As Paul Daley gets ready for his return to Strikeforce on Dec. 4, he’s entering the fight with Scott Smith under a much different mindset than he did when he made his infamous exit from the UFC in a fight against Josh Koscheck.
Daley actually likes his opponent this time around.
The British heavy hitter is no stranger to pre-fight hype and some good old fashioned trash talk when the moment presents itself, but Daley is actually a fan of his opponent in this fight.
“Scott is one of those guys that I used to watch back in the day, because of his game, he comes out and fights. He has that attitude that I admire and you know when he is in a fight it is going to be an exciting fight,” Daley said about his opponent. “The dude knocks people out, a man after my own heart. He likes to go in there and leave people lying on the floor, receiving oxygen. It is going to be a great fight. I have trained hard. I expect it to be a short but exciting fight.”
That change of mentality is something that Daley believes actually plays into his favor. In many past bouts, the venom between he and his opponents has interfered with his mindset going into the fight, but he actually prefers to admire his opponent as opposed to despising them.
“It makes it a more fun fight. A lot of the fights I’ve been in, in the past, have been (more) exciting, where I’m actually relaxed, the fights where I’m actually a fan of the person that I’m fighting because I feel like I’m familiar with them from watching a lot of their fights,” said Daley. “I know how they operate, and I’m going into that fight with a lot of knowledge on that person, rather than someone that I don’t admire and don’t really pay much attention to.”
Smith has been known throughout his career as just the fighter Daley described him as. He is an exciting striker with knockout power, and one undeniable characteristic that simply cannot be taught in the gym.
Scott Smith doesn’t understand the meaning of the word quit.
From his bounce back punch to knockout Pete Sell in the UFC to his undying attitude that saw him hand Cung Le the first professional loss in his MMA career, Smith has proven time and time again that even 10 seconds left on the clock may be just enough for him to land the shot that brings the fight back into his win column.
Daley is well aware of Smith’s improbable comebacks, but doesn’t plan on being an addition to his list of accolades.
“It is something I have looked at in his past fights. He’s had some crazy fights where he comes back Rocky style, but I am very good at finishing fights,” said Daley. “When I hit people they stay hit. Both of us are knockout punchers, so from my point of view there has to be some caution to the way I approach things compared to the way I approach a standard fight.
“There are some tactics that I have been working on because of Smith’s fighting style. I have been working everything, but I am slightly more cautious about working on other things when it comes to stand-up.”
If Daley can put Smith down, he plans on making him stay down, and then they can shake hands and be friends again after the fight. Until then, Daley will look at Smith as enemy number one as he looks to get in Strikeforce title contention with a win.
The dueling knockout artists meet on Dec. 4 in St. Louis as the next Strikeforce offering on Showtime.