PFL featherweight Chris Wade’s 2021 PFL Championship loss to Movlid Khaybulaev was harder for him to stomach than most realized.
Wade will face former PFL champion Lance Palmer at PFL 2 on Thursday night. He’s coming off a memorable 2021 season that featured highlight wins over Bubba Jenkins and Arman Ospanov.
Wade, a former UFC fighter, has found a home in the PFL after an 11-year career in MMA. But the toughest loss of his career came after falling short of the 145-pound title to Khaybulaev last October.
During his PFL 2 pre-fight media day, Wade explained the aftermath of what he has described as the toughest defeat of his MMA career.
“We fell short, it was crushing,” Wade shared. “It was probably the hardest loss in MMA that I’ve ever had to deal with and to move past. There was a solid junk of time there before the holidays when I was pretty depressed. Pretty upset, going through waves of emotion. Just asking myself ‘Why?’…then if you’re a competitor and you’re a winner, and you stop feeling sorry for yourself, you squash those feelings and get back to work.”
While Wade went through some dark times after the loss to Khaybulaev, he was able to eventually put it behind him as he gets ready for 2022.
“I did, but the positives came after the holidays,” Wade admitted when asked if he took anything positive away from the loss. “The first month, month and a half was just really rough on myself. I still had the cut from the knee, and when I would look in the mirror it would be a constant reminder. It was torture kind of…I’m not just a ‘me’ person, I’m big on my family and my daughter. I wanted that title and that money for them, more than I wanted it for myself.”
Wade fell short in the PFL Playoffs twice before, losing to the eventual lightweight champion Natan Schulte in 2018 and runner-up Loik Radzhabov in 2019. After a pair of devastating losses at lightweight, he decided to make the full-time move to 145 pounds.
Wade will be one of the top contenders in the PFL featherweight division in 2022, and he’ll look to put the past behind him with an impressive performance against Palmer.
What is your prediction for Chris Wade’s 2022 PFL season?