UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman was 4-0 when he first stepped into the octagon. Cain Velasquez, the UFC heavyweight champion was 2-0 when he got the call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. Very few promising prospects are quickly noticed by UFC matchmakers early in their careers. Some do because of the gym they fight out of, but most fly under the radar.
Chas Skelly is an unsigned featherweight that fights out Velociti Fitness in Pantego,Texas as part of the highly touted Team Takedown. Since his pro debut in 2009, Skelly has compiled an 11-0 record with 8 finishes and is still waiting on the call.
“I thought I would already be in” said Skelly about the UFC, “but its ok, I’m just getting better every day.”
Team Takedown striking coach Steven “The Warman” Wright feels that 2014 will be Skelly’s year. “This year with them (the UFC) going to a 54 show roster we feel pretty confident that Chas will finally get his opportunity. He’s always been good enough.” said Wright.
The Warman is so confident in Skelly’s ability, that he believes Skelly has the potential of earning a bonus in his UFC debut if given the fight they are hoping for. “We would love to fight Nam Phan,” said Wright about their ideal first UFC fight, “It would be a fight of the night type fight, plus Chas brings the grappling and the wrestling so we feel very confident that if he would get that kind of a fight that he would do extremely well.”
Skelly was a decorated high school wrestler at Azle High School, winning a Texas state championship in 2003. After high school, Skelly wrestled in college but was not able to reach his true potential. “I went to like 4 or 5 different colleges. I didn’t accomplish what I should have or what I could have. I had beaten really good guys at every level. National champions at every level and just didn’t accomplish that myself so it was heart breaking.” said Skelly.
After college, Skelly moved back home with his parents and gave wrestling lessons. One day he was approached at the gym and was asked if he was interested in being a wrestling partner for a local professional fighter. Being an MMA fan, Skelly accepted and began working out with UFC bantamweight, “Brutal” Johnny Bedford.
A few months into training, Skelly had his first opportunity to climb into the cage. Bedford asked him to take an amateur fight for a guy who had recently pulled out, and Skelly obliged. This began a new chapter in Skelly’s life.
Skelly had a few more amateur bouts before turning pro in March of 2009. By May of the next year, he had built up his record to 7-0 but suffered a setback after his bout at Bellator 19, when he broke his foot and tore all the tendons in his foot in a submission victory over Daniel Pineda.
When Skelly came back from the injury, he began to train with Shane Roller and Team Takedown. After one month of training at the facility, the guys from Team Takedown sat Skelly down and invited him to become a part of the team, an offer that includes a salary and paid living expenses.
Once a member, Skelly quickly got up to 11-0 before hitting a snag. Skelly’s coaches were having a hard time finding opponents that were willing to step in the cage with someone with so many wins, at the same time, they were sitting back waiting for the call to come from the big show. The call never came, so in 2014, Skelly and his team are going to fight as often as they can and hope for the best.
“We made a decision to go on and keep fighting and that’s what I want to do. Hopefully I can fight that January fight and then turn around and fight in that UFC card in March.” said Skelly.
After such a long journey, it would be a dream come true for Skelly if he was to get the call for UFC 171. “It would mean a ton to me, it would be hard to explain what it means to me.” said Skelly.
Skelly will be facing Richard Villa January 16 at Triple A MMA in Ft Worth, Texas.