Bellator 194’s Liam McGeary: “I Had to Learn the Hard Way”

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Bellator MMA's Liam McGeary
Liam McGeary Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Former Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary returns at Bellator 194 this Friday against Vadim Nemkov. After admitting he had to “learn the hard way” that the wins don’t always come easy, he’s ready to get back to being his old self.

Bellator 194 is right around the corner, going down this Friday in Uncasville, CT. While all eyes will be squarely focused on the heavyweight grand prix main event that evening, many will also be anticipating the return of British striker and former Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary.

McGeary was the man to beat just a few short years ago, coming off a submission victory over MMA pioneer Tito Ortiz at Bellator 142. Back then, McGeary was on top of the world.

The Brit would go on to drop the light heavyweight title in his next bout against Phil Davis, however. Then, as luck would have it, McGeary would see four of his next six fights fall through due to injury. With all that behind him, now the man from King’s Lynn in Norfolk, England is ready to show the world that he is still an elite fighter, and you best not forget it.

Cageside Press caught up with the former champ ahead of Bellator 194. And he wants everyone to know, he’s back to being the old McGeary — and that’s scary.

May of 2017 was the last time McGeary set foot in the Bellator cage: on that night he would suffer a submission defeat at the hands of fellow British fighter Linton Vassell.

“I’m back to being angry, I’m back to being pissed off, I’m back to being me.”

A lot has been speculated about McGeary heading into that fight with Vassell. McGeary didn’t look like himself. He appeared hesitant in the stand-up game and when the fight did go to the ground, McGeary looked outmatched. If you have seen any of McGeary’s past fights, that just doesn’t make sense.

So, what was the deal in that fight? “There was just stuff going on, that’s all,” McGeary replied. There was a sense that he didn’t want to go there, which we obliged, but the former champ did add that “I’m back to being angry, I’m back to being pissed off, I’m back to being me.”

Does this mean we’re going to see the McGeary that submitted Tito Ortiz at Bellator 194? “You’re gonna see me how I was even before that Mate,” said McGeary.

What we’ll see is “The guy that violently busted up whatever that guy’s face is [referring to the fight just before the Ortiz fight, where he badly beat Emanuel Newton to become the light heavyweight champion]. I beat him with knees and elbows bad.” That’s the Liam McGeary fans can expect to see come Friday.

Getting back to the top is something that McGeary knows will come sooner rather than later. It’s just a matter of putting the work in to get back to where he belongs.

“I’m still a top-level fighter mate,” he added. He explained that “I got complacent and I thought all my fights would come easy, but I had to learn the hard way. But now the work’s put in and I will get back to the top, where I belong.”

Sometimes the hard way is the only way we learn.

McGeary is a rather big light heavyweight, standing at 6’6. He’s cutting a good 25lbs to make the 205lb weight limit. With other big-name fighters throwing their name in the heavyweight grand prix reserve pool, would McGeary consider doing the same? “Honestly mate no I wouldn’t,” said the Brit.

“They [Bellator] didn’t ask me, they didn’t offer me the chance so I’m not going to back them up for a fucking favor. I’m just going to enjoy the grand prix like a fan. There are some really good fighters in there and it should be fun.”

Yes indeed, it should be fun. As will McGeary’s fight with Vadim Nemkov.  

Liam McGeary looks to get back to his winning ways at Bellator 194 on February 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main card airs live and free on The Paramount Network kicking off at 9PM ET.

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