Johnny Eblen is ready to call his shot if victorious over Travis Davis at Bellator 262 on Friday, July 16.
A company man, Eblen welcomes a promotional newcomer after admittedly expecting to fight a top 10 opponent at Mohegun Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Pegged at No. 5 in Bellator’s middleweight division, Eblen intends to be more upfront with the promotion from here on out.
“I think after this fight I’m going to be a little more direct in my next fight about who I want,” Eblen said.
“It would be nice to be back into the cage before the end of the year, give them a time I want to be back, even a possible opponent, a top 10 guy or something like that.”
Eblen sees top 10 matchups in his immediate future. The unbeaten middleweight is entering the first bout of a new four-fight deal he signed with Bellator this past June.
Eblen improved to 8-0 after most recently knocking out Daniel Madrid at Bellator 258 this past May. The American Top Team product is still without a victory over a top 10 opponent.
“It’s nice to get a little pay raise, get another multi-fight deal. Now that I am ranked, I kind of see a path to the belt,” Eblen said. “I think I have a pretty good resume of guys I’ve beaten.”
The task at hand for Johnny Eblen
First thing’s first, and that’s his upcoming bout with Davis. Eblen makes his first main card appearance, kicking off the show on Showtime.
Davis is a professional boxer, although six of his 10 professional MMA victories come by submission. He most recently tapped Ryan Parker by a second-round arm-triangle choke at Ohio Combat League 11 last March.
The 34-year-old has mixed it up with the likes of former UFC fighter Dominique Steele and LFA middleweight contender Joshu Fremd. Eblen is less experienced as a professional fighter, but expects a dominant victory nonetheless.
“I just feel like I’m going to dominate him [Davis] everywhere, on the feet, on the ground and on the cage,” Eblen said. “Travis Davis will be another guy to have on my hit list.”
Finding a top 10 opponent is something Eblen wants, but he is fine with how he’s progressed under the Bellator banner. The way he sees it, the more time until a title shot, means more time to train, more time to prepare.
Ahead of him in line right now is teammate and fellow undefeated contender Austin Vanderford, who ranks second.
Eblen is looking at the long game. The contender is confident he can beat anyone in the top 10 right now, including the champion Gegard Mousasi.
He continues to try and make this case with a lop-sided victory over Davis. Eblen plans to make one statement of many to come.
“I think I can beat anyone on the roster, but I want to be able to beat anyone on the roster and not get touched,” Eblen said. “Just going to take my time, develop more, so when I get there, I’m just going to be super dominant.”
Bellator 262 takes place this Friday, July 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The card airs live on Showtime following online prelims right here on Cageside Press.