James Wilks in 2011
|Born||James Brett Wilks|
5 April 1978
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)|
|Reach||75 in (190 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Laguna Hills, California, United States|
|Rank|| Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu |
Full Instructor in Jeet Kune Do
Black Belt in Taekwondo
Black Belt in Kickboxing
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
last updated on: 17 October 2010
James Brett Wilks (born 5 April 1978) is an English film producer, vegan activist, and former professional mixed martial artist. A professional from 2003 until 2012, he competed for the UFC, King of the Cage, and was the winner of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom
Wilks was born and raised in Leicestershire, England. He attended Uppingham School. After leaving Uppingham in 1996, Wilks went to Bournemouth University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Land Management. He moved to the United States in June 2000.
Mixed martial arts career
Wilks began training Taekwondo and Bruce Lee's martial art style, Jeet Kune Do while living in the United Kingdom. He moved to the United States and began training under Erik Paulson with Combat Submission Wrestling. Wilks moved so he could get better at his jiu-jitsu and other ground skills. Wilks holds a black belt in TaeKwonDo and a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He had his first professional fight against The Ultimate Fighter 5 competitor, Roman Mitichyan. Wilks won the fight via armbar submission in the second round. After the fight he took around a year break from fighting so he could focus on training his students. He came back to have his second fight and lost to Jimmy Smith. Before going to tape The Ultimate Fighter 9, Wilks won the Gladiator Challenge welterweight title.
After filming of the Ultimate Fighter ended, Wilks opened up his own gym, Lightning MMA in Laguna Hills, California.
The Ultimate Fighter
After starting his pro career with a 5–2 mark in local shows in California, Wilks was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom representing Team UK under coach Michael Bisping. He defeated the highly regarded Che Mills by submission in an elimination match earning him a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to compete on the show. Wilks had his second fight against Team United States fighter Frank Lester. Wilks won the fight by submission in the second round. In the semi-finals, Wilks faced Lester for a second straight time, after Lester returned to the tournament to defeat David Faulkner while substituting for Jason Pierce, who was removed from the competition by Dana White. In the rematch, Wilks defeated Lester by TKO via knees in the third round, earning a spot in the live finale.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Wilks made his debut for the UFC winning against DaMarques Johnson at the TUF 9 Finale on 20 June 2009. The fight crowned Wilks as the TUF 9 welterweight champion. Wilks dominated the fight against Johnson showing off strong striking and good submission attempts. Wilks finished the fight with Johnson via a rear naked choke submission in the closing seconds of the first round.
Wilks lost to Matt Brown via 3rd-round TKO, on 14 November 2009 at UFC 105. After being knocked down in the second and being saved by the bell from a submission attempt, Wilks came back early in the third round, attempting a kimura, before losing top position. Brown then, from top position, secured the TKO victory. Prior to UFC 115, Wilks revealed that Brown had broken his orbital bone with an elbow strike after just 30 seconds of the first round.
After suffering extensive injuries which included a fractured vertebra and after doctors told him he faced "significantly high risk of paralysis" if he continued to fight, Wilks announced his retirement from active MMA competition on 14 May 2012. His final record, including fights on the Ultimate Fighter TV show, was 10 wins and 4 losses.
The Game Changers
Championships and accomplishments
- Gracie US Nationals
- Gracie US Nationals 2008 Gold Medalist (Advanced Division, 185lbs)
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Gladiator Challenge
- GC Welterweight Championship (One time)
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|11 matches||7 wins||4 losses|
|Loss||7–4||Claude Patrick||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 120||16 October 2010||3||5:00||London, England|
|Win||7–3||Peter Sobotta||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 115||12 June 2010||3||5:00||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Loss||6–3||Matt Brown||TKO (punches)||UFC 105||14 November 2009||3||2:26||Manchester, England|
|Win||6–2||DaMarques Johnson||Submission (rear naked choke)||TUF 9 Finale||20 June 2009||1||4:54||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won the TUF 9 Welterweight Tournament.|
|Win||5–2||Mike Robles||Submission (armbar)||GC 85: Cross Fire||25 October 2008||2||4:27||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||4–2||John Cole||TKO (knees)||Apocalypse Fights 1: The First Sign||7 August 2008||1||0:26||Coachella, California, United States|
|Win||3–2||Shawn Nagano||Submission (rear naked choke)||UAGF 4: Kaos on the Kampus||20 May 2006||2||4:22||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Loss||2–2||Patrick Speight||Decision (unanimous)||Total Combat 13: Anarchy||11 March 2006||3||3:00||Del Mar, California, United States|
|Win||2–1||Ray Lizama||TKO (cut)||KOTC 41: Relentless||24 September 2004||1||1:14||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Loss||1–1||Jimmy Smith||Submission (kneebar)||KOTC 39: Hitmaster||6 August 2004||1||1:40||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Win||1–0||Roman Mitichyan||Submission (armbar)||UAGF Ultimate Cage Fighting 4||12 October 2003||2||Upland, California, United States|
Mixed martial arts exhibition record
|Exhibition record breakdown|
|3 matches||3 wins||0 losses|
|Win||3–0||Frank Lester||TKO (knees)||The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom||3||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Semi-finals|
|Win||2–0||Frank Lester||Submission (armbar)||The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom||2||3:06||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Quarter-finals|
|Win||1–0||Che Mills||Submission (heel hook)||The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom||1||0:30||Cheshire, England, United Kingdom||Elimination bout|
- "James "The Gym Hero" Wilks". Myspace.com. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale live round by round updates and official results". MMAJunkie.com. 20 June 2009. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009.
- "Previously spurned by lady luck, James Wilks ready for UFC". mmajunkie.com. 11 June 2010. Archived from the original on 15 June 2010.
- "UFC 115 full card set. Main card includes Cro Cop vs. Barry; Condit vs. MacDonald". mmajunkie.com. 12 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010.
- "UFC 115 Prelim card recap: Dunham remains unbeaten; Wiman wins controversially". mmajunkie.com. 13 June 2010. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010.
- ""TUF 9" champ James Wilks meets Claude Patrick at UFC 120". mmajunkie.com. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012.
- "UFC 129: Brookins-Makdessi, MacDonald-Wilks Set for April 30 in Toronto". mmafrenzy.com. 4 January 2011.
- "Nate Diaz meets Rory MacDonald at UFC 129". mmajunkie.com. 14 January 2011. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
- "Injured Ludwig out at UFC Fight Night 24, Wilks now faces Sadollah". MMAjunkie. Archived from the original on 7 March 2011.
- "UFC Fight Night 24: Amir Sadollah vs DaMarques Johnson booked with James Wilks out". mmamania.com. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "UFC vet James Wilks retires after docs warn of 'significantly high risk of paralysis'". mmajunkie.com. 14 May 2012. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012.
- "Interview With James Brett Wilks (The Ultimate Fighter : Season 9 Winner)". NEELAMATIQUE.wordpress.com. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- "MMA Ultimate Fighter - James "Lighting" Wilks - Is Vegan". 3 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- Lodge, Guy (8 March 2018). "Film Review: 'The Game Changers'". Variety. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
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