Not in 2018, 2019, or last month. No, Williams had come too far to turn back, despite the doubters coming at him from every side ever since he first put on the gloves.

“I’ve been told to quit since the start,” said Williams, a Type 1 diabetic who was initially misdiagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic. He received the incorrect diagnosis before a 2010 amateur bout with future UFC fighter Max Griffin that was scheduled for five, three-minute rounds. He went on with the fight and won it.

“I told the doctor I just started fighting and I like this,” recalled Williams. “He said, ‘Well, you’re gonna have to stop that. You can’t fight. You’re diabetic.’ But I didn’t quit, I won my first title against someone who was in the UFC five years before me and I just carried that weight. I’ve been told to quit from the beginning. So when I didn’t get the contract the first time around and people were thinking I must be on the edge of quitting, I was so far from quitting.”

Two wins sandwiched around a controversial split decision loss later, and he’s here. I ask him how he can possibly get up emotionally for this weekend’s fight after the high of the last one so soon.

“I didn’t even come down from the fact that I earned a UFC contract,” he laughs. “I did not sleep one second that night. I was sipping my Kool-Aid and I didn’t even get to enjoy my flavor before they refilled my cup. Oh my goodness. (Laughs) But this is great.”

What’s even better is that the 29-year-old isn’t just fighting for himself. He’s fighting for anyone who’s been told they can’t do something.

“I’ve been influencing those kids to do what they want,” Williams said. “And now I feel like I just gave ammo to the parents. You know how hard it is to get a UFC contract? It’s damn near the same probability of getting eaten by a shark. You think I’m done with this? You think I’m over? I got so much more to do now. I can’t just go get my UFC contract, go 0-4 or 0-3 and get kicked out. My job is far from over.”

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