At Bellator: Primus v Chandler on Friday night, Englishman Daniel Crawford is presented with the biggest opportunity of his career so far as he travels to Honolulu, Hawaii to take on top prospect AJ McKee. Despite being a big underdog with the bookmakers and fighting outside of the UK for the first time in his career, he is confident that he can get the job done and take McKee’s current momentum for himself.
Crawford is 10-2 so far in his career and seven of those ten wins have come by stoppage. He made his Bellator debut back in May at their milestone 200th event in London but lost a split decision to SBG Ireland team member Pedro Carvalho. Crawford has reflected on this loss as all fighters do and came to the conclusion that changes in his training prior to that fight contributed to his under par performance. Last time out, he incorporated cross fit into his training which he feels was a mistake in hindsight. This really messed with his cardio as during the first round when he had Carvalho’s back, he was already feeling tired. Crawford claims he has corrected this wrong and has recently worked with a proper strength and conditioning coach so cardio won’t be an issue in this fight. He still feels that he won the contest and believes the judges put too much emphasis on late flurries by Carvalho at the end of rounds rather than focusing on Crawford’s own takedowns that he had success with.
The former BAMMA featherweight champion is not allowing himself to think about where a win will place him until he gets the job done, but he is relishing the chance to upset a guy who has been backed by Bellator for his whole career and is a big name in the division. Crawford has warned McKee not to overlook him and is convinced that he is the better all-round fighter.
‘If he (McKee) thinks he’s going to come in there and wipe the floor with me, he’s in for a massive shock. Everything he does, I do better. I have better boxing, better wrestling and better jiu jitsu. I’m a better fighter and you will see that on Friday night,’ Crawford said.
AJ McKee was the fight that he asked for, as he knows that the undefeated contender will come to fight which mirrors his own style. After this fight, Crawford already has an opponent in mind that he would like to take on early next year.
‘Giving McKee his first defeat will be a pleasure and after that, let’s see what happens. In February, Bellator come to England and Ireland and it’s a shame that James Gallagher already has an opponent set. I’d like to whoop that little fool’s ass so if his opponent drops out, count me in!’ That is a fight that could be interesting on an upcoming European Bellator card in the future.
Crawford would like to thank his team, Revolutions Mixed Martial Arts, Aeon BJJ, My Mannor London and Mogul Management for their support. McKee v Crawford can be seen via tape delay on Saturday night on 5Spike.