Even though there was some turmoil outside the cage in 2014 for Bellator bantamweight champion Joe Warren, inside the cage things went as well as he could have hoped.
In two fights last year, Warren solidified himself at the top of Bellator’s 135-pound division by defeating Rafael Silva for the interim title, then taking the unified belt with a win over Eduardo Dantas in the second.
“There were a lot of fights that were supposed to happen but didn’t happen, there were ups and downs, new regime changes, so it was just a lot of crazy stuff last year,” Warren told MMAWeekly.com. “It was satisfying to run through that year with the belt and be back on top for this year.”
At 38 years old, Warren feels just now he’s becoming the MMA fighter he’s always wanted to be.
“I think everything that I’ve worked for these last four, five years has started to come around,” he said. “I’m actually attacking without having to think about it, reacting without having to think and the muscle memory is there. Every fight has gotten better and I’ve seen more of the technique I’ve been working on come out.
“I made some crucial mistakes on timing in those (last two) fights where I could have finished them, but I missed a few techniques, but overall I’m happy to have gotten those two wins against a couple of extremely tough fighters.”
For his first title defense, Warren (12-3) will face Marcos Galvao (16-6-1) on Friday in Thackerville, Okla., in a rematch of their 2011 bout.
“We fought earlier in my career and I’m a completely different fighter,” Said Warren.
“The only differences in this fight being (Galvao) sleeping in the cage with my hand raised standing above him instead of waiting until the final bell rings and waiting for a judges’ decision.”
Looking ahead, while he’s not going to retire anytime soon, Warren has an eye on the next stage of his life while he continues to succeed in his current one.
“Spike and Viacom have given me opportunities to commentate outside the cage and learn that industry, so that’s something I’m planning on doing when I’m done,” he said.
“I plan on keeping this belt and staying active for a while. The events get bigger, the organization takes care of me, and so I’m happy where I’m at.”