I have the capacity to make anyone look average – Douglas Lima included. My victories in the past have taken away from my opponents’ actual ability because of how easy I made it look.
Regardless of how good Lima is, he has a very traditional style and I match well against that. It’s MMA, anything could happen and he could switch tactics, but he said he’s going to stand up. Paul Daley was not true to himself against me. Nobody expected that from him. I’ve never seen him do that in any fight and I genuinely believe that was a confidence crisis. I hope Lima’s true to his word. He is confident enough to at the very least try to make his style work against me. It could be an amazing battle of the titans.
This fight is the same as every fight, I have to get the best me on the day out there. My style is just ridiculously hard to handle and measure. It’s hard to land shots on me. I know he’s a very powerful person, but I always say, power only means something if you land. My movement’s got to be on point from start to finish. My striking has got to be accurate.
Lima is the favourite to progress past MVP this weekend & into the grand prix final (Picture: Bellator)Long-range fighting is definitely my style and it’s the best strategy for Lima. There will be times when we’re in close and I’ve got to make sure I slip and dip out the correct way. That should stop the effectiveness of his leg kicks. It’s about making the key decisions at close-range so I can continue to do what I do best on the outside. I’m not too fussed about his leg kicks, I don’t get hit with them a lot because it’s difficult to land those on me. I don’t think I’ll be open for the same kind of damage Lima inflicted on Rory MacDonald.
I don’t care about being the underdog. Lima deserves to be the favourite to go through, just because of what he’s achieved. I’ve felt much more relaxed going into this fight. There’s attention on other fights on the card and there’s no animosity between myself and Lima. It feels nice, it feels like when I used to go to competitions when I was younger.
Bellator 221 Main Card
Michael Chandler vs Patricio PitbullDouglas Lima vs Michael PageAJ McKee vs Pat CurranJake Hager vs TJ Jones
We’d shake hands with everyone we had just been punching and kicking in the face. My mindset is totally different to my last fight. I’ve been able to accept the loss of my father. I’ve got a great support unit around me with my partner, friends and family. It hit everybody bad, but we’ve now had time to grow and accept what’s happened.
MacDonald progressed past Fitch after a lacklustre display (Picture: Bellator)I want to fight Rory MacDonald in the final, no offence to Neiman Gracie, but he’s the bigger name. Outside of that, I couldn’t really care less who I fight – I just want to be champion. With regards to MacDonald’s comments after his draw with Jon Fitch, this is the wrong arena to be questioning yourself. You can’t be doubting yourself while someone is trying to take your head off. I definitely don’t fight from a place of anger. It’s more fun, it’s more of a game for me. Combat sports has always been in my life and I’ve never seen it as violent. I went to competitions every weekend and it’s a different air. You’d spend time with people you competed against and it never felt like you were hurting anyone. I live by that now. People are fuelled differently in fighting, but I never feel anger in the cage.
Raymond Daniels was 0-1 as a pro until tonight 🤯 pic.twitter.com/vIlampmXCR
— Caged Fight Club (@CagedFC) May 5, 2019
It is a fact British MMA fighters don’t get the recognition we deserve. We’re not lauded like Andy Murray or Anthony Joshua. The UK is very slow to jump onto new things, MMA has come a long way, but many people, sports people too, feel negatively about MMA. Boxing has spent many years engraining itself into mainstream culture, MMA isn’t there yet. MMA looks different to boxing, but in terms of what we do as athletes, it’s unbelievable. With a bit more exposure, people will understand that. It is an amazing sport. It’s just massively difficult to do. We deserve to recognised like our tennis players, our golf players and all our athletes. Being on Sky Sports is a big step to opening the door towards that. More eyes will be on us, and the more educated people are, the more accepting they’ll be. It might not happen during my career, but I’d hope to be the person who kicks through the doors for the next generation.
MVP fights this weekend in Chicago (Picture: Bellator)One of the reasons I got into MMA was for people to respect my style and to draw more eyes to the sport itself. A lot of people try to compete in a specific way. There’s the Conor McGregor route: Loud, abrasive, quick-witted and trash talking. That’s not for everybody. We can sell the fight by making the fight itself entertaining. I’m hoping for more freestyle fighters like myself to come into MMA. We saw Raymond Daniels the other day in Birmingham. That knockout has been seen across the world. We need more creative fighters who can thrive off the fact people are watching you.
View from Old Trafford
Alexis Sanchez has to be sold immediately, he needs to be the first out the door this summer. Paul Pogba is an amazing player, but it’s down to whether he wants to be here. I want him to stay, but if he’s on the fence, then just go. We don’t need people who are half in, half out. Romelu Lukaku could be sold as well. We do need a complete revamp. We have an attitude problem with the main players, they’re the most influential. We need passion, people dedicated to the club.
Sanchez is being linked with a move away from United (Picture: Getty)That will bring consistency to every game. Ander Herrera was that player for me. He’s underappreciated in terms of his influence I think. Him being on the bench is a joke, and I understand he may want to leave. Leicester City and Tottenham have proven it’s not just about world class players, but passion. It’s down to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make these hard decisions. He needs to be ruthless like Sir Alex Ferguson was, take back control of the club from the players.
Ed Woodward has been one of the worse things to happen to Manchester United in a long time. He makes too many of the decisions and doesn’t put experienced people in key positions. He appears set on making the same mistakes. Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes are candidates for the Director of Football role…You don’t get a chef to fix your car. Woodward somehow hasn’t figured that out yet.
Watch MVP in action against Douglas Lima at Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull in the semi-finals of the Welterweight Grand Prix live on Sky Sports in the early hours of Sunday, May 12
MORE: Bellator champion Rory MacDonald confirms intention to fight Neiman Gracie