(photo props: CombatLifestyle.com)
Paul Daley is arguably the most dangerous striker in the welterweight class. Possessing a lethal combination of power, accuracy and speed, the Nottingham, ENG native makes up for his shortcomings on the ground with his superior stand-up skills, often making quick work of his opponents.
Of Daley’s 23 victims, 13 never made it out of the first round, and only three of those made it past the three-minute mark with the former Cage Rage welterweight champion.
Much like coaxing him into a ground fight, tying down the 27-year-old for an interview is nearly impossible, but we managed to secure one round of his time for a rapid-fire Q&A session with the brash British fighter, who is currently in the midst of his training camp for his May 8 showdown with Josh Koscheck at UFC 113.
Here’s what he had to say about a variety of topics including Kos, his lack of dedication to training jiu-jitsu, his Rough House teammates and the reasons he loves to fight:
CP: There seems to be a lot of bad blood between you and Koscheck. Does that stem from something that happened between the two of you at an event, or is it just a result of a general dislike you have for him?
PD: I don’t dislike Koscheck. I think he’s an entertaining guy. The things I mock about him are just schoolboy stuff – just for fun, but the fans love it.
CP: I saw your Photoshop contest thread on the Underground. Have you picked a new hairstyle for Josh, yet?
PD: No. A winner has not been picked yet, but will be soon.
CP: You have referred to Josh as being a Fraggle. Are you planning any Fraggle-related or themed pranks or entrances to the weigh-ins or the fight?
PD: There are no planned Fraggle entrances or nothing like that. I’ll be walking out just relaxed and ready to fight as normal.
CP: Koscheck has said that your fight will likely end the same way as it did against Anthony Johnson if he doesn’t knock you out and that he sees you as a near carbon copy of Johnson. Personally, I think he’s underestimating your striking and the fact that you’ve never been knocked out. What do you think of his "observation"?
PD: I really don’t think much of his opinion; we will see what happens on May 8, as to how much I am like Anthony Johnson.
CP: Your ground game has always been the question mark in your career. How have you been shoring up your weaknesses in that area and what loss made you really dedicate yourself to training in jiu-jitsu?
PD: No I have not been dedicating more time to jiu-jitsu. That isn’t my specialty. I train as much as I did before and I’m comfortable with that. I’m going with my strength, and bringing up my weaknesses, but I don’t want to lose focus on what I do best.
CP: Some guys start fighting on the streets because of the neighborhoods they grow up in, others just like the challenge of squaring off against an opponent. Why did you start fighting?
PD: Because I love the martial arts, and traveling, and the fact I can do both and get paid is a dream come true.
CP: Your goal since you began competing has always been to make it to the UFC. Now that you’ve reached that goal how long do you think until you’re ready for a title shot?
PD: My final goal is not the UFC – it’s only one of them. I am happy where I am at now, and I will become champion here.
CP: Do you prefer fighting in the U.S. or UK?
PD: No preference.
CP: Ring or cage?
PD: No preference.
CP: Does it make it easier fighting someone you don’t like?
PD: No, not necessarily, because if you’re in that cage with me my intentions are the same, whether I like you or not.
CP: How do your parents feel about you fighting?
PD: They like I am doing what I have always wanted to do.
CP: Hardy trains in 10th Planet jiu-jitsu. Have you ever trained the system with him or used the Rubber Guard?
PD: I trained at 10th Planet when they where at the old Bomb Squad gym, back in the day, but I don’t really practice the style now.
CP: You’ve always made yourself accessible to fans, often posting your own cell number and email on forums, especially when you were looking after your own management and sponsorship. How important is it to you to be a fan favorite?
PD: I think it’s very important that, as well as being a fan loving the sport, they have a fighter they admire and look up to and make their hobby larger than just the sport.
CP: I can’t recall ever having seen you rocked in a fight. Have you ever been close to being finished standing?
PD: Not that I can remember – neither in the street or in MMA.
CP: Knowing the sense of humor some of your fellow Brits and training partners like Dan Hardy have, my guess is that when guys aren’t focusing seriously on training, you have a lot of fun in the gym.
PD: We do have a lot of humor in our gym; it’s part of our brotherhood.
CP: What did you spend your first UFC paycheck on?
PD: Paying my coaches, managers, etc.
CP: Are you always going to live and train in the UK?
PD: Who knows? I love to travel so maybe I will find my perfect place abroad. We’ll see what happens in the future.
CP: What is the worst thing about being a fighter?
PD: The general public thinking I’m some kind of monster or superhero, when I’m just a regular dude.
CP: What is the best thing about being a fighter?
PD: The traveling and the fighting.
CP: What was your job before you became a full-time fighter?
PD: I have had a few jobs, but the one I worked the longest at was when I was in the army.
CP: Was there ever a time when you almost quit MMA?
PD: Yes, because I lost focus. As soon as I regained my focus when I shuffled a few things around, I knew I’d be a fighter for life.