After having multiple opponents drop out of his proposed Bellator 173 bout in February, former light-heavyweight champion Liam McGeary was finally able to step into the cage against Brett McDermott and came away with a win.
For McGeary, just being able to fight and get back on track after suffering a loss – and losing his title – to Phil Davis to close out 2016 was a big thing.
“(McDermott) was a tough opponent, when they finally got somebody to fight me,” McGeary told MMAWeekly.com. “When they said who it was, I kind of knew he was coming for a scrap.
“(Going through multiple opponents) was a little bit annoying. I was coming off a loss; I really wanted to have a scrap, so yeah I just wanted anybody to get in there.”
Even though he had won his first 12 fights and claimed a world championship, the loss to Davis had some thinking that McGeary was in trouble of falling apart.
“People always have their opinions,” said McGeary. “I heard a few opinions that Liam is on his way down. He’s lost his title. He’s lost his first fight. That’s the end of him. No. I made a mistake and I paid severely for it. At the end of the day I fixed what needed to be fixed.
“To me, losing a fight is getting finished. (Davis) wanted to ride it out and get the decision win. In my eyes you’ve got to finish a person. If you don’t finish me, I’m going to keep coming back, and I proved that. In my eyes you need to finish the fight.”
Having spent nearly a year between his win over MMA legend Tito Ortiz and his match with Davis, McGeary is much more pleased to be returning to action just three months after his win over McDermott.
“You need to keep momentum and keep going forward,” McGeary said. “I had a big massive break (after the Ortiz fight), so my momentum stopped, and now it’s getting back to where it was back before.”
McGeary (12-1) heads back to his native England to take on fellow UK veteran Linton Vassell (18-5) in a 205-pound co-main event of Bellator 179 on Friday.
“I’ve got to knock him out or submit him,” said McGeary of Vassell. “This fight can only have happened in England at the SSE Arena in Wembly. It’s the only place that really could have contained it.”
While getting his championship back is an eventual goal for McGeary, he’s not going to let the possibility of a title shot get in the way of the task at hand on May 19.
“It’s just another fight,” McGeary said. “I focus on that. That’s all I’ve ever done. I’ve just got to focus on what I’ve got to do. And I’ve got a man-mountain in Linton that’s standing in front of me, so I’ve got to bust him down.”