A change of of scenery can at times be daunting, but if contract negotiations were any indication, Sam Sicilia believes he’ll settle in just fine at his new home with Bellator.
After a five-year, 12-fight run under the UFC banner, Sicilia (15-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator last month. The veteran featherweight said the financial aspect paired with the opportunity to compete more frequently were all too appealing, and he praised Bellator for meeting his wishes.
“I felt really heard (during contract negotiations),” Sicilia told MMAjunkie. “It’s really not a big step backwards (from UFC). It’s a different company, but you still get a shot at beating the big guys and being in the big fights. A lot of guys are moving there. It just feels like a good fit to be around.”
More than being pleased about how the company handled him, Sicilia said he’s eager to have a fresh start with Bellator. He admits the end of his UFC run did not represent his best work, with the 31-year-old having lost his past three contests.
Sicilia said he feels his UFC career got into a holding pattern that was hard to break out of. He believes the promotion saw him as little more than a brawler capable of providing a highlight-reel knockout, and he did his best to maintain that standard even if it wasn’t in his best interest.
“I was being sold off as a brawler and was playing my role a little bit,” Sicilia said. “They would put this fight together, because they want two brawlers, so I thought, ‘I’ll just go brawl with him.’ I wasn’t so much focused on winning as I should have been.”
Sicilia said he’s not going to revert completely away from engaging in action fights, but he said getting the desired results are going to become a greater priority. He hasn’t won a fight since July 2015 but expects that to change in short order.
The goal is not only to get back on the winning track, but also to get a winning streak going.
“It sucks to say, but I’m on a losing streak, which sucks to say as a competitor,” Sicilia said. “With the UFC it felt like no matter what there’s a long time between every single fight. It wasn’t because anything that I was doing. Even when I was on a roll I couldn’t get another fight for seven, eight months. It’s hard for momentum to get going either way.
“You lose, you want to get back in there and redeem yourself, and that doesn’t happen. Then when you’re on a roll and you get the biggest knockout of your life, it’s like, ‘Throw me back in there.’ And you don’t get that, either. It just wasn’t good for me.”
Sicilia said he expects to make his Bellator debut before the end of the year. He hopes he can have an immediate impact on the 145-pound division, but he’s not going to call out any of the big names just yet. Sicilia said he believes in Bellator’s vision for his future, and he hopes to make a big impression in his first fight with the organization.
“I won’t be a guy that just simply exists in Bellator and go back to the win-lose-win-lose,” Sicilia said. “I’m ready now to put it all together and get this winning streak going. This first guy has to be when my losing streak comes to a screeching halt.”
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