Even if Douglas Lima guarantees he’s “100 percent focused” on defending his welterweight throne against Yaroslav Amosov in the main event of Friday night’s Bellator 260, “The Phenom” still wants to make history as a two-division champion.
Lima moved up to 185 pounds last October after regaining his welterweight belt to take on Gegard Mousasi for the vacant middleweight title, but returned home with a decision defeat after 25 minutes of action. If given another shot after Friday’s card in Uncasville, Conn., Lima said he will definitely jump on the opportunity “because I believe I could have won that fight.”
“I know it was a horrible performance on my end, but I still went five rounds there,” Lima said in an interview with MMA Fighting, “I fought badly, I did, but I could have won. I have this desire to fight for this belt again and win this belt. One step at a time, though. I don’t know if they will let me go up after this one, so whoever they give me, it’s all good.”
Mousasi has yet to defend his title since defeating Lima in October 2020, and Lima doesn’t see anyone removing him from the top of that division for now.
“It would be important to get this rematch and win the belt against him, but I don’t think about avenging the loss,” Lima said. “If it’s Mousasi, great, If it’s another champion, OK. The thing is [being] a two-division [champion], I want that. I want that for my career. Winning two belts in such high level is really hard, it’s a challenge for myself. Not every fighter can achieve that. I’ve had the opportunity and it didn’t work, but I haven’t given up on this dream.”
The lesson learned after such “horrible performance” at Bellator 250, Lima said, was to not be too comfortable in the cage.
“You need that killer instinct,” he explained. “I was too comfortable because I was already a champion at 170. If I went up and lost, no big deal, I’d remain champion, and I think I was too comfortable and lost that will, that killer instinct to fight for the win. I don’t know if I was more nervous than before, if I got too tired, but I really lacked killer instinct and was too comfortable.”
Lima must defend his welterweight throne at Bellator 260 to keep that champ-champ dream alive, and vows to “never let that happen” again as he faces 25-0 welterweight Amosov.
“I’m excited about this fight, to fight someone who’s never lost, so we’re 100 percent focused and ready to defend the belt,” Lima said. “[His record] impresses me because it doesn’t matter who you’ve fought early in your career. It’s hard to have a record like that. You have to respect what he has done. It will be harder for him now, fighting for a belt. I respect him but no big deal, right? When he gets in there with me, he’s 0-0. He can be 1000-0, but everything changes when you’re in there. I don’t worry too much about it. He’s just a tough fighter.”
Asked where he would rank Amosov among the toughest opponents of his MMA career, Lima compares Amosov’s fighting style to Rory MacDonald and Andrey Koreshkov’s, former Bellator champions who have lost to Lima in the past, but also hold decision wins over him.
“I lost to them both, I didn’t even think about it,” Lima said with a laugh, “but I’m talking about his fighting style. It’s similar. I’ve learned a lot throughout my career, I’ve had my losses, and the experiences I’ve gained with that were great. It’s been 11 years since I’m in Bellator and that’s a lot of fights. I know it will be a tough fight, I’ve prepared for that, and we’ll give our bets in there and defend the belt.”
“The Phenom” scored 10 of his 14 welterweight wins in Bellator via stoppage, and hopes for another quick night in the office at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
“I’ll try to finish it before the third round,” said the champion. “I don’t want to fight five rounds, it’s too much time [laughs]. But we’re ready. We’re ready to go [five rounds] if needed be, but I want a knockout, a submission, whatever, before the third round. That’s my goal in this fight.”