Douglas Lima is one of the top welterweights in the world — and he hopes Rory MacDonald sees him that way too.
Lima will defend his welterweight belt in the co-main event of Bellator 192 in Inglewood, Calif., on Saturday night, and he wants to put on “the best fight ever in Bellator history” against someone he always wanted to test himself against.
”People say Rory is the best in the world today,” Lima told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “He’s got this good win over Woodley, who’s the No. 1 right now, so I look at this as the No. 1 welterweight fight, for sure.”
MacDonald holds wins over Tyron Woodley, the current 170-pound champion in the UFC, and fighters like Demian Maia, Tarec Saffiedine, B.J. Penn and Nate Diaz.
Lima, who has been fighting professionally since 2006, expects a win Saturday to change his career.
”He’s been around forever, beaten the who’s who of the welterweights,” the Brazilian said. “Tough kid. I know this is a fight that can change my career, for sure. I took this camp very seriously. I understand that this is gonna be a really tough fight. Rory is the man. I honestly am a fan of him. I’ve been watching him for a long time, but I know I can beat him. This is the fight I’ve been waiting for a long time.
”Get the name out there, get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch, but no attention yet. So I’m hoping after a win over Rory this weekend, it’s really gonna put my name out there and show all these welterweights that I’m here for real, that I can beat anybody on this sport.”
Lima enters Bellator 192 riding a three-fight winning streak over Lorenz Larkin, Andrey Koreshkov and Paul Daley. He admitted that it bothers him “a little bit” that he doesn’t get the attention he deserves, but he won’t “keep crying about it” — especially after being moved to Saturday’s co-main event so Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson could headline the card.
”I’m not gonna keep crying about it,” Lima said. “I just keep fighting, keep working hard, doing my job. Hopefully the promotion is gonna be a lot better for me after this, or even this week. Get my name out there more.
“It does bug me sometimes that I don’t get the recognition I deserve. I’ve been fighting for over a decade, I’ve been fighting tough competition. Like you said, they’re not known, but it’s tough competition, guys that can compete with anybody. This is big opportunity and I know I’m making the most of it.”
Fight fans who only watch the UFC may not give Lima much credit, but he warns MacDonald to not enter the Bellator cage in Inglewood expecting an easy fight.
”Maybe not as much,” Lima said when asked if he thinks the Canadian respects him as a fighter. “I know he’s been talking about even going heavyweight. He’s got a big fight ahead of him and he’s talking about heavyweights, middleweights, but I mean, he’s just confident.
”I feel that he respects me. Maybe not as much because he hasn’t fought me yet. If he thinks this is gonna be a walk in the park, he’s in for a long night. If he doesn’t respect me, he’s gonna respect me after the fight because I’m gonna bring it to him. I’ve been training hard for him. This is my shot and I’m not gonna let it go away. I took this very serious — hopefully he did as well.”