In just a couple of years, Bellator middleweight Brennan “Irish Bad Boy” Ward has built himself into one of the premier up-and-coming fighters in his weight class.
For Ward, who has fought nine of his 10 pro fights between February 2012 and now, it’s all part of doing what feels right to him.
“I’ve been busy and have had a bunch of fights over a couple of years and it’s been fun,” Ward told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m just having fun with it and take it as it comes and try to enjoy it as much as it can.
“Of course you want to stay active. You want to do as much as you possibly can and as best as you can. I like staying busy and not having a lot of down time.”
Ward doesn’t feel like his heavy schedule has affected his health and that wear and tear is not an issue.
“I’m good,” he said. “I don’t get affected too much by it. My body tells me (how much it can take). I’ve always worked really hard my whole life, so it’s not really any different.”
If anything, Ward feels he’s grown more mature as a fighter because he’s been so busy.
“I think I’m more patient,” he said. “I used to come out real frantic and used to go real, real hard right away. I’ve kind of learned to sit back and game plan a little more.”
Having established himself as one to watch at middleweight, Friday night in Salt Lake City, Utah, Ward (9-1) has an opportunity to take the next step in his career as he challenges Alexander Shlemenko (49-7) for the Bellator middleweight championship.
Facing someone that has 40-plus fights on him and whose current 12-fight winning streak is more bouts than he’s had total, Ward isn’t letting the weight of the situation get to him.
“He’s like any other guy,” said Ward of Shlemenko. “This is like any other fight. I’m going to push the pace, make him fight my fight, and bring it to him hard.”
Ward knows that if things go sideways Friday night, the Bellator tournament system could allow him a chance to get right back to where he is now.
“It’s great because you know a title shot is always a couple fights away,” he said. “If you lose a title fight, you can jump right back into a tournament and get back there.”
Then again, if he is victorious against Shlemenko, Ward’s goals for the year aren’t going to change much either.
“I just want to fight and have fun,” he said. “My life doesn’t revolve around this stuff; it’s just what I do. So that’s the whole goal: always to have fun.”
(Photo courtesy of Bellator)