GoFightLive. Highfill is pleased to have that kind of platform to be seen.
"It's pretty awesome. A lot of people are pretty stoked about that being on GFL so people can watch it from anywhere. It's definitely neat."
Given what Shamrock FC owner Jesse Finney had to say about Highfill, "neat" may be underselling it a bit. Finney tagged Highfill as the biggest welterweight prospect out of the St. Louis market since Tyron Woodley, and Highfill understands the pressure that comparison can bring.
"When you get compared to someone like that, that's pretty awesome, coming from Jesse for him to say that. Now it's kind of like, 'Oh I'm not living up to what I should be, I'm not meeting my expectations, because I'm riding around on a loss.' Yeah it's a little added pressure, but it's awesome to hear that compliment."
Highfill certainly isn't glossing over his loss in his pro debut, but with only one amateur loss, he has plenty of reason to feel confident going forward. Highfill believes even a six-second loss can be a valuable learning tool.
"I think right off the bat the reason why I got caught with that kick (is) I was going to throw a jab and I dropped my right hand, and I came out with a real wide stance, and that's why he threw the kick and went for it and he caught me. My biggest setback is being too aggressive, it's caused me to make mistakes, so just keep an eye on that."
You might be surprised to know that Highfill's biggest inspiration as a fighter wasn't other welterweights his size, but rather PRIDE FC fighters at light heavyweight and heavyweight.
"I was a real big fan of Fedor (Emelianenko), Wanderlei (Silva) and Igor Vovchanchyn. Them type of guys. They would go in there and just fight for the finish. They didn't have no boring fights. They had no snooze fests or anything like that."
Aaron Highfill isn't planning on a snooze fest on April 18th against Stacy Bacon, either. More details on the card are available at ShamrockFC.com, and our complete interview with Highfill is below.