Fighting for the first time in 18 months felt a little strange for War Machine. The result felt pretty good, though.

It took War Machine (13-4 MMA, 1-0 BFC) just under four minutes to stop Blas Avena (8-7 MMA, 1-1 BFC) on Wednesday night at Bellator 96 in his first fight since November 2011.

Since November 2011, War Machine re-signed with Bellator (after a stint in 2009 that never came to be when he was released before the promotion’s first event after a MySpace rant about President Obama), gone back to jail, got out of jail, got a shot in a Bellator welterweight tournament, lost that shot when he tore his ACL training, healed up and now, finally, he’s back.

War Machine said getting back in the cage after a long layoff didn’t necessarily have ring rust behind it, but there was something he wasn’t expecting.

“That’s the thing with ring rust: It doesn’t exist that much,” War Machine told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “You fight like 40 fights in the gym before you ever come to the real fight. But I won’t lie, I was a little more nervous than usual. I felt a little weird in the beginning of the fight. I watched the fight on TV, and I looked fine, but I guess I felt a little different.”

War Machine may have felt a little different because he was testing out a knee injury in competition for the first time outside of the gym. And it’s an injury that he wonders if he’s seen the last of.

But he also had the pressure of needing to get a win in his Bellator debut – a debut that had a lot of eyeballs on it, given the somewhat controversial nature of his MMA career. Bellator 96 was the start of the promotion’s “Summer Series” and took place at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

“In the back of my head, I’m scared that one day (the ACL is) going to eventually tear all the way through,” he said. “Just a bunch of little things like that. Obviously pressure. Blas is a tough guy. Everyone here is tough in Bellator, and I want to win. You want to win. We don’t make that much money, and if you lose, you get half as much money. You want that money. You want to eat. That adds to the nerves.”

But in the end, War Machine fought through the nerves and got a first-round TKO stoppage, pinning Avena down and raining down punches on him to end the fight.

And with that hurdle cleared, he now can start thinking about a Bellator welterweight tournament. He was supposed to be in one in the spring before his injury. Now he sets his sights on champion Ben Askren. But he’ll need three tournament wins to get there.

“I want to fight Ben Askren for the belt,” he said. “That’s who I want to fight.”

One thing War Machine knows for sure after all this time is that he’s a fighter and he’s in the right profession.

If he can turn that into a title, all the better. But either way, the alternatives for making money don’t suit him.

“I fight because I can’t have a boss,” he said. “I can’t drive in traffic every day and get up in the morning. I can’t do a 9 to 5. I can’t do a regular job. That’s really why I fight. In a way, that keeps me happy because I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to deal with that. My job is taking care of myself and keeping myself in shape. That definitely keeps me more happy than a regular job.”

For more on Bellator 96, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Bellator 172 gets 10 new fights, including Cheick Kongo-Oli Thompson, Adam Piccolotti-Brent Primus

  • 11 days ago
  • 12 views

Bellator officials have announced 10 new matchups for February’s Bellator 172 event, including a key heavyweight contest, as well as a meeting of undefeated lightweights.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Bellator 170 lineup set with Derek Anderson-Derek Campos on main card, Ruth-Schneider on prelims

  • 19 days ago
  • 3 views

The lineup for next month’s Bellator 170 is official and complete with the addition of two more fights for card in Southern California.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Jarod Trice and Tyrell Fortune among Bellator 171 additions

  • 3 days ago
  • 2 views

This month’s Bellator 171 lineup has some new additions and some top prospects.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Bellator 171 Adds More Bouts, Fight Card at 14 Fights | MMAWeekly.com

  • 2 days ago
  • 6 views

A pair of heavyweight fights featuring undefeated blue chip prospects Jarod Trice and Tyrell Fortune have been added to the preliminary card of Bellator 171. read news >>

Fans invited to next week's Bellator 170 Fan Fest with Mitrione, Gracie, Wanderlei Silva, 'King Mo,' more

  • 2 days ago
  • 27 views

Bellator heads to Los Angeles next week for its latest “tentpole event.” Beforehand, fans can get up close and personal with some current stars and MMA legends.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

For BJ Penn, Refusal to Acknowledge End Was Both Blessing and Curse

  • 18 hours ago
  • 5 views

The first time BJ Penn openly discussed retirement was more than five years ago. He slipped away to his warm Hawaiian paradise and contemplated life and decided that no, he preferred the raw and unfo read news >>

Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen Fight Card Complete with 17 Bouts | MMAWeekly.com

  • 19 days ago
  • 24 views

The stacked main card of “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” has added even more ammo to its arsenal with the news that Derek Campos will face Derek Anderson. read news >>

Conor McGregor 'not in my plans for the next 10 months,' says UFC President Dana White

  • 18 days ago
  • 9 views

In spite of Conor McGregor’s recent clues that we might be seeing him sooner than originally expected, UFC president Dana White is still not counting on the lightweight champion for ten months.Filed read news >>

UFC 207 - Fight by Fight

  • 18 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC.com goes fight-by-fight and previews all 10 fights to come from UFC 207 on Dec. 30, featuring main event fighters Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. read news >>

Hendricks, Borg miss weight; fights still on for UFC 207

  • 18 days ago
  • 2 views

Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and flyweight Ray Borg both missed weight for thier fights at UFC 207. read news >>