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Bellator 170's Paul Daley says only nice things about Brennan Ward, but still plans to KO him

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LOS ANGELES – Opponents don’t always need to be enemies in MMA. That’s no more evident than in Saturday’s Bellator 170 co-main event showdown between Paul Daley and Brennan Ward.

The two welterweights, who will fight on the Spike-televised main card at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., following prelims on MMAjunkie, share a strong mutual admiration for one another.

Daley (38-14-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) said his respect for Ward (14-4 MMA, 9-4 BMMA) not only stems from their like fighting styles of trying to brutally knock out every opponent, but also their like personalities.

“He’s a very animated guy, a cool guy, and we have very similar personalities,” Daley told MMAjunkie. “When our paths cross, it’s always been a high five. At the last fight, I was actually seated with his crew.”

Ward has said he and Daley are “incapable”of putting on a boring fight. With a combined 43 stoppage victories in 52 total career wins, that statement seems on point. Both men will look to add another knockout to their records at Bellator 170, but Daley said that’s just business – not personal.

“For the same reason I like him is the same reason we’re going to put on a fantastic fight,” Daley said. “We are both characters who like to get the finish. We’re come-forward fighters. We don’t shy away from a fight. You won’t see us dancing around in circles in the cage. We’ll come and try to implement our game plan and get the finish.”

The bout with Ward will be Daley’s first fight since he fell short to Douglas Lima in a No. 1 contenders match for the Bellator welterweight title at Bellator 158 in July. “Semtex” was supposed to face Derek Anderson at Bellator 163 in November, but was was removed from the bout on fight day when he was struck by illness stemming from a bad weight cut.

Although Daley claims he could have competed against Anderson with a confidence he would win, he praised Bellator and the Connecticut Boxing Commission for prioritizing the safety of the athlete and looking out for his best interests.

“I could have fought,” Daley said. “I woke up and in my mind, we were prepared to fight. It would have been a good fight and I would have won the fight by knockout, but I know where the commission is coming from and they have to look after my safety.

“Last time didn’t go out perfectly as planned. We made the weight, but then the body sort of reacted unexpectedly. (I) wasn’t able to make the fight, but this time we’re not cutting as much weight, preparations have gone well and everything has gone really good.”

Daley’s ideal situation would be to finish Ward by knockout and turn around for another big fight as soon as possible. Daley’s only defeat under the Bellator banner came against Lima, who now holds the organization’s 170-pound title. The Brit would like nothing more than to earn his way to a rematch, but said his priority is winning the gold no matter who possesses it.

“(My goal for 2017 is) just to keep winning and take the marquee names – create a clear path toward the belt and a rematch with Douglas Lima or whoever has the belt at the time,” Daley said. “That, for me, is my main focus. And just to keep enjoying the sport and enjoy the ride that I’m on.”

For more on Bellator 170, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.



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