Following multiple delays due to opponents dropping out, as well as his own injury problems, featherweight Mark “Tricky” Dickman finally made his Bellator debut this past May.
Against Thomas Diagne, Dickman was able to control much of the fight en route to a third round TKO at Bellator 154.
“I felt like it went down exactly like I thought it would,” Dickman told MMAWeekly.com. “I knew (Diagne) was a good kickboxer and had some decent takedown defense, and he was super-long, so I didn’t want to stay outside. I wanted to get inside and grind him out.
“I got the finish. There were a couple things I would have wished I’d done better, but I got the finish, and I got the win, and that’s what mattered to me.”
Having originally signed with Bellator in 2015, Dickman ended up having over a year between fights due to a string of bad luck. While he was unhappy with the layoff, ultimately he believes it paid off in the long run.
“I had a couple guys back out, and then I suffered an injury,” he said. “It was bad because I really wanted to get in there and show them what I could do. I did have a lot of time to prepare for Thomas, so it was good and it was bad, but it worked out in the end.”
Dickman (11-2) will make his return to Bellator on September 16 in Cedar Park, Texas, to take on local veteran Daniel Pineda (21-12) in a preliminary 145-pound bout.
“Every fighter is dangerous early, especially Daniel,” Dickman said. “He’s definitely a fast fighter and tries to go to the finish. I think he’s going to have trouble taking me down, and if he does, he’s going to have trouble on the ground. I think the longer the fight goes, the better it will be for me.
“On paper I’m the better grappler, I’m the better striker, and I’m a step above in all disciplines. I’m sure that he feels a different way, but that’s the way it’s going to go.”
Now that he’s finally in Bellator and healthy, Dickman’s eyes are set firmly on going after the featherweight championship.
“I want to get to that belt as quickly as possible,” said Dickman. “I think (Bellator) should give me a Top 10 guy after this. I’m definitely ready. I’m a top prospect and after this I want a top contender.”