Fifty-pound cut underway, Bellator's David Rickels on slimming down, growing up


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

david-rickels-2.jpgDavid Rickels thinks he probably was at a buffet eating lo mein and crab rangoon when he got the call to fight lightweight champ Michael Chandler at Bellator 97. He knows he was 205 pounds.

Rickels isn’t big on living in the past or the future, but the present of that moment sticks in his memory.

“Initial shock factor was about a nine,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).

A winner in Bellator’s Season 8 lightweight tournament, Rickels (14-1 MMA, 8-1 BFC) stepped in for an injured Dave Jansen to meet Chandler (11-0 MMA, 8-0 BFC) on July 31 at Santa Ana Star Center in New Mexico. The title fight headlines the event’s main card on Spike following prelims on Spike.com.

Rickel’s shock wasn’t just that he would have to cut 50 pounds in a little more than a month to qualify for the bout, although that certainly wasn’t a pleasant thought. It was that he finally got the opportunity he’d been building for since staring MMA on a whim.

The 24-year-old lightweight, whose nickname is “Caveman,” is something of a goof when you talk to him, but he’s also serious about goals. When he started training, he made one to fight. Then he started fighting, and he made another to go pro. Then he went pro, and he targeted a contract with a major promotion.

Other than that, he’s kind of flying by the seat of his pants, which perhaps explains his binge on Asian cuisine and his joking manner.

“He’s got a pretty haircut; he slicks it over,” Rickels said when asked about Chandler. “He’s got a Dave and Buster’s sponsor. I would like some coins. I think that’s something where I could beat him up and maybe get some coins for Dave and Buster’s, so I can go to Kansas City and play some games. Because that’s what I’m all about.”

Whether his outlook translates into success against one of Bellator’s most successful and dominant fighters is something he’ll find out soon enough.

“I don’t look too far into the future,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. I guess 50 years from now, I’ll tell you if I had a good strategy. But I look at what’s next, and what’s right in front of me is a huge opportunity to take on Michael Chandler, to potentially end his streak, his onslaught, his massacre of the lightweight division, and I feel pretty good about myself.”

Rickels said he’s “probably the farthest thing from a grownup,” and doesn’t ever want to be one. Yet his life keeps marching toward adulthood. In training camp for Chandler, he found out that his longtime girlfriend was pregnant. He recently started looking for houses after socking away enough cash for a down payment. And he moved, temporarily, to the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., where some of the most serious mixed martial artists on the planet train.

“I thought I’d spend all my money on booze and vacations, but I’m doing the responsible thing,” Rickels said. “I’m evolving.”

It’s something a “Caveman” should do, after all, however surprising it might be. And if he wins the title, things are bound to get even more serious. Already he’s noticed a different in the money he’s going to make from sponsors, having doubled the $2,000 he usually makes for fights. And he’s bound to get more backing from Bellator, which actively promotes its champions through appearances at events like this week’s Comic Con.

But he’s not thinking too much about that part of things right now. It’s time to focus on beating Chandler, who remains undefeated after 11 fights and recently defended his title with a second-round submission of former Olympic judo player Rick Hawn.

“Now, my goal is to take a championship,” Rickels said. “I like to push myself. More than just the money, (it’s) proving to myself (that) all these hard work and hours. It would mean a lot to me emotionally to pull off this type of victory (and) put myself on the stage I believe I belong as far as skill and talent goes.”

He’s rubbed shoulders with men on that type of stage at AKA, where fighters such as Josh Thomson, Jon Fitch and Tyson Griffin reside, so he can see what his future could look like. If he’s looking, which he’s not.

“Definitely, I feel like this is one of the biggest fights of my life,” Rickels said. “I’m just a little barbarian trying to slay a dragon.”

For the latest on Bellator 97, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 8 days ago
  • 64 views

One of the busiest months to date for the UFC yields up another 20 fighters laying it on the line. An unlucky few may be fighting to keep a foothold in the promotion. Likely Cut with a Loss Cody Donovan (8-4, 1-2 UFC) - Donovan's been finished in two consecutive fights against the lower-middle end of the light-heavyweight division. Letting the same happen a third time against Krylov will likely send him back to the regionals. Possibly Cut with a Loss Nikita Krylov (16-4, 1-2 UFC) - He's in much more

  • 8 days ago
  • 24 views

UFC Fight Night: Dublin headliner Conor McGregor discusses his upcoming hometown main event against Diego Brandao, his “scared” opponents, and when he believes he will become featherweight champion. more

  • 10 days ago
  • 21 views

In which we speculate wildly about the relative job security of UFC Fight Night 45's competitors. Likely Cut With a Loss Pat Healy (29-10-1NC, 0-3 UFC) - With three losses in a row and the fight he'd previously won overturned because of a positive drug test, I'm surprised Healy wasn't already released. More than anyone else, not just of this card but of this entire month, I'd think Healy is fighting for his job. Possibly Cut With a Loss Yosdenis Cedeno (9-3, 0-1 UFC) - He lost his first UFC bout more

  • 20 days ago
  • 48 views

The enigmatic Hawaiian has shed an extra 25 pounds (see below) to reignite his struggling mixed martial arts (MMA) career. But, will it be enough to finally exact revenge on Frankie Edgar after two failed attempts? Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight and Lightweight champion, B.J. Penn, today made what is likely his final mixed martial arts (MMA) transformation. Penn hit the 145-pound mark on the button, the lightest he has ever been throughout his extensive 13-year professi more

  • 20 days ago
  • 32 views

As many as eight mixed martial artists may be fighting just to hold on to a spot in the UFC, including former champ B.J. Penn. Addle-brained rationale follows... Well, as far as months to take over The Cut List go, July was maybe a foolhardy choice. Not even a week in and we've already got two UFC events, which isn't even half of all UFC events scheduled for this month. Do all these events mean that fighters will get more leniency after a losing effort? Or does it suggest that the UFC is filling more

  • 21 days ago
  • 29 views

Whose place in the UFC is secure? Who's fighting just to keep their job? "It's...ALIVE!!!" Welcome, friends, to the reanimated Cut List, brought to you with the full approval and hearty encouragement of Tim Burke (citation needed). I've always enjoyed this feature -- knowing whose places are secure and whose backs are against the wall lends these fights a certain narrative quality that, in a time of hefty UFC programming, is necessary as a means of making fighters distinct. It's a pleasure to ge more

  • 23 days ago
  • 41 views

Metamoris will not cut Chael Sonnen from its fourth event set for Aug. 9 in Los Angeles, according to the promotion’s president, which means the fighter’s grappling match with Andre Galvao will go on as planned.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC more

  • 25 days ago
  • 601 views

The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Fox Sports have terminated their respective broadcasting services agreements with former title contender and analyst Chael Sonnen. more

  • 25 days ago
  • 20 views

Following a pair of failed random drug tests, both the UFC and FOX are parting ways with recently retired fighter and on-air personality Chael Sonnen. Filed under: Featured, News, UFC more