Few gave the +1500 underdog Christian Echols a chance against Pat Downey at Bellator 289 on Friday.
Being kind about, Echols (3-2) was brought in to lose. He was a setup fight for Downey, a decorated wrestler who had won his Bellator debut earlier this year.
Apparently, Echols did not get the memo. He lit Downey up after surviving a tight choke attempt on the ground. After a knockdown, a final uppercut dropped Downey for good, just about halfway into the opening round of their middleweight fight.
If you were paying close attention, however, you may not have been so surprised. Echols believes he’s better than his record shows at first glance.
“This is the thing with my career. I started out 0-2. I fought Tresean Gore, and I fought Derik Overstreet. Both big 85’ers. While I was training four hours a week, with my dad, at the house,” Echols recalled, speaking back stage at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT following the fight. “I did good as an amateur because I’m tough. I’ve just always been a fighter. My dad was a fighter and everything. So amateur career, I did okay.”
Then, Echols turned pro. A little too soon. “I had this promoter like ‘hey man, go pro and I’ll pay you.’ Of course I’m 18, 19 years old, I was 19 I was like ‘yeah dude I’ll go pro, pay me.'”
That led to the two aforementioned losses. A rough start, to be sure. “Everybody looks at my record and they’re like ‘oh he’s 2-2,’ well 3-2 now. I was 2-2, so everybody looked at me as a scrub.” What those people were missing, said Echols, is that after he turned his life around and “stopped doing the stupid things I was doing and found God,” he switched from four hours a week in training, to six hours a day dedicated to fighting.
“I’m training all the time. My last two fights, I have a total of 55 seconds. In total, through both fights. And nobody sees that. They look at 2-2, they’re like ‘ah we’ll get this scrub in here, he’ll fight Pat Downey, Pat Downey will whup his butt. Go on with the day.'”
“That’s not the case. I’m here to show everybody, I’m not to be played with.”
Watch the full Bellator 282 post-fight media appearance by Christian Echols above.