Juggernaut training for big return

By Stan Morris | NEA Report

JONESBORO, Ark. – Few people can say they’ve been on a cable television reality show, fought for the UFC and been a fitness coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks but for Mike Wessel, it is all part of his resume. And he’s not done yet.

Wessel will be fighting for Bellator October 21 in Memphis, Tennessee, he said, and he is training for the bout in a super-human way.

“I’ve been a pro-athlete for a long time, at some of the highest levels and some medium levels, like Arena Football,” Wessel said. “You can only take so much punishment. I had that last fight with Josh (Diekmann), and I really didn’t want to fight then anyway but I was making money and I wasn’t doing bad – I was winning. I took a break.”

The September 5, 2014 loss to Diekmann was the last fight Wessel had before he decided to take a break. With time to focus on himself, Wessel said he realized he needed to make some changes in his life and in who he was.

“The last two years have been the craziest two years and I’m glad my 30s are almost over,” Wessel said. “A lot of those things, the pressure I created and others created, it got to me. It was too much.”

Reaching his breaking point, Wessel refocused himself. He made many changes in life, not DSCN2856the least of which were within himself. The heavyweight fighter spent a great deal of time changing what he said he identified as areas he could improve on in life. Wessel said he worked on getting rid of distractions in his life, from bad relationships to bad habits like overspending.

“I wasted money on stupid things and I felt like my little boy (Talon, 4) at Target. ‘I want it – I want it,'” Wessel said. “I was just stupid in consuming. It disgusted me.”

So once again, the former fitness coach under Houston Nutt at the University of Arkansas made a major change in his life by selling most of his possessions he said he never saw anyway and instead, just having his gym, a small place to sleep, and a relationship more important to Wessel than anything else.

“I just have me and my boy and my boy loves to watch me train,” Wessel said. “We have fun when we train. He laughs and does his own thing and we have a great time. And I still get to fight for one of the biggest organizations in the world.”

DSCN2840While training, Wessel said his heart for fighting came back. The man known in mixed-martial arts as “Juggernaut,” said he realized he is in a better place than ever to succeed. He feels that way both mentally and physically.

As the owner of an active gym in Jonesboro, Hilltop Fitness, Wessel is constantly thinking about his health and that of others. He said he is leaner than ever while also being the same weight, 265 pounds, he will be fighting at for his October bout. 

Bellator 162 will be at the Fed-Ex Forum in Memphis, Tenn. The webpage for the card can be found here. Wessel’s fight opponent has not yet been named.

“I realized man, I’ve got no excuses right now,” Wessel said.

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