Famed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said ‘All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.’
British fighter Paul Daley is ready to become a wise man.
It’s a harsh lesson that Paul Daley had to learn after the incident at UFC 113 last year, in which he suckerpunched Josh Koscheck after their fight and was subsequently bounced from the promotion.
Since that time, Daley has gone on to sign with Strikeforce and this week fights for the BAMMA welterweight title in his home country of England. Still, Daley feels the brunt of that mistake to this day, but he’s hoping to move past it with more electrifying performances and with the knowledge that he learned something from his wrong doing.
He also admits that it’s hard to keep the fan base growing when every time his name comes up, that incident gets mentioned as well.
“It’s hard to keep fans in this sport especially when you’ve got a guy like Dana White hating on you, and turning fans against you,” Daley admitted when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “I’ve returned to the big show over at Strikeforce in the U.S., just prove to people I belong, regardless of what I’ve done in the past.
“Whatever you want to say, I’m a talented fighter, and I’m a guy that stays every time, win lose, or draw; I’m going to come out there and I’m going to try to take somebody’s head off.”
That mentality earned Daley a win in Stirkeforce after he blasted Scott Smith, defeating him by vicious knockout at their fight late last year. As opposed to sitting and waiting for a shot at welterweight champion Nick Diaz, Daley opted to take a fight back at home in England against DEEP champion Yuya Shirai.
While most people would assume that Daley is looking past Shirai as just as warm-up to get to Diaz, Daley would most definitely tell you different.
“This fight’s very serious to me,” he commented. “He’s a sambo champion, he’s a judo champion, and if you look at his fights, he’s pretty comfortable standing on his feet and trading kicks and punches. I know lots about him. He doesn’t seem like he comes into the fights in good shape, and I think the guys he’s fought haven’t been in great shape, which is why he has so many decision wins and losses. I think the fights tend to be a bit sloppy in the end.”
Daley is also happy to prove the theory about his wrestling wrong as well. He’s been criticized for being a one-dimensional fighter in the past, but Daley continues to work at that part of his game and he welcomes Shirai to test it. He’s sure his potential next opponent, Nick Diaz, will do the same thing, too.
“I think both of them will try to work towards my weaknesses and try to wrestle me, and get me to the mat. When they can’t do that, it’s going to be a nice night for me,” Daley said. “I’m just a bit pissed off BAMMA doesn’t have knockout of the night bonuses, or Strikeforce don’t really have the bonuses that the UFC had, but it’s still all good.”
And if Shirai or Diaz try to sharpen their boxing skills and stand up with him?
“I don’t care if you’re boxing with Andre Ward or whoever Diaz is boxing with. I don’t care if Shirai is boxing with the Japanese national champion; it’s not me,” Daley stated.
“I’m giving you advice Diaz and Shirai that would make for a sweet and short fight for me.”
Daley’s main contract currently resides with Strikeforce, but the British slugger does have a two-fight deal with BAMMA and promises his fans at home that if he gets past Shirai, he will come back to fulfill his contract.
Following this fight, should he win, Daley’s attention will turn to a huge opportunity to take on Nick Diaz.
“Not looking past Shirai, but I’d like to get the title before summer with Diaz, and then look towards a summer defense against whoever it’s going to be,” he said.
MMAWeekly.com sources indicate that if he gets past Shirai, Daley will likely get that shot on April 9.
The first step of that plan takes place Saturday night in England when Daley takes on Yuya Shirai at BAMMA 5.