Westin Wilson, fighting in UFC Vegas 76, is not your typical fighter. At 34, he is a successful software developer and owns his own company. However, he chooses to step into the ring despite not needing to make a living from it. This choice, according to Wilson, may make him an even more formidable opponent than the typical MMA combatant.
Wilson’s passion for MMA was sparked in junior high when a friend of his father’s, employed with the Drug Enforcement Agency, introduced him to the UFC through tapes. His initial interest led him to take up wrestling. However, a family move to Brazil shifted his focus entirely to MMA.
“When we relocated to Brazil, my dad suggested, ‘You can try MMA,'” Wilson narrated to MMA Hook. “I then began training in MMA in 2006 when I was in high school. Back then, the sport in Brazil had minimal regulations, and I was often beaten by larger, older Brazillian fighters. But it was a thrill I couldn’t resist, and I knew this was what I wanted to pursue.”
Even with his increasing interest in MMA, Wilson assured his mother and eventually his wife, that he wouldn’t be completely absorbed by it without having another career as a safety net.
“I had certain expectations from my LDS faith and middle-class parents, which I fulfilled,” said Wilson. “I graduated, secured a well-paying job that allowed me to maintain my fighting passion. It’s not about needing to succeed in fighting to quit my job; I genuinely enjoy both.”
Three years prior, Wilson made a significant shift when he joined Upstate Karate in South Carolina, known for grooming two-time UFC title challenger Stephen Thompson, who trains under his father, Ray Thompson.
Wilson believes this shift was instrumental in securing his short-notice opportunity to join the UFC roster. He makes his debut on Saturday against Joanderson Brito.
“I’ve trained with various coaches because fighting isn’t my full-time occupation,” Wilson stated. “This resurgence is all thanks to Coach Ray Thompson and our father-son-like relationship. He encouraged us to start fresh, be strategic, and avoid being a one-hit wonder. This year, we’ve put in a lot of teamwork, and I believe we have a strong team ready to make a mark in UFC.”
While Wilson prides himself on being a balanced fighter—with an impressive 100% finishing rate in 16 career victories—he’s refined his style by training alongside Thompson.
Known for his remarkable technical striking, “Wonderboy” Thompson is a source of inspiration for Wilson, even if his style isn’t as refined.
“I consider my fighting style to be the ‘Walmart version’ of ‘Wonderboy’s’,” Wilson jested. “It’s like I’m the bagged cereal compared to his boxed cereal. But this is all in good humor, and I’ve accepted this label.”
Wilson hopes to follow in Thompson’s footsteps, given his successful UFC career.
“My goal is to be a positive influence,” he said. “I admire how Stephen is with the children at the karate school, and I aim to inspire in a similar way.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Westin Wilson’s fighting style
Who is Westin Wilson?
Westin Wilson is a 34-year-old fighter participating in UFC Vegas 76. Aside from his fighting career, Wilson is also a successful software developer who owns his own company.
How did Westin Wilson become interested in MMA?
Wilson’s interest in MMA was sparked in junior high when a friend of his father’s, working for the Drug Enforcement Agency, introduced him to the UFC through tapes. He initially started with wrestling but transitioned to MMA when his family relocated to Brazil.
What does Westin Wilson refer to his fighting style as?
Westin Wilson humorously refers to his fighting style as the ‘Walmart version’ of Stephen Thompson’s style. He likens Thompson’s technique to boxed cereal and his own to the more budget-friendly bagged cereal.
Who has significantly influenced Westin Wilson’s fighting career?
Stephen Thompson and his father Ray Thompson have had a significant influence on Wilson’s fighting career. Wilson trained at Upstate Karate in South Carolina, where Stephen Thompson, known for his technical striking, also trained.
What is Westin Wilson’s primary goal outside his fighting career?
Outside of his fighting career, Westin Wilson aims to be a positive influence and role model, much like how he perceives Stephen Thompson in his interactions with children at the karate school.