Paul Daley has returned to the Bellator fold. The British slugger announced his decision to ink a deal with his former home on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"After months of rumors about me returning to the States with large American promotions, I've finally sealed the deal," Daley revealed.
"I'm going to be returning to Bellator, working with Scott Coker. He's a terrific guy. I've had some great fights while I was there with him at Strikeforce, and I'll be headed back this year, smashing some heads, knocking some people out and coming for (Bellator welterweight champion) Douglas Lima."
Daley previously signed a deal with Bellator in mid-2012, although he fought only once for the promotion, knocking out Rudy Bears via first-round TKO. Daley was then selected via a fan vote to represent Bellator in its first ever Spike TV televised match, however an injury ultimately forced his opponent, War Machine, out of the contest, and the bout was scrapped.
Bellator unconditionally granted Daley his release seven months later due to visa issues stemming from a December incident in the United Kingdom. The hard-hitting Englishman reportedly pled guilty to one count of assault by beating and two counts of obstructing or resisting a constable in executing their duties. Nonetheless, he doesn't expect the situation to be an issue.
"I don't have the visa yet," Daley explained on Monday. "But the charges that were against me and the problems I had with obtaining the visa, they weren't major things. So I've spoken with the guys at Bellator, told them what was what, and they're confident, the legal team is confident that this visa issue is not going to be a problem.
"They want me out there for some media obligations next month, as far as I'm aware, so they're pretty sure that they're going to get this visa thing done and I'll be over there taking some nice, new pictures and doing a few promos."
In the time since his initial release, Daley (34-13-2) has toured his trade across Europe while campaigning unsuccessfully for a second shot in the UFC. The 31-year-old compiled a 4-1 MMA record in 2013, then supplemented that run by racking up a perfect 4-0 kickboxing record thus far in 2014.
All eight of Daley's combined wins the past two years have come by way of KO/TKO, and it's a streak he's looking to continue.
"I'm there to be champion," Daley said of Bellator. "I want to be champion. Whether you're with Bellator or the UFC, there's not been a British champion of one of the major promotions, [even] Strikeforce, which is now dead and buried.
"I think I'm going to get a tough first fight, beat that person, and then I think I'll be in a position to fight Douglas Lima. That's not contracted, that's not been discussed or anything. But the way I see it, coming back to Bellator, I think a big win over one of their bigger welterweight stars and then I'll be challenging Douglas Lima for the belt."
Prior to his signing, Daley was scheduled to headline BAMMA 16 against Brazilian submission ace Igor Fernandes on September 13. It's a fight he still expects to go through with, and Bellator officials have already given him their blessing in that regard.
The bout will finish out Daley's BAMMA contract, freeing "Semtex" to transition into an exclusive mixed martial arts deal to reunite with new Bellator boss Scott Coker, although Daley also intends to "do a bit of an Overeem" and make a run for K-1's 80kg title as well.
"Scott Coker is a very cool guy," he said. "He's an approachable guy. He gave me some great fights and some great opportunities over at Strikeforce.
"Like I said in the past when I've given my opinion on a return to the UFC, it was something that I would have considered. But now, with this new era in Bellator, I can see it becoming the rival that Strikeforce once was to the UFC. Bjorn (Rebney) had his thing, he ran with it. Bellator had a great outlet with Spike and with Viacom and all those guys, but I just don't think he was able to produce a good enough product or a show that could really stand up to the likes of the UFC.
"But I think Scott, he has the experience, he has the track record. Even though [Strikeforce] was losing a lot of money, the product was strong enough for the UFC to want to buy it. So I think if he can do that with Bellator and I'm the champion of Bellator, I'm happy with it."