Will “F*cking” Fleury is a real original.
The Irish middleweight sports a handlebar mustache and prides himself on making his opponents as uncomfortable as they possibly can be for as long as they’re locked in a caged enclosure with him.
An SBG fighter, Fleury was signed by Bellator after moving to 4-0 as a professional. As far as he’s concerned, he’s waited nearly a decade for an opportunity to showcase his skill set to the world, and competing under the Bellator banner is an opportunity to do exactly that.
“This is a long overdue opportunity and it’s going to take a beast of a man to take it away from me. I’ve been in this game for a long time now and just by signing that contract I know it’s time for me to make my mark and be vindicated on a world stage,” Fleury told MMA Fighting.
“I’m going out there to f*cking smash this lad. This is only happening now, but I’ve been ready for years. I’ve just got to keep my sh*t in order and go in there and win this fight impressively.”
Fleury isn’t celebrating anything just yet, though. Signing on the dotted line with Bellator is certainly a massive milestone for the Tipperary man, but he knows he has to follow up the deal with big performances to get where he needs to be.
“The money I’m on is fine, but by getting my foot in the door it could open me up to a lot bigger paydays in the future. I’ve given up work a few times over the years before this, but this is a situation where I can make MMA my full-time career. That’s where I want to be by the end of this year.
“Even though I’ve signed with Bellator, I still haven’t proven myself yet. I haven’t got paid, I haven’t fought and I haven’t got my hand raised. Just because you sign with one of the biggest promotions in the world doesn’t mean you’ve done anything. I believe I’ve already proved myself to be the best middleweight in Ireland, now it’s time for me to prove I’m the best middleweight in the world.”
A lot of SBG fighters have been criticized for what some fans and media perceive as mimicking Conor McGregor. Anyone who has seen Fleury in action knows he marches to the beat of his own drum, and he’s happy that he can have certain freedoms under the Bellator banner that can allow fans to get an idea of the type of person he is.
“I’m glad that there seems to be a lot more freedom to show people what you’re about with Bellator. I don’t have to wear Reebok gear, so I can really show people what I’m all about. I’m really delighted to have that freedom.”
Synonymous for his “Raw Bastard” fighting style — and hashtag to boot — Fleury hopes he can bring his own brand of combat to the U.S. masses with the help of his new employer.
“Being a raw bastard is all about having substance. There are no style points here; there are no frills about who I am. I’m just going to go in there beat the f*ck out of you for 15 minutes if that’s what it takes,” Fleury said.
“Look, I could tell you, ‘I’ve been practicing this and that,’ but of course I’ve been doing all of that, I’m a determined athlete. I cover all of my bases, of course I’ve done all that sh*t.
“I’m not an aikido champion or some sh*t like that; I’m a raw bastard and I’m going to beat the f*ck out of you. It’s going to be a fight and I promise to fight the f*ck out of anyone they put in front of me.”
Fleury will be welcomed into the Bellator fold by fellow debutant Alen Amedovski, a change of opponent from his initial assignment, Massimiliano Sammarco.
The Irishman isn’t all concerned about the late shift in counterpart because he’s sure it’s a bad time for anyone to come up against him.
“He’s 5-0 and he sees this as his opportunity just as much as I do. Obviously, I think it’s a terrible time to be fighting me, but I just hope he gives it a good go. I don’t want somebody who is going to crumble; I want someone who I can showcase the resilience I’ve developed over the years against,” he said.
“The way I see it, he probably won’t get another shot in Bellator if he doesn’t get a win. I hope he gives me a fight, but I’ll smash anyone they put in there with me. It doesn’t matter who shows up that night, they’re getting smashed.
“I’ve had so many pullouts. I’ve been sat here crying my eyes out over not being able to compete in the past — all sorts of sh*t has gone on. I’m here now and I have a big chance, so I hope he comes and tries to take it away from me.”