31-year-old Jamie Pickett (11-4) finally achieved his dream of being on the UFC roster last Tuesday in what was his third appearance on UFC President Dana White’s eponymous Dana White’s Contender Series.
Defeating Jhonoven Pati (6-4) via an eye-popping “22-punch combination” – as Pickett’s new boss, White, heralded the knockout – this achievement comes from a long line of lessons from past shortcomings, including two prior chances at the elusive UFC contract.
Pickett trains out of North Carolina at Port City Sports Performance. He appeared on the first-ever episode of DWCS back in 2017. Pickett fell short via submission to future UFC signee Charles Byrd (10-7).
The middleweight prospect did not have the glamorous undefeated start to his career that MMA fans often hear about from many of the top names in the sport. Pickett began his professional career 1-2, including a loss in his debut fight.
Pickett then found a “home” on the regional promotion scene in Next Level Fight Club, a local promotion. Pickett did bounce from show to show on occasion to stay busy. Next Level Fight Club isn’t a worldwide, well-known promotion or a feeding ground to the UFC by any means, but it was close to home in Greenville, North Carolina.
Pickett won his first six victories by KO/TKO to open to 6-2 in his young career. After his first loss on the series, he stayed away from fighting for over a year only to return with a doctor stoppage win from a brutal cut over the eyebrow of his opponent in the first round.
“I trained as hard as I could,” Pickett told MMAJunkie of his DWCS preparations after his win. “The first time, it was like on two days’ notice, so I didn’t really train, just tried to cut weight. The second time, I just came off driving a truck and tried to get in shape, and I got in shape kinda, but [surging, undefeated UFC prospect] Puna [Punahele Soriano (7-0)] was just so good. It was hard to prepare for him that quick, which Puna was probably the coolest fighter I ever fought was him.”
In his second DWCS fight, Pickett faced the aforementioned Soriano, who defeated Pickett via unanimous decision last season. Each time Pickett has lost on the Contender Series, he has gone 2-0 afterward. It just so happens that his fight against Pati was his second fight since the Soriano loss.
Sporting a wild 80″ reach for the middleweight division, Pickett has always had the range to couple with a knack for dominating wrestling and takedowns, but his recent performance has also shown fans that his power is not to be overlooked. Pickett yet again proved this with his KO of Pati on DWCS Season 4.
September 24, 2011, was Pickett’s first professional fight, a loss. Now nearly nine years later, Pickett knows exactly where his next fight will be: the UFC.