Paul Daley looked very good in his UFC debut in September, beating Martin Kampmann by first-round technical knockout. And now that Daley is getting ready to take on Dustin Hazelett at UFC 108 on Saturday night, he thinks he's closing in on the UFC welterweight title.
"Every fight in the UFC is an eliminator for that title," Daley says in the new promo video for UFC 108.
Realistically, I don't see Daley as particularly close to a shot at the UFC welterweight title. I think he'd probably have to beat Hazelett and win at least two more UFC fights after that before he'd be in the mix -- and even if he earns that title shot with some big wins, the UFC would probably be hesitant to give Daley a title shot because he lost a high-profile fight to Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields in 2008. The last thing the UFC wants is to have a champion who lost a recent fight to one of Strikeforce's champions.
But Daley does have an exciting fighting style that the UFC can easily promote.
"I love to strike because I can knock people out," Daley says. "I have 75 percent-plus knockout ratio. Seventy-five percent of the time, if you get in the cage with me, I'm going to knock you out."
That's actually not quite right; Daley is 22-8-2 with 17 wins by KO or TKO, meaning 77 percent of his wins are by knockout, but he's only won 69 percent of his fights.
In any event, I actually think Hazelett, who has won the Submission of the Night award in each of his last two UFC fights, is tailor made to beat Daley. Hazelett's greatest strength is Daley's greatest weakness, and if Hazelett gets the fight to the ground, it's over. If Daley's going to win, he's going to need another quick knockout.