Douglas Lima wants respect if he beats Rory MacDonald at Bellator 192 – but he won't beg for it

Douglas Lima is unsure whether he’s got an appropriate amount of recognition for his body of work as Bellator welterweight champion.

A strong argument can be made that he hasn’t, but all that could change with a successful title defense against Rory MacDonald at Bellator 192.

Lima (29-6 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) vs. MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) is one of the most legitimate title fights in Bellator history. The bout headlines the Jan. 20 event at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and airs on Paramount Network following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Only able to fight the opponents placed in front of him, Lima is pleased Bellator continues to bring strong competition to challenge for his 170-pound belt. He’s currently No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, but could enhance that position by beating No. 3-ranked MacDonald.

With names like Lorenz Larkin (No. 12), Andrey Koreshkov (No. 15), Paul Daley and more already on his resume, there’s little doubt Lima is among the best. The Brazilian prefers to stay humble, but he does agree a case can be made that the winner of the Bellator 192 main event is the best welterweight in the world, especially when considering MacDonald already holds a dominant win over current UFC champ Tyron Woodley.

“I’d love to think (the winner is No. 1 in the world) – I think Rory’s been on the top for a long time,” Lima said on Wednesday’s Bellator 192 conference call. “He beat the guy who is supposedly the No. 1 right now – he beat him before. So he can be considered the No. 1, and I’ll take that spot when I beat him next Saturday, for sure. I’m honestly not even thinking about that. I’m just focused on the fight. I don’t really care much about rankings. There’s always going to be someone saying something like, ‘He doesn’t deserve to be No. 1.’ So, I’m not really focusing on that.”

Lima may not care about rankings, but he does acknowledge the importance of recognition. Lima has the most knockout victories in Bellator history, the most stoppages in the promotion’s welterweight history and will be competing in his sixth championship bout for the company at Bellator 192. Lima’s skill never has been much of a question, but he believes his recent performances against opponents with greater name value is helping raise his profile.

“I feel like it’s getting better,” Lima said. “Bellator is bringing out all these top guys and guys with big names. I love it. I love to have that target on my back. I love being the champion and let them all come at me. I love it. I love what Bellator is doing. The division is stacked and it feels good to sit on top of it.”

Despite all his successes, Lima is still being largely counted out ahead of Bellator 192. Oddsmakers currently list him as the betting underdog, and though some fighters thrive off that position, Lima doesn’t see himself as the one with the biggest obstacles to overcome.

“I’m being considered the underdog for many people, but in my eyes I’m not the underdog,” Lima said. “I’m the champion. I know he’s fought bigger names throughout his career, but I don’t think it matter who is the underdog or not. This is one of the best fights at welterweight right now. It doesn’t matter which organization. At welterweight, this is one of the best fights ever.

“I feel really good. I feel in my prime. I’m still young and hungry and same for him. I’m just going to go and give my best and try and knock his head off. If that’s not enough, then we’ll just keep fighting. What can I do?”

For more on Bellator 192, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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