Paul Daley made one key mistake in his barn-burner of a fight with Sabah Homasi at Belaltor 257.
“I didn’t respect his power, to be fair, coming into the fight,” Daley (43-17-2) admitted following a wildly entertaining brawl in which both men had been knocked down. “But I just said to him, there’s only one other guy I’ve ever been in there that punches as hard as that, and that’s Douglas Lima, and he’s the champ. I don’t know if I’m going to be in the sport long enough to have a rematch with Homasi, but he’s definitely championship quality.”
Daley appeared to be close to being finished in the opening round on Friday, after Homasi landed several bomb-like punches on the man known as “Semtex.” His thought process, such as it was, was that “I just knew I had to hold him. I just had to hold him for a couple of seconds.” Which was easier said than done. “I don’t know if you’re tried to hold someone when they’re punching you 100% in the head, it’s not easy.”
Between rounds, Daley’s corner told him to respect Homasi. “Give him the respect he deserves. Don’t be sloppy. I knew I was going to get hit, but I didn’t rate his power much.” Homasi definitely changed his mind on Friday. “I was wrong.”
The bout, scheduled twice before only to fall through on both occasions, went down at a 175lb catchweight. That’s a weight Daley would like to continue competing at.
“I hope so. I think tonight was an entertaining fight. I think people loved it, I felt great at the weight.” In the end, however, he expects that Bellator President Scott Coker will have the final say. “Scott’s the boss.”
After being hospitalized following a bad weight cut last October, Daley has good reason to want catchweight bouts. He had actually hinted at retirement following this latest fight, though it appears those plans are on hold for the moment. Still, Daley’s future in the sport remains a question mark. “I’ve put on so many great fights with so many great finishes and I just feel I don’t get the respect,” he stated. “I’m 38 years old, do I still want to put myself through this and not get the credit for it? That’s my attitude.”
“If people start giving me the respect, I start appearing on f*cking corn flake boxes and sh*t, doing all the interviews everybody else is doing, then I’ll stay in the game. Otherwise, I’ll take my two fights and I’ll go,” Daley continued. “But I’ve gave a lot to this sport. Entertaining fights, this is another one that people will talk about for a while. Give me my respect, I’ll stay in the game, I’ll give you a few more years. If you don’t, then I’ve gone.”
Asked whether the ability to fight at a catchweight moving forward might be a deciding factor in retiring or not, Daley actually downplayed the idea just a little. “No, because money can change that real quick,” he told Cageside Press. “You pay me more, then I’ll make the weight. Pay me more, I’ll fight 170bs, I’ll have a better camp, I’ll have better people involved. I had a new guy that helped me out with nutrition to get me down to 175lbs, and I thought he did a great job. If I give him time and the opponent’s right and everything else is right, I’m sure he could get me down to 170lbs no problem. It all depends.”
Watch the full Bellator 257 post-fight press conference with Paul Daley above.