Bellator 272’s Spike Carlyle: Heart Set on Japan, But Can See Bellator Being New Home

Bellator 272 saw Spike Carlyle return to the big stage, and pull off what may wind up being in the running for Comeback of the Year.

Carlyle (13-3) was down through the first two rounds against fellow UFC alum Dan Moret. And you’d be forgiven for thinking he was out. “The Alpha Ginger,” who took the fight on less than ten days notice, had been lit up, battered, nearly submitted — but somehow found it in him to choke out Moret in the third.

Following the event, Carlyle revealed to media outlets including Cageside Press that the appearance had been a one-off deal, but he was open to more.

“This was a one-off fight for me, so we’ll see what the future holds. My heart has always been set for Japan, for RIZIN,” Carlyle admitted. “I know [Kyoji] Horiguchi’s fighting [Sergio] Pettis, so it would be an amazing thing to win a belt in Japan and come over to Bellator and compete for the world title here as well.”

Of course, Bellator has a good working relationship with RIZIN, so it’s possible that Carlyle could compete for both at some point. And Bellator has always been open to letting fighters be themselves — Carlyle walked out Friday dressed as a crusade knight for his 160lb catchweight fight — something his old home in the UFC forbade.

In that sense, Bellator seems like a good fit, a notion with which Carlyle agreed. “As you can see I’m a character. I like to come out as a different character every time. This atmosphere at Bellator this whole week has been phenomenal, and I can definitely see my new home being here.”

The UFC releasing him was also a bit of extra motivation on Friday. Since parting ways with the company, Carlyle is 4-0, but his win Friday was unquestionably his biggest thus far. “Yeah, I mean, prove everyone wrong, you know?” he replied when asked about showing the UFC that they’d made the wrong decision in cutting him. “I can’t let any naysayers or or other people or influences that don’t believe in me put me in the wrong direction.”

Watch the full Bellator 272 post-fight press conference with Spike Carlyle above. More coverage from the event can be found below.