Since losing a decision to Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren in 2012, Douglas Lima has won four straight fights via KO or TKO and has earned another crack at the title. He'll get it tonight in Council Bluffs, Iowa in the main event of Bellator 117.
Lima will get another shot at Bellator gold tonight but won't get a chance at revenge with Askren. Though Askren never lost his belt, he was released by the promotion and allowed to walk away.
Now, the belt is vacant and Lima will take on Rick Hawn, who is also on a red-hot four win fight streak. The Brazilian admits that he hoped to be able to face Askren for the belt.
"It is a little bit of a let down, yeah," he tells Cagewriter.
"Anytime you have a loss like that you want to try and get even."
That said, Lima is focused on things he can control - namely being ready for Hawn, a former Olympic Judo competitor with nasty strikes on the feet.
"But, you know what, being a champion is what is important to me," Lima goes on.
"I want that belt and it doesn’t matter who I have to beat to get it."
Although Askren was virtually flawless during his Bellator run, Lima may face a more diverse set of dangers from Hawn. "He’s good everywhere," Lima says of his Judoka opponent.
"Obviously, he’s got great Judo, but he also likes to strike on the feet. He’s a good, well-rounded fighter for sure."
Lima, however, believes that he himself is even more well-rounded than Hawn.
"I’m confident, man," he concludes.
"I just think that I put everything together really well. If we stay on the feet, I believe in my striking. If he takes me down, I think my Jiu Jitsu will be able to handle him. I can’t wait for the fight to prove it."