by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Shortly after losing his
Strikeforce light heavyweight championship to Renato “Babalu” Sobral, former
Southworth met with the media to discuss the fight and the possibility of a
“Obviously I’m disappointed.
Any time you lose a fight it’s disappointing, but when you lose a belt, it’s a
little more,” said Southworth when asked about his thoughts on the fight.
Up until the fight-ending
cut, he looked impressive both in physique and in fight strategy, as he was
able to get Babalu on the ground and impose his will. “Its unfortunate. I
thought I was winning the fight up until the cut.”
“I’ve said many times that
you can’t really complain about stoppages. The officials are in there and their
primary concern is your safety as a fighter,” said Southworth after being asked
if he thought the fight was stopped prematurely.
Although he was disappointed
about losing the fight due to a cut stoppage, Southworth spoke highly of the
new champion. “My opinion of Babalu is that he’s an icon in the sport, a legend,
and it was truly an honor to fight him.
“Babalu is a true sportsman
and now he’s a true champion. Hopefully, he’ll give me a rematch for the belt.”
One thing that was
noticeable as Southworth stepped into the cage was his physical condition,
looking to be in the best shape of his fighting career. Southworth elaborated
on his preparation for this big fight.
“Definitely, I’m always in
the gym, always training, but as you watch the sport evolve and you see the
evolution of fighters elevate their game," he stated. "Everybody has
a strength and conditioning coach and they have a nutritionist. I’ve always had
people that work me out, people that have certification, but I’ve never had a
real nutritionist put together a nutrition package and work me out four days a
week, but for this fight I had that”.
When asked about his future
and whom he’d like to face next, Southworth made no
qualms that he’d like a chance to get his title back in the near future. “I’m
always looking to face the best competition that I can. Babalu was the toughest
challenge of my career and, outside the UFC, he’s one of the top 205-pounders
that’s out there.
“I’d definitely like to
fight him in a rematch. What’s the point of fighting someone else that’s below
Although coming out on the
wrong side of the win column, Southworth feels like a rematch is in the cards
for both fighters. “My main concern is to get my belt back. When you lose to a
cut, you don’t feel like you’ve been beaten, and you still feel the belt is
yours and I still feel that way.
“Even though Babalu is the
champion, he’s already stated that he’d give me a rematch and hopefully that
happens as soon as possible.”
The next Strikeforce in San
Jose, Calif. is tentatively scheduled to happen in March of next year. That leaves
the door wide open for a possible rematch.