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Paul Daley calls out ‘MVP’, but that’s not who he really wants

Paul Daley
Paul Daley (right) scores with a left hand on Lorenz Larkin (left) at Bellator 183
Bellator MMA

Paul Daley may have called out Michael “Venom” Page inside the cage after his second-round knockout win over Lorenz Larkin on Saturday’s Bellator show in San Jose, but a little while later, he made it clear that Page would not be next on his agenda if he could choose.

“Not really,” he said about if he wants that fight ‘MVP’ next. “It’s not the main thing on my horizon, but it’s the thing other people have spoken about. It’s something people think I’m agreeing to. I want people to know that a win over Lorenz elevates me above an MVP fight. We’ll have to see what MVP does next. He’s boxing, an immediate fight is not there.”

Still, he said that while he doesn’t necessarily want that fight right now, he doesn't have his mind shut on it either, it’s just that he’d rather fry bigger fish.

Daley and Page have had harsh words for each other, and there was a major confrontation between the two of them at Bellator 179. After Saturday’s fight, Bellator president Scott Coker talked about the possibility of the grudge match happening in England in early 2018.

Instead, Daley (40-15-2) is hoping for a shot at either Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima (29-6), or Rory MacDonald (19-4). They meet in a title bout on Jan. 20 at the Forum in Los Angeles.

Either man would have meaning above just the title. Lima defeated Daley via decision on July 16, 2016, in London, England. MacDonald defeated Daley this past May, also in London, via second-round submission.

Daley’s argument for a title shot is that he just finished Larkin at 2:40 of the second round, while it took Lima five rounds to win a decision over “The Monsoon”.

“I’d love to fight for the title,” he said. “I’ve never fought for the title in a major organization, UFC or Bellator. I’ve come so close.”

He noted that he’d need to make changes to fight MacDonald.

“For a rematch with Rory, if he beats Lima, I’d have to concentrate on different areas of my game. I thought (the first fight) would be another Robbie Lawler slugfest, but he went to his strengths and went immediately for takedowns. Looking at the first fight, I’d make big adjustments in training camp, and I’ll come in with a different mentality.”

Coker noted that Larkin after the fight had contacted him already wanting a rematch with Daley.

Daley, who had a shoving match with Larkin at Friday’s weigh-ins, said that was discussed between the two of them after the fight, but once again, it’s not a fight Daley thinks he should be doing next.

“Lorenz came back to my room and I said, ‘thank you for giving me this opportunity,’ I told him if you go and get another win or two, I’ll be happy to give you another rematch.”

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