Every recognizable figure in mixed martial arts is well-known for their fight record and the remarkable pedigree they bring inside the cage. But behind every athlete’s credentials lies a crucial element that motivates them in reaching their desired goals in the sport.

In the intriguing case of Bellator welterweight Joe Williams, you have to analyze what makes him tick and why his current presence in the fight game is so prominent. In order to be good at something, you have to pledge a massive amount of time toward improving at your preferred craft.

Since the age of eight years old, Williams has built an extensive wrestling background. Dedication became the powered component in his competitive spirit, and his work ethic played a major part in the great success from his adolescent years to his impressive run at Michigan State University. During this time, Williams achieved great feats in his wrestling career, capturing many State and National Titles along with many other high honors.

Williams has his hand raised in victory (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Reminiscing back on the experience, Williams credits his tough upbringing by his dad, who instilled helpful principles which centered on the premise of always pushing for greatness.

“My dad always trained me to be the best at anything that I do,” Williams told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “[It’s] an attribute that carried over into my academics and that has enabled me to have success in MMA.”

Adding on to this perfection of character, Williams’ long time coach Jacob Harman also contributed to his evolution. Harman’s influence has greatly affected Williams’ athletic career, which helped with his successful run as a wrestler and on to his future pursuits in another competitive field.

“He saw potential in me and he coached me to two state championship titles,” Williams explained. “Through his coaching, he showed me how college athletes trained, which helped get me ready for college wrestling.”

Implanted with an elite wrestling skill set, along with some important mental values, Williams’ strong foundation would carry him into his next career sporting adventure. Taking a brief break in the real world, Williams’ competitive ways would soon resurface with the assistance of a friend who pulled him into becoming a mixed martial arts fighter.

“I did not want to go into MMA originally,” Williams confessed. “I coached after college and had a regular job. After helping a friend learn how to wrestle for MMA, his manager talked me into getting into the cage and the rest is history.”

Since starting MMA, Williams’ dedication has skyrocketed to magnificent heights in his new-found venture. In a sport that is very demanding toward its participants, from training to having a strict diet, Williams knows what it takes to become the best. Even with limited resources at his disposal or not having the opportunity to prepare for a fight, the wrestling champion has created various avenues toward improving with the trusted assistance of his coach, training partners and wife, Deanna.

“When I think of the word dedication, it makes me think of the multiple facets of my training and life. I train year-round. I do not have a camp to help me prepare for a fight, and whether I have a fight or not, I am always working to improve all of my skills,” Williams revealed. “My coach, Jacob Harman, sets my schedule, which includes pro classes at Kings MMA with Rafael Cordeiro and MMA wrestling training/cardio at Calvary Chapel’s Thunder Training Center with Jacob Harman.

“Another big part of the grind is dieting and finding the right foods in order to train hard and feel good while I lose weight and get closer to my fight. None of which I could do without my wonderful wife, Deanna.”

Joe Williams (L) delivers a left hand (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

There is no doubt that Williams is committed, which happens to explain the series of events that have come to pass in a short one year’s time. Hard work does in fact equal success, as showcased by his impressive pro record of 7-1, as well as the prestigious 185-pound Respect in the Cage (RITC) championship belt around his waist. Reflecting back on his ascent, Williams believes that his strong support system merged with having the correct steadfast mind frame carried him through those challenges during his rise in the RITC federation.

“Capturing the RITC belt was great,” Williams admitted. “That organization allowed me to grow a lot as a fighter. Each of my three title defenses brought different challenges, yet with my coaches and hard work ethic, I was able to defeat each opponent.”

Far from reaching the top of the mountain, Williams has climbed a little higher in his journey with a move to the Bellator Fighting Championship promotion. Fighting under Bellator’s banner will definitely offer Williams a great test in hopes of reaching the next level in his career. Suffering a slight setback in his debut with a loss to Andy Uhrich, Williams remains motivated in his quest to reach the pinnacle atop the Bellator welterweight mountain and provide a better life for his family. The losing encounter has not fractured those ambitions one bit.

“My thoughts are that if you are going to do something, you better do it 100 percent. If I am not dedicated in reaching my MMA goals, I feel that I would be wasting my life doing this sport. My goals in MMA are to become a Bellator champion. By doing this, I will be able to give my wife and I a better life.”

Joe would like to thank his friends, family and coaches for their support, without which he says he would not be able to have found success. Joe says that one of the best decisions in his career was asking Jacob Harman to train him. Harmon was his high school coach and knows what Joe is capable of and how hard he can be pushed. Lastly, he says he would not have any success in this sport without his wife always being there to support him, “She cooks my meals, and goes to the gym with me when I have to cut weight. She has been there with me every step of the way.”

Top Photo: Joe Williams (L) delivers a left hand (Keith Mills)

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.

  • Michele

    There’s my bro