There’s a storm on the horizon, as standout welterweight Logan Storley makes his return to action at Bellator 233.
When undefeated wrestling standout Logan Storley (10-0) returns to the cage at Bellator 233 in Thackerville this Friday, he’ll be on the first fight of a freshly signed new contract with the promotion.
It will also be his first fight since February. A long layoff in the fight game. Getting the deal done, he admitted to Cageside Press recently, took a little longer than he would have liked. “We had to come to the old ‘meeting of the minds’ and get everything together. I would have liked to fight earlier, but we were waiting on Bellator, and then fights filled up, cards filled up that we would have liked to be on.”
In his downtime, Storley went back to his old home at the University of Minnesota, to “wrestle with the boys” as he put it. That would be his old team, the Gophers, where he still has strong ties.
“I go back probably five-six times a year,” Storley said of training at his old school. His girlfriend still lives out that way. As well, “I’m still very close friends with the coaches, and my former college roommate is the director of ops now for the wrestling team. I know all those guys really well.”
“It’s like coming home for me,” he added. “I get to train with some of the best guys in the world in wrestling, and see all my friends. I go back quite a bit when I’m not in camp.”
Going back as a professional fighter has allowed Storley to take on a different role. Training with the wrestling team at Minnesota, who he described as “young, hungry college kids” has been good. But Storley also gets to have more of a mentor role.
“For the guys that are interested in fighting, I definitely have questions from them,” he said. “Not only technique stuff, but just the mental stuff, what I went through. Being a four-time All-American, and the NCAA tournament. All those little questions that I used to have, I used to ask the alumni guys, now they’re asking me. So the roles have reversed.”
In return, those young, hungry kids “help keep my wrestling sharp.”
Aside from training at the University of Minnesota, Storley also helped teammates Robbie Lawler and Kamaru Usman prepare for Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, respectively. The Lawler fight, of course, ended in controversy, with a question of whether he went out from an Askren choke.
“Robbie Lawler is a straight up guy. When Robbie gets upset like that, you know he wasn’t out,” Storley stated. “From what I can see, he wasn’t out. I’ve watched the tape over and over, but it wasn’t me. I wasn’t in there. It was a tough call for Herb Dean to make.”
Storley’s own status as a high-level wrestler makes his insight into the recent run by former Bellator MMA champ Ben Askren all the more interesting. “It was a tough fight against Masvidal. It’s one of those things where, who knows what happens if they fight again,” he said. “There’s no way Masvidal lands a knee in the first five seconds.”
As for Askren’s last performance, “that fight against Maia, I think he just got a little overconfident.” Still, Storley feels something has changed. “His wrestling didn’t seem to be as sharp as it usually is. He doesn’t give up those positions and get reversed and get his back taken that easily.”
The pair have trained together in the past, however, and Storley said of Askren that “he’s a hell of a wrestler,” adding that ‘Funky’ is “one of the best to ever do it.”
Enough about what was, however. Coming up this Friday, Storley has his own fight to worry about. With a new contract secured, it’s on to fighting and pursing the title. His first test is E.J Brooks, a Bellator and ACB veteran on a five fight win streak.
“He’s a tough competitor,” Storley said, summing up Brooks. It’s one of those fights, he suggested, where “you’ve got to pick your shots and make sure you don’t rush anything. At the same time, we’re excited, and I know I’ve improved in all aspects of my game. I know I can go out there and put on a good show.”
Storley plans on setting the pace in the fight, and it won’t be an easy one. “Most guys don’t want to fight at a high pace. It’s hard. That’s what it really comes down to. It’s hard to fight that high a pace for fifteen minutes, if it takes that long.”
“And so that’s just what it comes down to,” he continued. “He’s a good competitor, good wrestler, hard to take down, good athlete. But the question is, if he can stay with my pressure and my pace. Guess we’ll find out next Friday.”
My biggest regrets from my wrestling career was not taking enough risks or setting a high enough pace. I try to make sure that will never happen again. Stance and motion is a key component to keep those feet moving and keeping the pace of a match. pic.twitter.com/a96j3NHpDL
— Logan Storley (@storleystorm) July 12, 2019
Storley’s wrestling pedigree — as a four-time All American — is will known, but he’s also been open about continuing to improve as he continues on in his MMA career. In his wrestling days, Storley felt he didn’t take enough risks, or set the pace high enough. Asked about it, ‘Storm’ explained that “I just didn’t open up at times as much as I should of. You don’t regret losing, you don’t regret any of those things, you can only control so much. The only thing you can control is your effort. Not that there was a lack of effort, just being too tight and not opening up and wrestling at the highest pace, making guys make mistakes.”
Learning from the past should serve him well as he continues to progress as a mixed martial artist. “When I first got into MMA, I’d competed at the highest level for a long time,” he noted. “I know how to compete, I know how to win.”
The little mistakes in his past from wrestling, “I’m trying to make those right,” said Storley. “Get that gold now, and go from there.”
Logan Storley returns to face E.J. Brooks at Bellator 233, this Friday, November 8 at the Winstar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.