Brent Primus invites a ground fight.
The 6-0 Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt feels he's unmatched in this realm, and five first-round finishes corroborate this belief. Heading into his Bellator 153 tilt against Gleristone Santos, Primus continues to lean on this foundation.
"I really think a lot of guys that are in the cage, they have more of, like, submission wrestling and stuff like that," Primus told MMA Fighting. "Mine is Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s technical, step-by-step positions, passing the guard. I think a lot of people blow by a lot of that stuff, and that’s what’s helped me so much is being technical. Training in the gi did that for me. I always say, if you can pass somebody’s guard in the gi, you can slip right through in no-gi. The gi is so technical, and it’s helped me out so much in every aspect, in even life. Jiu-jitsu changed my life for sure."
That doesn't mean Primus isn't improving the other areas of his game. Most recently, in August 2015 at Bellator 141, Primus fought a gritty, three-round fight against Derek Anderson, ultimately squeaking out a split-decision victory. There, his submission wizardry never had a chance to take over, and he was forced to reach up his sleeve for a different card.
"I think you have to train for anything, for any aspect of this sport," Primus said. "Anything can happen in that cage. I’m training for everything—kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu—I’m training for it all. But at the same time, I think it’s really important that you do have a game plan. And I have a game plan for this guy, and I’m going to turn this fight into my fight, not his fight. I know if I turn this fight into how I want to fight him, my game plan, it should be a short night."
At 27-5, Santos represents the type of opponent Primus needs to defeat to prove his worth inside the increasingly stacked Bellator 155-pound class. Santos is experienced and dangerous, but he's faltered against top competition. If Primus wishes to join the echelon above, this fight could represent his chance to submit an application to the club.
"I feel like I’m ready now, physically and mentally, but I think with a good win over Santos, it should put me in title contention and give me one of the top-five, top-10 guys in Bellator, move my way up the rankings to get that belt," Primus said. "Anybody I fight in there, I’m thinking he’s freaking Hercules. I’m going to go in there and fight these guys like he’s Benson Henderson or one of the top guys in the world. I never want to underestimate my opponent at all – never, ever, ever. I’m training like I’m fighting one of the best guys in the world in there."
Beyond Santos, Primus looks at fighters such as Benson Henderson, Josh Thomson, Michael Chandler, and, of course, champion Will Brooks as potential targets. MMA's free-agent market brought significant spoils to Bellator, and for a fighter like Primus, this is an exciting development.
"It’s awesome, man. It’s a beautiful thing," Primus said. "I want to fight the best guys in the world, and I want to challenge myself. I want to be old and tell my kids I fought the best guys in the world. I think with everything happening and all these guys coming to Bellator, it’s just a matter of time. I just want to be challenged, and Bellator is getting bigger and bigger every day. I’m loving it."