Paul Daley may hold onto some grudges but he’s not taking out eight years of frustration on his upcoming opponent Jon Fitch.
Back in 2010, Daley was engaged in a bitter rivalry with former UFC title contender Josh Koscheck before it all culminated in a fight that took place at UFC 113 in 2010. Koscheck used his wrestling to control Daley throughout the fight and the end result was a unanimous decision defeat for the heavy-hitter from England.
After the fight was finished, Daley punched Koscheck in a move that ultimately led to him being released and then banned from ever competing in the UFC again.
On Saturday night, Daley will face off with Fitch, who is a former teammate and long time friend of Koscheck after they came up together training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose.
Despite those ties, Daley isn’t trying to take out some long standing grudge that he has with Koscheck by attempting to beat up his teammate in Bellator.
“There’s no rivalry. It’s just a new fight that happens to come from a team with a guy I fought before,” Daley told MMAWeekly. “There’s no underlying rivalry. He’s just a good fighter and I want to test myself against good fighters, recognizable fighters. I just want to test myself and Fitch is a good guy to test myself against.”
More than anything, Daley just wants to prove himself against a stylistic matchup that has traditionally caused him a lot of problems.
“Stylistically I haven’t done well against wrestlers so it’s another opportunity for me to prove that I can handle these wrestlers,” Daley said. “It’s a big fight, it’s a big challenge against a more recognized name in my opinion. It’s a little bit more motivating.
“I think he’s a fantastic wrestler and that’s what he’s going to do. Jon Fitch is one of the best wrestler-MMA fighters that there’s been for a long time. I’m going to be striking and it is what it is.”
Daley’s history against wrestlers has not been great but that’s what he hopes to change with a big performance against someone like Fitch, who is almost guaranteed to shoot for a takedown as soon as he sees an opening.
“Everybody’s going to try and take me down,” Daley said. “Nine times out of ten, I’m the better striker against whoever I’m fighting. So I’m always preparing to get my shots off and not get taken down or work it to my feet or work my submissions.
“It’s the same for everybody.”