Rickels knows where the rubber meets the road.
While some fighters psyche themselves up before fights by talking
trash, Rickels is concerned only with what takes place inside the
chain-link fence after the referee says, “Go.”
“The Caveman” will put his skills to the test in the
Bellator 69 welterweight tournament semifinals in a matter of
hours. With just one victory separating Rickels from a finals
berth, he must now contend with Karl
Amoussou, a man who spouted some choice words at Thursday’s
“[Rickels] is ugly as hell, and I’m going to destroy him,” said
Despite his opponent’s candid prediction, Rickels is staying
grounded ahead of his pivotal bout at L’Auberge du Lac Casino in
Lake Charles, La. Rickels believes that when the cage door is
locked tonight, Amoussou will be singing a different tune.
“Amoussou’s mind games aren’t going to affect me one bit,” Rickels
recently told Sherdog.com. “Hell no. I don’t play into those games.
If anything, I think it’s funny. If I see people act that way, I
think they are f---ing scared. There is a reason why they act that
way. I don't play into that s---. He can stare at me and mug me all
he wants, and he can talk s--- on Twitter all he wants, but the
bottom line is I am going in there to kick his ass.”
According to Rickels, all the pre-fight banter will soon become
obsolete, as the unbeaten 23-year-old plans to let his fists do his
talking when he faces the Frenchman tonight.
“Whether I like him or not, me and Amoussou are going to fight.
That’s inevitable. I’ve got to fight him to get paid, and that is
what I am going to do,” said Rickels. “If he thinks I am a stepping
stone, then I think he is in for a rude awakening. I am going to
lay him out. We’ll see what he has to say then.”
Rickels enters the cage on the heels of a dominant performance in
the tournament quarterfinals, having dispatched former “Ultimate
Fighter” Season 11 contestant Jordan
Smith in just 22 seconds at Bellator 63.
“The win over Smith was definitely a huge weight lifted off of my
shoulders,” Rickels admitted. “That was a career defining moment
for me. In my own head, it set me on a path where I know I can
compete with these guys. I know I can fight the top-level guys and
beat them. I’ve always known I would be here eventually, but I feel
like I am here now. I feel like I can go with anybody.”
The Kansas native will take that confidence with him when he
clashes with Amoussou, who battered Chris
Lozano before choking him out just over two minutes into their
quarterfinal bout. In spite of that destructive finish, Rickels
says he will expose the weaknesses in Amoussou’s approach when the
“I see some holes in Amoussou’s game. I feel like he is a little
predictable. He floats his chin around a lot, and I feel like I can
find a good spot for my right hand on his chin,” said Rickels. “I
feel like this is a great fight for me. He likes to throw down, and
I like to throw down. I think the fans are going to see a war. I
think there is a really good chance that someone is going to get
Though Amoussou possesses twice the professional experience of
Rickels, the American believes that the “Psycho” may be
underestimating him -- an attitude that could produce unpleasant
consequences for the 6-year pro.
“If Amoussou is looking past me, he is [making a] grave mistake,”
said Rickels. “I am definitely a threat, and he has a hell of a
fight on his hands. If he doesn’t know that, he is obviously not
training hard enough for me.”