by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Paul “Semtex” Daley looks to bring home a new championship belt to England on Saturday night when he faces Jake Shields on CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights. He is a seasoned veteran who has an impressive 18-6 record in mixed martial arts.
Daley has spent the majority of his career fighting for Cage Rage in England. He has notable wins over Mark Weir, Duane Ludwig and Ultimate Fighter alumnus Sam Morgan, all via TKO stoppages. Daley has been training for his fight in Holland with Melvin Manhoef and has had a very tough training camp in preparation for Shields.
“It’s hard,” Daley said in an interview with MMAWeekly. “I’ve been training out there for the Grand Prix. Melvin didn’t do so well, but the training that we put in was really intense. Lots of conditioning, lots of kickboxing as you’d expect; hard sparring with Melvin Manhoef. We had a whole bunch of guys come through the camp. It was awesome.”
When the English fighter was first offered the fight, he initially didn’t accept it due to a long layoff and the caliber of fighter that Shields is. However, he was able to take a tune-up fight against Bojan Kosednar and was victorious via knockout. Now he feels ready to take on the highly respected Shields.
“I was real happy,” explained Daley. “First they offered it to me and I said, ‘no, I’m not really ready.’ But I had a good fight over in the U.K., obviously because I was off for four or five months. I fought against a real tough guy and knocked him out. I thought, ‘OK, bring on Jake Shields.’ When I was given the fight, I was real excited because this is a fight that you really have to train for because Jake is no joke.”
If “Semtex” is successful in defeating Shields, he sees the situation as both a positive and a negative considering that EliteXC’s welterweight division is a little thin on top talent. However, he is willing to trim down to 160-pounds to compete for that belt.
“It’s going to be awesome. At the same time it presents some problems. Most of the Top 10 guys are in the UFC. Getting there is going to be a problem. Hopefully, there will be some guys coming up that I can find. It’s a difficult situation in the division. Or maybe now that the 160 belt is free, maybe I’ll take that as well. Nick Diaz is out there, Eddie Alvarez…. there’s a lot of opportunities in EliteXC.”
The American fans have had a limited viewing of Daley’s fights. For those who aren’t familiar with him, he has had many exciting fights and displays an outgoing personality. Predominantly a stand-up fighter, many fans have enjoyed watching his dynamic striking game and he believes that they are ready to watch him attempt to knockout Shields.
“I think they are ready. They had a taste with Duane Ludwig. Then they had the spectacle of the super elbow of Sam Morgan. They are going to see something special. Either way they are going to love me or hate me. Hopefully they are going to love me when I kick his head into the stands,” he said, only half-jokingly.
One thing that Daley isn’t concerned with is the game plan that Shields intends on implementing. However, he is aware that Shields will try to take the fight to the ground.
“I don’t really care what he’s going to do. Obviously I know what he’s going to do. I know his fighting style. I’m just going to do what I’m going to do. Let him worry about that. I don’t really care what he wants to do. If he wants to strike, then we’ll strike. If he wants to take me down, then take me down. But he’ll have to be ready for me coming to him. I don’t give a (expletive) what he’s going to do. I’m going to beat him.”
Although Daley has a lack of concern for his opponent’s potential strategy, it doesn’t mean he won’t have one of his own. His game plan is rather simple.
“I have my game plan, which is pretty simple. It’s to finish the fight by knockout or having the ref drag me off him. Real simple. Semtex is going to do what Semtex does. I’m coming to punch your head off. Jake, you better keep your guard up. Watch the knees when you’re shooting in. After I knock you out, just smile, shake my hand and we’ll have a beer and whatever.”