Paul Daley may never forget the moment he threw a punch at Josh Koscheck after their fight was over, because that was the last time he would step into the UFC Octagon. Fighting like life can be about second chances though, and so now Daley gets an opportunity to fight in the Strikeforce cage for the first time ever this December.
Still rated as a top ten welterweight, Daley has a tough road to climb when it comes to his public perception after UFC president Dana White ousted him from the promotion, but Strikeforce saw something in the British bomber to bring him in.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker explained the organization’s decision to sign Daley, and while he believes the occurrence with Koscheck was a one time deal, they will still watch over him to make sure nothing like that happens again.
“It’s an emotional time, these guys get heated up. Paul’s a good kid. He’s not a bad guy doing malicious things throughout his whole career,” Coker told MMAWeekly Radio. “We just take it on a case by case basis, but I think he learned his lesson. It’s up to him to control himself, and we’re going to give him the opportunity.
“That said, we’re definitely going to keep our eye on him and make sure he abides by the rules and the regulations with the commissions that we’re promoting in and along with the Strikeforce rules.”
Daley’s return will come in December against former middleweight slugger Scott Smith, who will be making his welterweight debut. With his status as a top welterweight from day one in Strikeforce, many believe that with a win Daley could earn a shot at champion Nick Diaz.
Coker doesn’t completely rule out that scenario, but says internal discussions have put Daley in at least one more fight before he’d get the chance to face Diaz for the belt.
“The fight that we’re discussing internally if Paul gets past Scott maybe he and Evangelista Cyborg could fight,” Coker said. “We could put that fight together in relatively quick fashion, maybe next year in the next three or four months, we can put that fight together and the winner of that fight could fight Nick Diaz.”
Diaz just finished up his first official Strikeforce title defense defeating K.J. Noons in a five-round fight, and Coker believes he’s going to take some time off before returning in 2011.
As for Daley, he’s never been overly apologetic for anything he’s done in the past, but he will likely live with that moment of infamy forever. Now his job is to make a new lasting memory. Perhaps one with a gold strap and the title of Strikeforce champion could do the job.