For Douglas Lima, defeating Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 164 last November was more than just an opportunity to reclaim his welterweight championship.
The win gave Lima a modicum of revenge, and also proved to his critics that his initial loss to Koreshkov was not reflective of the fighter he is and can be.
“It felt good getting a little payback with the KO finish like that,” Lima told MMAWeekly.com. “I thought the fight was going pretty good, except the second round where he got me down again, but I got him desperate and got the finish.
“It was good to prove to the critics who were talking bad about my last performance there – which I understand because I looked horrible there – it’s just good getting it back and showing everybody what I can do when I’m 100%. It felt good on both ways.”
Even after more than a decade fighting, Lima still feels young in MMA, and believes there are always ways he can continue to grow as a fighter.
“I do similar things, but I do it a little better more,” said Lima. “I have a lot more knowledge now. I’ve been around for a little while. 11 years fighting is a long time. You learn a lot as you go along, but in my eyes I’m still new to this. There’s a lot more to learn, and I like to learn, and that helps me even more.”
After a half year off, Lima (28-6) will make the first defense of his 170-pound title on June 24 at Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva in New York City against Lorenz Larkin (18-5).
“I’ve got to be myself and not worry too much about what he does,” Lima said of Larkin. “I’m going to concentrate on everything I do. I know his style very good. He’s a tough kid and moves a lot. He’s a fast striker.
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“I love the match-up, love where the fight is happening, not only the venue but where I’m at in my career. I’m very excited to compete against him.”
Having been a Bellator champion before, Lima knows the difficulty of keeping a title, but this time he feels he’ll be able to hold onto it for a much longer period of time.
“They say it’s hard to become a champion and harder to stay a champion,” said Lima. “The challenges are a lot harder. There are a lot of good guys coming into Bellator. I love it. I know it’s going to be a lot harder to maintain it, but I know I can do it.
“I don’t think there’s anybody here who can stop me. I’m excited with these opportunities, and the new guys that are coming, and I’m happy to show the world what I can do.”
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