by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Considered one of the top welterweight prospects in the sport currently, Dan Hornbuckle is looking to expand his fan base in the United States this year when he returns home to compete in the upcoming Bellator welterweight tournament starting in just a few months.
A winner of his last four fights in a row, Hornbuckle jumped onto everyone’s radar last year with back-to-back knockout wins over Akihiro Gono and Nick Thompson. While concentrating on Bellator for now, Hornbuckle says he will return to Sengoku at some point in the near future.
“The immediate situation with Sengoku is I still have several fights left with them for my contract, and Bellator has it signed into their contract that I’m still able to fight over there with approval of opponents, and a certain amount of time,” Hornbuckle commented when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.
On Wednesday, Bellator announced the final two participants for the upcoming 170lb tournament, and the bracket for the 8 fighters involved should debut sometime soon. Still for Hornbuckle, he wishes the wait was over already.
“It’s still up in the air. It’s messed up, I laugh about it because I’m truly frustrated about it, but those are variables I can’t control,” Hornbuckle commented. “It’s not going to change the outcome of that strap going around my waist anyway.”
Hornbuckle has been on hiatus since his win over Thompson in September 2009, but he’s taking full advantage of the time off and believes he’ll be ready when the tournament starts.
“The downtime’s really good right now, especially with what is on the line,” said Hornbuckle. “Bellator’s coming together real strong, putting together a really great second season, and a lot of motivation from those two big wins in my career to give me time to work on holes in my game that I’ve seen, and to really sharpen it up and bring into top ten level.”
The expansion of Bellator cannot be denied with their growing television base and fighters under contract, but Hornbuckle admits it was the tournament format that truly made him decide on that promotion above all else.
“Bellator brought the tournament to my attention, and the tournament is what swayed me because it’s not a matchmaker saying this style would beat this style, this guy’s a slugger this guy’s a slugger, let’s get it on. It’s the best man moves on to the next round of the tournament, and the best man’s going to end up winning the tournament,” Hornbuckle stated.
The tournament is sure to be a stacked line-up for every round with names like Hornbuckle, along with former NCAA wrestling champion, Ben Askren, and undefeated Arizona Combat Sports prospect, Jacob McClintock, on the roster as well.
For Hornbuckle it doesn’t matter who he faces or how many obstacles are in his way. He has a clear goal in mind, and no one is going to stop him.
“This whole tournament is full of great talent,” said Hornbuckle. “When I win it, it’s going to be that it wasn’t a walk in the park cause everybody was solid coming into the tournament.”