Bellator 186 goes down Friday at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University, and brings a card filled with collegiate wrestling standouts with it. Among names like Ryan Bader, Phil Davis, and Tywan Claxton, four time NCAA All-American and former Golden Gopher Logan Storley is right at home.
Bellator prospect Logan Storley makes his sophomore appearance in the promotion at Bellator 186, where he puts his perfect record on the line against Matt Secor (9-4). A win would move the decorated wrestler to 7-0 and almost certainly necessitate a step up in Bellator’s growing welterweight division. Leading into the event, Storley took time out from training to talk to Cageside Press about working with Henri Hooft and Robbie Lawler, his upcoming bout, the impetus for signing with Bellator over the UFC, McGregor-Mayweather and more!
First up, Storley’s impressive list of coaches and training partners, including Henri Hooft, one of the best striking coaches in the game. We asked Storley what working with Hooft has brought to the table.
“He’s been a guy that has really helped my overall game” Storley told us. “We see eye to eye on a lot of things, and we really speak the same language. He keeps it simple, and he’s very straightforward. That’s been a great help, and I’ve been getting better every single day I get to work with him.”
Then there’s Robbie Lawler, the former UFC welterweight champion who has had one of the best career resurgences in recent memory. Storley worked with Lawler on his last bout, and the former champ is back in his corner on Friday.
“He’s my main training partner, he was in my corner my last fight, and he’ll be in my corner for this fight too” said Storley. “It’s great having a guy like that in your corner, getting to work with him, and be part of it.”
“He’s made a big difference also. Tommy Marcini, Greg Jones, I have a really great group of guys who I trust. That’s the biggest thing with MMA” the former collegiate wrestling standout told us. “With coaches and fighters leaving, and switching gyms, and all this stuff, and they don’t trust their coach, and all these stories come out after a loss. I trust my coaches. I trust everything they say, and I know they’re doing it in my best interest.”
Most importantly, “they really do care about me, and if I need something outside of fighting, I can go to those guys. I don’t know if a lot of guys have that in MMA, but it’s made a big difference in my career.”
Lawler, in particular, has “been great, he doesn’t have an ego.” Storley went on to explain that “He’s helped me with everything, he lets me work on things.”
“Some guys,” the welterweight prospect said, “they won’t let the young guys work. The new guy comes into a gym, they just want to beat him up and prove to him that they’re the man. Having Robbie just work with me with everything, it’s made a huge difference.”
On Friday at Bellator 186, Storley will face off against Matt Secor, who will enter the night off a submission win (keylock) against T.J. Sumler at Bellator 182. Storley has done his homework on his opponent, but points out that at the end of the day, it’s all about what he can do — and especially the little things.
“I’ve watched a couple of his fights, he’s tricky on the ground, I think he’s a black belt. You’ve got to be aware of those little things, but we do what we do for every fight” he explained. “We get ready, we get in shape. We improve the small little details, keep everything sharp, and be ready for fight night. We definitely have a game plan, we have things in place, we worked on those little things we need to do for this fight.”
On why the little things, and focusing on yourself, is so important at this stage in his career, Storley pointed out that MMA is always subject to change. “At the end of the day, he can back out, guys back out all the time in fights, or he could get hurt, the opponent changes, something changes. You have to not just only focus on one guy, you’ve got to worry about just getting better. Especially so young in my career. I’m only two and a half, three years into this. For me it’s just getting better, my overall game, then you worry about your opponent’s strengths.”
“It’s continuing to improve the little things” he continued. “The little things make a big difference in the overall look of things. In a year from now, if you keep improving, those small little things become a big part of the picture.”
At a perfect 6-0 thus far in his pro career, Storley has never gone to decision, boasting a record of six TKO stoppages in six fights. Is finding the finish something he’s actively pursuing?
“For me it’s putting yourself in a position to finish the fight. Obviously every single fight starts on the feet, once you touch gloves, you just have to feel the fight out” he told us. “What happens after that, is just reacting, you’re just reacting. You’re dictating the pace.”
Storley sees it like this: “Let the fight come to you. For me, it’s scoring the takedown, or landing the right hand, and then continuing to work to a better position to finish the fight.”
“Every time I go out there, if you don’t think you’re going to finish the guy, I think that’s a bad way to look at it. I want to finish the fight, I want to put on a show, I want to get the knockout or the TKO. In my mind, every fight I walk out there, I believe I’m going to finish the fight. I’m going to take this guy out. I don’t want it to be a long boring fifteen minutes. At the end of the day, you gotta see where the fight goes, you just react. You gotta react, dictate the pace, then good things start to happen.”
Ultimately, “for me it’s been staying calm, and picking the right shots, when they’re there, they’re there, and I take them. That’s helped me get those six finishes.”
One question that consistently comes up when Storley is making the media rounds is his connection to Brock Lesnar. Both fighters wrestled as Golden Gophers at the University of Minnesota, and both made their way to careers in MMA, with Lesnar first going the pro wrestling route, then capturing the UFC heavyweight championship.
Is the Lesnar connection something Storley is tired of talking about? Not quite.
“He’s helped me a lot, in the early stages of my career. I got to work with him in high school, and be around that. At that point, he was drawing, almost every fight, I think he did over a million pay-per-views almost every fight” Storley explained. “He always had a lot of people around, a lot of press, a lot of attention. So I got to see that, I got to talk to this guy who had all this pressure, all these people talking about him and saying things. It was great to see that at such a young age; he just went about his life as a normal guy. It was good to experience that, to see that first hand.”
In short, seeing Lesnar lead a normal life despite all the attention was good for the young wrestler. That’s not to say that the two will take the exact same path. “We’re two different people, and two different fighters” the Bellator prospect pointed out. “But at the end of the day, we both come from a small town, both came from farms, and we both have that work ethic. We’re going to outwork everyone. At the end of the day that’s what it comes down to, is just outworking people. Obviously it was great for his career, he accomplished a lot of great things, and that’s one of those things I take with me every time I go into a workout: no one’s going to outwork me!”
The key about Lesnar is that “at the end of his career, he lived a pretty normal life, lived out in the country.” Which makes sense to Logan Storley, who is just starting out in his own career.
“He just likes peace and quiet, goes about his work, that’s the Brock I’ve always known” he said. “It’s funny, the way the sport is today with everyone talking and looking for attention, you’ve got a guy like that who doesn’t have more than about five words to say.”
On page two, we discuss money fights in MMA, the UFC sale, the struggles of UFC fighters moving to Bellator MMA and more!