Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley is back in action this weekend as BAMMA sets out it’s fight card in Birmingham, England for its 14th show. BAMMA is the only show in UK’s history to have a live fight card on terrestrial TV and it has added more television deals to bolster its broadcast footprint. BAMMA have also revealed it would be increasing the number of events that they will promote in 2014 which means we will undoubtably see much more of Daley in the cage.
Daley seems to have a winning formula in surrounding himself with the right training camp. Coming of a loss recently when he competed at Legend 2 in Russia the outstanding striker was keen to point out his training regime is unchanged, however, he has slightly tweaked his team.
“For me training never stops it’s my full time occupation, training and teaching. I live the lifestyle so everything has gone well. I’ve kept the same team as I’ve had for a long time. Sonny Dhlakia, Rupert Smiley, Coach Dave, who’s been around for about four years now. Toby Lilliard is my physical conditioning coach but I’ve introduced a Gracie Barra blackbelt called Paul Cole.”
Despite a recent social media campaign to get Daley back into the UFC this has seemingly fallen on deaf ears as the UFC president has re-affirmed that he will never allow him back into the worlds number one promotion. One can imagine that once this was established he would not have been short of offers from all corners. Daley unpacks the reason for signing with BAMMA in enthusiastic fashion, clearly revealing he is at home there.
“The reason I signed for BAMMA was because I could fight on UK terrestrial TV and fighting in front of my family, friends and students. There’s lots of benefits in fighting for BAMMA and I think there are other good major European promotions and internationally for that matter that I could have fought for, right now focussing on the UK and British market is a good thing for me to do.”
Even to the casual observer it’s plainly obvious that the Paul Daley that sits before me in this interview is a million miles away from the rowdy, smack talking, rambunctious and unrefined bruiser of times gone by. There is a stillness, almost satisfied self confidence he exudes now that seemed missing when we first met for the first time four years ago.
“I think I’ve always been the same character I just think it is just about maturing. I’ve just grown not so much grown up but just grown as a person. Also just understanding more things and understanding life and the industry. I think it’s just an education through the life that I’ve led. I’m still the prankster, you’ll still catch me doing crazy immature stuff but I think I’ve been able to broaden my knowledge and much of that is dedicated to the sport. I’m a world travelled person I’ve met and sat down with a lot of great people. I’ve had interactions with people that have given me a lot of knowledge and that has helped me become the person that I am.”
Following his recent loss to Alexander Yakovlev at Legend 2, apart from the obvious factor ie the bout being held in a ring which changed the dynamics of how Daley usually fights, I wondered whether there were any other mitigating circumstances that caused this break in his winning streak. Daley is full of reflection as he talks through his last fight and explains how he has willingly accepted it.
“You’ll never really catch me after a fight trying to justify a loss, I’m always willing to accept the loss. There are things that have happened leading up to the fight were I’ve lost that I could have done differently and I could have done better. The recent loss in Russia had things that I could have done better but such is life. I wouldn’t say I learn more from a loss I learn a lot from all my fights. A lot of the time a loss can highlight a weakness when you look at how you lost”
The threat that is fast approaching now is Romario Manoel da Silva. He is definitely a man with the most imposing moniker ‘Junior Killer’ Hailing from the world famous Blackzilians, Junior Killer by way of nickname and fight camp must be one of the most intimidating opponents Daley has yet to face.
“He’s a threat, but every opponent is a threat. Although he’s a threat my style of fighting suits this opponent more so than others. The name Blackzilian means nothing to me. It means he has a great group of people around him but that didn’t stop Alistair Overeem getting knocked out and Rashad Evans losing a few. I’ve fought people from the best gyms in the world and I’ve beaten them. Sometimes I even forget what team they are from I treat each person as an individual. It’s not until they come out with their big flag repping their colours then I remember. It means nothing he’s a Blackzilian, he is just another guy.”