Before Chase Boutwell defends his Valor Fights amateur bantamweight championship at Valor 50 on June 9 in Knoxville, the fast-rising prospect caught up with Fightbook MMA.
What does your Valor bantamweight championship belt mean to you?
I don’t want to say the belt itself is not valuable but it represents the hard work I’ve put into it. I don’t look at it as though it says who I am. I am who I am by what I do. By that I mean the way I carry myself, talk to people, and treat people – stuff of that nature.
What is it that makes a champion in your opinion?
Like I said, the belt doesn’t make a champion, but the person you are does. It’s about the way you treat people, once again. I think that’s a big deal. Whoever they are – whether they’re somebody who just started day one jujitsu or a veteran of the game – you’ve got to treat them the same. I think that what comes down to making a person a champion is how they make people feel. Obviously, you’ve got to put the work in and have a good work ethic and do the right things outside of the gym. Just that, basically.
Are you surprised by the success you’ve found in MMA?
Surprised? No, I wouldn’t say that. I don’t want to sound cocky. But if people saw how much work I put into this and how I treat my body, and all of the stuff I stay out of outside of the gym – they’d understand. I’m not surprised, but I’m definitely fortunate to be able to do what I do.
What does your opponent bring to the table for your upcoming fight?
I treat every opponent the same. I just train as if they’re the best in the world. This specific guy brings very high-level wrestling – I know that for a fact. His standup wasn’t as developed in his last fight as it could have been, but I’m treating this fight as though he’s been training full time these last four months – he’s ready. I’m ready for the best guy at 135, it doesn’t matter who it is.
Is this the year you go professional?
If I do go pro, it’ll be at the very end. I don’t want to say too much, because it’s still in the works. But, we’re still talking about it. I may have plans to go to the world championships and try to do better because it left a bad taste in my mouth last time and I don’t want to leave my mark on the tournament without even a placement. So, I don’t want to say anything too soon because we’re still looking but I’m leaning that way.