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Paul Daley wants to fight Wanderlei Silva more than anyone: 'He's a real-ass fighter'

Bellator MMA

A fight with Josh Koscheck is surely on the horizon. But Paul Daley would prefer to face another former UFC star.

There is one fight that "Semtex" wants most and it got closer to becoming a reality two weeks ago. The UFC released Wanderlei Silva, allowing him to sign with any other MMA promotion. Silva is still under indefinite suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission, but Daley is hoping that fight will happen eventually.

"Jesus, that fight excites me more than any other fight right now," Daley told MMA Fighting. "I know it's a long way off, but I'm gonna just keep chipping at it and hopefully it gets to him and his management to make the fight happen somewhere down the line."

Daley (37-13-2), who meets Andy Uhrich in the main event of Bellator 148 on Friday in Fresno, Calif., has nothing personal against Silva. Quite the contrary. The Brit is a big fan of "The Axe Murderer" and has been for a long time.

"He's a legend," Daley said. "He's big. He's a little bit scary, aggressive. Someone I used to watch back in the day. It would very much be a dream come true to stand across the cage from such a legend of the sport. I think I can beat him, obviously. I think I can knock Wanderlei out."

Silva has fought at light heavyweight and middleweight, while Daley competes at welterweight. But "Semtex" doesn't see that as being an obstacle. He said he walks around at 185 pounds and he's willing to face Silva at that weight, no questions asked. Daley said he has already been in communication with Bellator president Scott Coker about that potential fight.

"If Wanderlei signs with Bellator, I would love to fight him," Daley said. "I've put that out there. And any other free agent from any other promotion with a name or reputation, I just put that out there to Scott to give them to me. Let me test the waters."

That includes former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. "Smooth" is on the open market right now and has experience in Daley's 170-pound weight class. That would be a major fight for Bellator.

"I think if he comes up to 170 and he fights me in Bellator, he's gonna be in for a real rude awakening when one of these left hands lands on his jaw," Daley told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

It's clear that Bellator is looking at a rematch this year between Daley and Koscheck. Daley is fighting Friday in Koscheck's hometown on a card in which Koscheck was supposed to be the main event before he pulled out with an injury.

The two have a history. Koscheck beat Daley by unanimous decision at UFC 113 in 2010, trash talking the whole way as he took Daley down time after time. Daley took a swing at Koscheck after the bell, prompting Daley's banishment from the UFC. There is still no love lost and the rematch has been six years in the making now.

Yet Daley can't help but want to fight Silva more, mostly because he knows it will be a more exciting fight.

"I know he's there to fight," Daley said of Silva. "Koscheck wins fights, he's been in there with top contenders, but he's really a wrestler. He's a wrestler in the combat game, the fight sports. Whereas Wanderlei, he is a fighter. He was fighting with no gloves and headbutts and eye gouges. He's a fighter. He's a real ass fighter in the fight sports. That's the same mold I'm cut from. I'm a fighter."

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