Sidney Outlaw takes on Michael Chandler at Bellator 237. The co-main event bout goes down at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan this weekend. It’s the promotion’s debut in the Land of the Rising Sun, and a huge show to close out the year. Outlaw is stepping up to take the place of an injured Benson Henderson opposite Chandler. The turn around was on relatively short notice so this is a catchweight affair. Outlaw has a 2-0 record under the Bellator banner with the wins separated by several years in between. He’s looking to get more traction after his recent return to the Bellator fold by beating one of the most accomplished fighters in the promotion’s history.
Outlaw had to readjust his holiday eating patterns once he was made aware of this opportunity. Speaking to Cageside Press, Sidney Outlaw stated he found out about the bout “A couple weeks ago. So I’m like ‘of course’. I was in the middle of being fat. So I’m like ‘I can’t be fat. I’ll get fat after this.'”
Despite stepping up to face one of Bellator’s most accomplished fighters ever, Outlaw is quite composed and ready to go. “I know how I feel. Just gotta not put a face to the name if that makes sense,” said Outlaw. “I can’t care. Cannot discriminate at all.”
American Top Team training has been an invaluable part of Sidney’s preparations for a while now. Outlaw explained that this time out, a number of names pitched in. “Mike Brown, Pitbull… Everything was so last minute. Thiago, Masvidal…. I’ve got a lot of good wisdom from a lot of my role models I look up to like Marlon, Edson, Eddie, Frankie. I’m really fortunate. I’ve got Eddie Alvarez. The list goes on,” he stated.
Beyond the ATT lineage, he also reps for Renzo Gracie with tremendous pride. “He’s the guy that got me to where I’m at right now,” revealed Outlaw. “I’m a Renzo Gracie black belt. That’s the family. I’m an American Top Team fighter but I’m also a Renzo Gracie fighter. I’m a very loyal individual. That’s one of the things that I love about the team that I chose and that accepted me.”
Outlaw was homeless at one point as well. A period he would eventually rebound from and with the benefit of hindsight, has been something that lent him a lot of perspective. “That was the toughest fight,” admitted Outlaw. “Once I went through that, it was just like I’ve fought some of the best fighters.”
Opponents You Look Up To
Outlaw continued, adding “If you guys experienced some of the things I experienced in life, you would be like ‘every little thing is cool’….I already won the fight. I know the streets. A lot of people think that another man in front of me is a real fight *laughs*. They just don’t understand.”
To be fighting at Saitama Super Arena on a card like this has significance on a fandom level for Outlaw as well. “I’m fighting against some of the fighters I’ve looked up to,” Outlaw said. “Fighting on the same card as some of the fighters I’ve looked up to. I fought in May against a champion, second fight was in Bellator in Israel, and this happened. This all happened out of nowhere…You ask for it you will get it, whether you like it or not.”
Outlaw is noticing he’s getting a lot of free stuff lately but is not taking the newfound attention for granted. More so sees it as a lot of hard work translating into favorable results. Outlaw is is in a great place where he’s reaping rewards but also has a tempered mindset about all of it.
Outlaw was rather philosophical about it. “Blessed and not caring. You do what you love. Do not care,” he put it. “You do what you love and you prepare for it because you love it….You can’t care. All the hard work is done. Everything that was important is done.”
The day to day and moment to moment grind that Sidney Outlaw puts in is remarkable. To that point, he finds it strange that more fans don’t seem as engrossed in the process and seemingly only care about the end result.
“People don’t see. They don’t care,” Outlaw exclaimed. “Like I was looking at some sparring and I’m like ‘wow, this is some crazy stuff. Why don’t people look at this?’ I see this every day. See Edson kick a hundred kicks before he has some sparring. I see Frankie shadowbox. It’s beautiful like it’s artwork and nobody don’t care. They just want to see this part and this part could last a second….They don’t care about all of the hard work.”
The lessons at ATT from guys like Jorge Masvidal extend way beyond fight technique. There are also tips on how to improve the mental game and create some true longevity in the sport. Outlaw said, “People are different. They’d rather take shortcuts. Steroids, EPO, it’s different out here now. Like I said, just trying not to get caught in the trap.”
Also, Johnny Cash and Lil Wayne are key for the workouts. A lot of songs about focusing and overcoming resonate with Outlaw as well. Tempos can drive workouts but also lyrical themes and the storytelling side give him motivation too.
Sidney Outlaw takes on Michael Chandler at Bellator 237 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The card airs live in North America on Paramount Network on December 28, 2019.