On paper, Yannick Bahati is the toughest challenge of Luke Trainer’s career to date. That, however, is exactly what the undefeated light heavyweight prospect is looking for.
“I want to be tested, I want nothing but smoke, and that’s what I’m getting with Bellator,” Trainer said during Wednesday’s Bellator 267 media day. The pair face off on the main card of the upcoming event, where Trainer will be in the spotlight once again.
Trainer (4-0) is expecting “a scrap” in London on Friday, he told Cageside Press. “It’s gonna be a scrap. Like you said, Yannick is a more experienced opponent. The outcome I don’t believe will change. It’s going to be a war, I’m ready for a war, I worked very hard for this fight. I believe I’m going to finish Yannick within 15 minutes, but I’m looking forward to a scrap.”
While Trainer is only 4-0 as a professional, a 10-fight amateur career has him prepared to take on some of the best light heavyweights in the world. “I had 10 fights, which in the UK, that’s quite rare to do,” Trainer noted. He had been aiming for more, mind you. “I had 10 fights and 25 pull-outs. The goal was to have 20 fights and then go pro, I wanted to be one of the most experienced light heavyweights, one of the most experienced UK MMA fighters going through the amateur rosters, but big guys are few and far between, and there’s a lot of wet-wipes in the UK who tend to pull out last minute. So my amateur career, I’m very blessed to be able to have 10 fights. It’s not as experienced as I would have liked to have been, but it served me well.”
One unexpected twist in the build-up to Trainer’s return was to see him rather fired up about his time on the sidelines. “The Gent” is generally quite the gentleman, but he was put off after spending a full year on the shelf despite being ready to fight. He’d even offered to step into the light heavyweight grand prix as an alternate, but the promotion didn’t call.
“I was furious, sir. I wasn’t angry, I was fuming,” he said of his mood while stuck waiting for a fight. During the pandemic, he’d painted what he admits might have been a false pretense in his head, thinking “‘right, they’ve built me up to be this prospect, I’ve worked so hard to gain a contract, yeah there’s no fights in the UK but there are fights in the States, and there’s European guys going out to the States, I’ll be going out to the States.’ When they didn’t send me out and I had to wait another 12 months, I had such a chip on my shoulder about it.”
Neither Trainer nor his manager know why Bellator chose to let him sit, “but they gave me the opportunity now, and I’m very grateful for that. And I’m taking that chip on the shoulder as more fuel for the fire.”
That having been said, Trainer was clear he has “nothing but love for Bellator. I’m so grateful that they’ve given me this opportunity and I pray after my contract is done after this we can work it out and I re-sign, and I’ll continue to build a legacy with Bellator.”
Watch the full Bellator 267 virtual media day press scrum with Luke Trainer above. More coverage of the event can be found below. Bellator 267 takes place Friday, October 1 live at the SSE Arena, Wembly, United Kingdom.