Paul Daley is a name that anyone who follows combat sports should not only know, but know well. He has been a controversial figure in his time, with is release from the UFC a thing of lore now for most fans, but in the following years he has been on an interesting journey that has taken him back to the start and then all around the world. In 2014 Paul Daley has taken a keen interest in the sport of Kickboxing again, picking up some incredibly big wins before the shocking announcement came out earlier this week that Daley had signed with K-1 Global, making his debut in July at the K-1 World MAX Finals in Thailand.
The first question, of course, was what led him back to Kickboxing; “I was keen to keep busy fighting,” he said. “And with not many MMA shows happening in the early half of the year I decided to try kickboxing, just to see what I was now capable of in the sport.”
Try he did. His success was without question, with three knockouts in the beginning of 2014, two of which against noted talents Alexander Stetsurenko and Alexander Surzkho. It almost seemed like a natural fit for Daley to return to Kickboxing and to pursue a career within the sport, with him being one of the most feared strikers in the world of MMA. For Daley it was almost a no-brainer for him to head back to Kickboxing.
“Kickboxing is different, it has a lot more impact,” he explained in an exclusive interview with LiverKick.com. “It’s hard on the body, but I don't have to worry about takedowns and I know I have proven knockout power, no matter the round. So I am extremely confident in winning.”
For those who know Kickboxing, they know that 2014 has been a big year for the sport, with GLORY Sports International, K-1, SuperKombat, FFC, LEGEND and many other promotions making their impact felt on the sport. It also means that fighters like Paul Daley have a lot of options available to them. For Daley, though, the choice was a simple one; K-1 was the only choice for him.
“Everyone knows K-1,” he answered. “It’s really an honor to fight for K-1, I am a big fan of K-1 and so many of the fighters that made K-1 famous. K-1 can expect a lot of knockouts from me. No point scoring. My aim is every fight to score a knockout.”
Daley also has his eyes to the future, while trying to not forget the past, but to learn from it. “For me I am just continuing my development, both as a fighter and a human being,” he explained to us. His goals right now include working hard and becoming a champion both in K-1 and in the MMA world, including the British promotion BAMMA which he is currently under contract to. He felt that now was the right time for Kickboxing, though.
“Kickboxing has opened a lot more doors for fighters,” he explained. “More divisions, more competition.” As for other MMA fighters moving into Kickboxing now that it is more accommodating? He’s skeptical. “Maybe. But I’m not sure how many will do well. It’s a very different sport, more complex than people think.”
In July Paul Daley has an opportunity to make his K-1 debut in Thailand, known for being the mecca of Muay Thai. Daley has been a practitioner of Muay Thai for many years now, making it an honor for him to fight there after such a storied career. “Yeah,” he agreed. “It’s a dream come true. Something I will be extremely proud of.”
Paul Daley will walk into Thailand in July for K-1 with four huge knockout wins to his credit in 2014, with him scoring a second round knockout of Miran Fabjan just a day after he was interviewed. Without a doubt K-1 has made a sound investment by bringing Paul Daley to the promotion, one that should pay heavy dividends by the way of highlight reel knockouts from a truly matured, evolving fighter like Paul Daley.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.
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