In early 2014 things could not have been going better for welterweight veteran Douglas Lima, but ever since then it’s been one struggle after another to get back to that high point.
Following his win over Rick Hawn at Bellator 117 to claim the promotion’s 170-pound title, Lima missed over a year due to injuries, and when he did come back in May of last year, he lost his belt to Andrey Koreshlov.
“It was a horrible year for myself, but right now I’m just healing up from that last surgery and I’ve been okay for about five months,” Lima told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been training hard fulltime and I feel very good, and things are falling into place, so I’m just a very thankful and happy guy right now.”
Though he’s healthy now, going through the recovery process and missing nearly another year of action took its toll on Lima.
“Not getting better was the worst thing,” said Lima. “I had four surgeries these past couple years. I had the fungal infection that came out of nowhere. There were a lot of times I was thinking I would never do this again, so that was very scary for me and my family.”
Originally, Lima (26-6) was going to face Chidi Njokuani at Bellator 156 in June, but due to an injury to Josh Koscheck, he will be stepping in to take on Paul Daley (38-13-2) in a main event 170-pound bout on July 16 in London, England.
“A week and a half before the Chidi fight, Koscheck got injured and then they called us,” Lima said. “It was a bigger fight on a bigger show, and a title shot guaranteed with the win, so we accepted. It was a fight that I’ve wanted for a long time and I’m just glad they called me for that.”
Luckily for Lima, his preparation didn’t change much in moving from Njokuani to Daley.
“They’re both strikers, and that’s what we’ve been training for, so it’s pretty much the same thing,” said Lima. “I think Chidi was a harder opponent to train for because of his length. He was so long and fast. The fight is bigger, but at the same time it is better.
“The goal is always the same: I want to finish the fight. I cannot let it go the judges. That’s always been my way fighting, I always try to finish, so nothing changes much; I’ve just got to make sure it happens this time.”
While a title shot against Andrey Koreshkov is on the line against Daley, Lima is not allowing himself to get sidetracked from the task at hand.
“My ultimate goal there is to be the champion, but you’ve got to separate the two,” Lima said. “The focus right now is (Daley), so that’s what we’re focused on, and I’m really thinking about it. But it does motivate me a lot more knowing that I beat this guy and I fight for the title.”