Paul Daley is set to ride off into the sunset this Friday at Bellator 281, competing for the final time in MMA at home in London, England.
“Semtex” has long been one of the most explosive fighters in mixed martial arts, and a fan favorite as a result. But in spite of the anticipation from fans, Daley (43-18-2) is treating this one like any other fight.
“In all honesty, it’s just a lead-up to another fight, but I’m aware that on the night it’s going to be emotional,” Daley said during the Bellator 281 media day on Wednesday, later revealing that he intends to remove himself from the sport entirely. That, despite previously having served as an analyst for Bellator MMA.
“When I retire, I don’t want to be a guy that’s around the sport because I think those are the guys that have the temptation to get back involved. And those are the guys that come back and don’t do so well,” Daley explained. “When I remove myself from the sport, I want to be completely removed.”
“If you see me sat behind a desk talking, then it’s extremely lucrative,” he added. “Otherwise, I’m just going to sit at home and take my dog for walks and stuff like that.”
Speaking of lucrative, Daley recently let slip that he’d been offered a boxing match with Dan Hardy, only to turn it down due to their previous history. Hardy will now face off with Diego Sanchez, but it could have been “Semtex” opposite him in the ring.
“Who was filming me? I wasn’t supposed to mention that. But yeah, I had an offer to fight Dan, I’m not even sure if Dan knows but I have e-mail proof and text proof that I was offered a very lucrative opportunity to fight a former teammate,” revealed Daley. “But I said this in interviews before as well that I wouldn’t do that, because although Dan and I are not as close as we were at this stage, when we started out in the sport, we kind of grew together to a certain stage. And it’s like, even though you grow apart, you kind of still have that bond.”
Daley likened the relationship to going to elementary school with someone. “You might not see them for a few years, but you still have that bond from early on. So I wouldn’t want to fight him, but yeah, chuck me some more names, and some more money, and have it not so serious, and there’s an opportunity that I might compete outside of MMA. But realistically, I don’t see the money or the type of names that I want to fight being thrown my way. So yeah, this will be my last fight.”
Daley also let reporters know that he’d reached out to former UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley about a potential boxing match-up, following his most recent bout against Jake Paul.
“I messaged Tyron directly after he got knocked out by Jake Paul, and he declined to take the fight saying that he wanted to get a rematch with Jake Paul. I don’t think he’s going to get that, but yeah I messaged him directly and he responded, he doesn’t want the fight.”
Watch the full Belltor 281 media day appearance from Paul Daley above. Daley faces Wendell Giacomo this Friday, May 13, 2022 as part of Bellator 281 at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England.