UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Former Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary isn’t interested in painting a pretty picture with his words. He’s angry, he knows where he screwed up, and he’s coming to get his belt back.
“The mindset is right,” McGeary told MMAjunkie. “Everything is right. The body feels good. The mistakes that I had have been fixed. I’m going back for my title, so this is one more fight to go towards it.”
McGeary opened his pro career with 11 consecutive wins, charging up the rankings and claiming the Bellator light heavyweight title. However, he’s since battled through a 1-2 stretch in his past three outings, ceding the belt to Phil Davis and also suffering a submission loss to Linton Vassell along the way.
McGeary was set to return to action this past October against Muhammed Lawal, but a broken thumb forced the Englishman to withdraw from the contest. Now McGeary (12-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA) faces Russia’s Vadim Nemkov (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) on the Paramount-broadcast main card of Friday’s Bellator 194 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
McGeary admits he was disappointed to withdraw from the original booking but insists he’s even more prepared now.
“I was already in great shape when the injury happened, so then it was just an inconvenience to get the broken thumb,” McGeary said. “I had the cast on, and I just carried on from there, so within two weeks, I was back in the same shape I was prior to the injury.
“I feel good. I feel very good for this fight.”
McGeary’s two losses made one thing very apparent: While his submission game had been effective early in his career, opponents who were able to stifle that grappling attack with a superior top game proved to be his kryptonite.
McGeary admits he made mistakes on those contests and took a hard look in the mirror following the results.
“I think you know what the mistakes were: wrestling takedown defense,” McGeary said. “I was ignorant to the fact of wrestling. I’d always done so well off my back, and then I had such a long layoff that they understood you can’t give me no space, so I had to revamp the game and change it around and just do things differently, and I believe I have done the necessary things to do that.
“I’ve got a great coach. I’ve got great teammates. I’ve got awesome people around me, so yeah, I’ve had good help.”
McGeary knows a win over Nemkov won’t likely get him another title shot. There’s more work to do than that. But that’s just fine with McGeary, since current light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader is stepping away from the division for now to participate in the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix.
The way McGeary sees it, he can use that time to prove he deserves another shot at the title and welcome the champ back to the division whenever that time may come.
“(The belt) is on hold, and it couldn’t work out better for me because at the end of the day, yes I have got some catching up to do, and while it’s on hold, it’s going to allow me the time to do and have the fights I need to have to put me back into place,” McGeary said.
But that all comes later. For now, it’s been nine months since McGeary last stepped in the cage, and he admits the time to sit and stew about his latest loss had left him “pissed off” and “more angry than what I normally am.”
Now it’s time to make someone pay.
“I’m as hungry as I was when I first got into this game,” McGeary said. “I’ve made a couple of mistakes, and I don’t intend on making a third.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: 'Pissed off' Liam McGeary has addressed his wrestling deficiencies, wants title back