A few words with… Daley, Kong, and Manuwa

By Roy Billington

Paul Daley discusses the Nick Diaz stoppage, changing gyms, and training with Johnny Hendricks. Tom Watson discusses Alex Reid, BAMMA, and training with GSP. Jimi Manuwa discusses Kyle Kingsbury and turning down the UFC’s original offer.

I met with the controversial yet extremely talented Paul Daley at his gym in Nottingham.

I asked him if he thought the stoppage in the Nick Diaz bout was wrong, and he replied, “Yeah, paid ref man. I don’t know, it’s an American ref in America. If that was Marc Goddard in Nottingham, that fight wouldn’t have been stopped.”

On the status of the Rough House MMA gym, he answered, “Well, as you can see from my poster, it says ‘Spirit Dojo.’ My old one says Rough House. I moved to my own gym — it only makes sense — Dan (Hardy)’s gone to Las Vegas, and Ross (Pearson) is in California.”

He also discussed helping out Johnny Hendricks for his fight with Martin Kampmann at UFC 154:

“I’m going out to train with him on the 6th of October once I’m fit, because we both have fights in November.”

Listen to the complete interview below.

I also caught up with former BAMMA champion and arguably Britain’s number two middleweight, Tom Watson. He was quite outspoken on a range of subjects, including his fight with Alex Reid, and his frustration at BAMMA.

When I asked Tom Watson about his fight against British reality TV star Alex Reid, he said, “The Alex Reid fight was obviously great for publicity, but there was a lot of things in the lead up to that fight. I fought two weeks before it in Canada. You know fighting in Canada eight hours before in a different time zone. The main thing I took out of that fight was learning to deal with the media pressure. It’ll be be similar to the UFC.”

I discussed with Tom the troubles with fighting for BAMMA, he told me, “There was some problems with BAMMA, I believe, but they did try to put in some fights, The problem with most shows now is the UFC has got to that level now that unless you’re in the UFC it’s difficult to get a meaningful fight.”

Tom told me he will be training with Georges St. Pierre for his upcoming fight with Carlos Condit. I asked him if he felt like he was betraying Jackson’s MMA by doing this, and he said, “Umm, not really. Well, I’ve been with Jackson’s for five years, and Carlos has only been there for a few years. Although I’m good friends with him, I’ve done a lot more work with Georges, and this is the fight game; I would fight friends.”

Listen to the complete interview below.

Jimi Manuwa has been a UK fan favourite for quite a while, and is widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the light heavyweight division. I caught up with Jimi, and we talked about all things UFC.

I asked Jimi if he believed his opponent Kyle Kingsbury’s recent motorcycle accident could have affected his preparation for this bout. Jimi replied, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. He’s recently fought and is a good athlete, and I don’t think he would have fought if he was hurt.”

I queried Jimi about the long delays between his recent fights, and he replied positively about the situation, saying that, “It helped me. I got more experience in training, and grew as a fighter.”

When I asked Jimi why he turned down the UFC’s offers prior to the UFC 138 card, he told me, “I was coming off an injury. I hadn’t fought for 16 months, and I decided not to because I needed more experience.”

Listen to the complete interview below.

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