Daniel Crawford’s capture of BAMMA’s featherweight title against Damian Lapilus proved to be his calling card to the big leagues, with Bellator announcing his signing earlier this week.
The Brit’s second-round knockout of the champion came on the back of his first-round stoppage of another hardened European veteran, Ronnie Mann.
After claiming the BAMMA title, Crawford predicted that global promotions would be vying for his signature. Although his premonition proved to be true, the 24-year-old is not getting ahead of himself and is saving the celebrations for after he makes his debut.
“I did expect to sign to one of the big promotions, but at the same time the hard work isn’t done,” Crawford told MMA Fighting.
“Everyone is asking me why I haven’t been celebrating, but I still haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t made my debut; I’ve yet to step in the cage and make a statement. There’s still a lot of work to do.”
A featherweight, Crawford joins Aaron Pico, James Gallagher and A.J. McKee in one of the most-talent rich divisions that Bellator boasts. However, the new signee dismissed some of his fellow featherweights as “hype trains”.
“There are a lot of talents and a lot of challenges in that featherweight division, but Bellator have got some prospects on the books that I feel are just hype trains. I think they’re bringing me into the division to keep everyone in check.”
In particular, SBG fighter Gallagher is someone who Crawford believes has yet to prove himself on the big stage.
“James is the most overpaid fighter in MMA. You can see why Bellator has been able to promote him so well because he’s Irish and the sport has really taken off over there, but he’s like a broken Conor McGregor record every time he speaks. He doesn’t have an original personality,” he said.
“He hasn’t really fought any one of a high caliber either. I don’t think he has fought anyone that has had over 10 fights, but I’m not sure on that. I had never heard of him until he was with Bellator.”
Crawford admits that he would love to fight the Irishman, but doubts that Bellator would be interested in matching them.
“I’d definitely love that fight. I’d love it as my first fight, but I doubt that Bellator will accept it. They know what would happen if they matched me with him,” Crawford said.
“At the end of the day, I’m gearing myself towards the belt rather than guys like Aaron Pico or James Gallagher. It feels like Bellator really has two divisions; one is the serious title contender’s division and the other is just prospects that they throw bums at.
“As I said, I’m coming for the belt. I’m looking forward to making my debut, but I expect to be closing in on a title shot within 18 months.”