Douglas Lima is one of the best welterweights in the world right now, but he feels many won’t give him proper credit since he doesn’t fight under the UFC banner.
Lima won’t call himself the No. 1 welterweight after re-claiming the Bellator championship with a decision victory over Rory MacDonald in the promotion’s grand prix final. But he welcomes the chance to prove it.
“I consider myself one of the best,” Lima told MMA Fighting. “I’ll fight anyone in the division no matter where they are. I believe I’d beat any one of those guys (in the UFC). Rankings are complicated, anyone has their opinion, but seeing that many consider me the best excites me even more.”
Bellator has been very open about co-promotions recently, but “The Phenom” doesn’t expect UFC president Dana White to approve of such a move with a rival company.
“I can’t really know if I’m the best or not, because the UFC is out there, and there’s no way we make this fight happen,” Lima said. But I know I’d beat anyone there. All I want is for the UFC to do co-promotions too, but I’m sure it will never happen.
“It would be a dream for me to prove. Many people say you don’t deserve to be considered the best if you don’t fight in the UFC, but that’s something I would like to prove wrong with a superfight. Who knows. Maybe they’ll change their minds in the future under the new ownership. It’s important to know who’s the best. I can fight there, or they can fight here.”
Lima holds wins over the likes of MacDonald, Michael Page, Andrey Koreshkov, Lorenz Larkin and Paul Daley. He doesn’t think twice when asked which UFC talent he would like to test himself against right now.
“The champion, no doubt,” said Lima, referring to undefeated 170-pound titleholder Kamaru Usman. “I would choose the one who’s considered the best. Usman is really tough, has good wrestling, so I wouldn’t think twice before choosing him. It would be a big fight.
“He’s on a roll, (and) he’s breaking everyone, so it would be a good fight for me, even if his style doesn’t favor me. I had problems with wrestlers in the past, and he has good wrestling. But I’m evolving, (and) I’m feeling great. I don’t think too much about it, but it would be great if that happened.”
And how would that superfight end?
“A knockout, right? For sure,” Lima answered. “I’d go for the knockout. He has knockout power, but he usually wins by decision. I believe we would eventually find that chin.”
If the UFC is unavailable for co-promotions, “The Phenom” believes RIZIN could be a possibility in the near future.
“I’m crazy about fighting at RIZIN,” he said. “Crazy, crazy, crazy. I’d definitely do it if they give me the chance next year. I grew up watching PRIDE. It was very exciting. The events, the ruleset, the Japanese fans – I always had this dream of fighting in Japan. I grew up watching the Wanderlei Silva vs. (Ricardo) Arona rivalry, I remember everything. I was a huge fan, and I would really love to fight there one day.”
Bellator is currently scheduled to make its first trip to Japan on Dec. 29 (Dec. 28 in the U.S.), matching up some of its stars against athletes from the RIZIN roster.
“That interests me, man,” Lima said. “I was thinking about that before my fight (with MacDonald), but I don’t know. It’s only six weeks. It’s too short. I don’t know, I’ll wait. I really wanted it, but I think I’ll wait. I’ve worked hard this year and haven’t stopped training for a week ever since this tournament started. So I’ll give my body some time to rest.”
When informed that there are nine weeks separating his last fight in Bellator and the upcoming show in Japan, which will be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. "Rampage" Jackson at the Saitama Super Arena, the Brazilian welterweight gave it a second thought.
“Eight or nine weeks? Man, now you got me,” Lima said with a laugh. “Man, I want to fight. I want to fight at least three times next year. I’ve only fought twice this year and last year, so I want to stay active and enjoy the moment. Eight weeks? I’ll think about it. Maybe we’ll talk again in December [laughs].”