An old adage says age is nothing but a number, and in the world of sports, many have proven the validity of this saying. Many believed, at one time, that an athlete will not be able to achieve success when their best days pass them by. Often, it only takes that kind of outside doubt for an athlete in that position to train harder and battle harder to be better than they ever could have been in what those critics and skeptics classified as “their prime”.

Victor Valimaki might be considered in the aforementioned vein because he has fought from a young age, but in reality, the 32 year-old Canadian MMA staple hardly represents a man in the twilight of his athletic career. In fact, as he has grown as a fighter, he has had time to also gain some wisdom over the past couple of years.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the same person,” Valimaki told The MMA Corner Radio, “It’s time to let that talent come out and hit as much potential as I can.”

Valimaki’s last defeat came in 2010, and it led to him taking some time away from the sport. Valimaki would come back two years later and defeat Tim Chemelli, before taking another two years off and fighting Bill Widler at MFC 40 earlier this year. Valimaki’s layoff between Chemelli and Widler ultimately helped “The Matrix”, as it not only helped him to improve in his career, but it also ended up saving his life.

“After Chemelli, I ended up having some kidney issues due to monster weight cuts my whole career and ended up destroying my body from doing 30-35-pound water cuts, which I don’t recommend, by the way. I was actually supposed to fight at MFC 39, before the Bill Widler fight, but they found a tumor in my throat. I ended up in the hospital, they found the tumor, had that removed, and so it was a really big climb back from being in a hospital bed having surgeries to coming back in training and rebuilding, and I was pretty out of shape after all that.”

Time works in mysterious ways when it comes to healing, especially in the case of athletes. Sometimes, athletes can recover from surgeries at a seemingly superhuman rate and come back to training, but sometimes, it takes a while before the body can truly ever recover. With the number of surgeries and issues that Valimaki encountered, there initially came the question of whether or not he ever would be able to get back to doing what he loved.

“At first, when I first had the issues, I had those thoughts, but then I had those thoughts of ‘I may not be able to do this physically, but I’m stubborn’, and I knew I’d find a way. If I had to die in the ring, I was going to do it, and I’m a fighter at heart.”

After coming to grips with the fact that he would try and find a way, regardless of any self-doubt, Valimaki pushed through and worked on getting himself back to form. He never retired from MMA, but he accepted the fact that the climb would prove itself to be a difficult one. Eventually, he completed the climb by facing Widler and scoring an emotional win in his hometown.

Fast forward to this Friday night, when the Maximum Fighting Championship returns to Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, and Valimaki is back in action. The opposition for him comes in the form of Jeremy Osheim, who stands undefeated thus far in his career, but faces a stern test in Valimaki.

“Jeremy was the first guy. There were some other options at first, but Mark Pavelich set this fight up for me, and at this point I want challenging guys. He’s this big up-and-comer, a big, tall guy, 6-foot 5, and it’s a challenging fight. That’s what I want, and that’s the only fight that is the original fight on the card. This card has been plagued with injuries and guys dropping out and Mark having to find replacements, but I think the card now is better than it originally was with some of the replacements. Mark threw him at me and I jumped at the opportunity.”

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.