Richman scored yet another brutal finish in Bellator when he
Jackson in their Season 8 featherweight tournament bout on Feb.
The win was Richman’s third first-round victory in four Bellator
fights, but this one was particularly rewarding considering the bad
blood he had with his opponent’s camp.
“It was mostly just his training partners, his coach, saying, ‘Oh,
Mike Richman is a bum. He fights bums. He has a padded record. He’s
being coddled.’ This was three years ago, whatever, and then
there’s always just kind of been the rivalry,” Richman told the
Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I’ve always wanted to fight
him. Nothing ever materialized. It felt really good to show a lot
of the Minnesota fans that I’m a far superior fighter now. He
should have fought me three years ago. He probably would have had a
better chance then.”
After stunning Jackson multiple times in the opening round, Richman
ended the fight with a head kick and a series of hammer fists. He
didn’t exactly look gun-shy coming off his stoppage loss to
Shahbulat Shamhalaev in November.
“I just to love to get in there and fight,” Richman said. “I love
to stay in the pocket. I love to be close and I love to exchange
and I just love to fight, to just straight-up fight. I wasn’t going
to be gun-shy. I’m extremely confident in my chin.”
After all, it wasn’t his chin that Shamhalaev hit.
“Shamhalaev caught me square in my eyeball,” Richman said. “It was
one of those weird shots I’ve never experienced. I thought my
eyeball popped when he hit me. That was like the first thing he
hit. If I were to fight Shamhalaev again, I’d stand in the pocket
and I’d be looking to take his head off.”
Richman also said he’d fight a little smarter in a rematch, though,
and not be so aggressive. Against Jackson, he was more patient and
still got the first-round finish.
“I’m fully, 100-percent confident in my skills now,” Richman
explained. “A lot of that has to do with me training at The
Academy, with me training with high-level wrestlers. My confidence
in my counter wrestling and my ability to get back up when I’m
taken down has really helped my striking game flourish.”
Richman’s takedown defense could be put to the test in the
tournament semifinals. He’s scheduled to meet Alexandre
Bezerra, who advanced with an armbar submission of Genair da
“I think I match up well with a lot of people and I think I’ll make
exciting fights against anybody,” Richman said. “Me against ‘Popo’
is going to be super exciting. It’s going to be a real fun fight.
I’m going to do my game plan and try to put him away like I want to
do with everyone else. I want to fight to finish, not just fight to
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:25:53).