Joe Warren's rapid ascent to world champion has been fun to watch. Now the question is whether he can retain his Bellator featherweight world title and eventually add UFC hardware to his mantle.
To beat the best in the world, he knows he's got to log cage time. Real cage time. Warren is angry that his latest fight went by the wayside. Warren was set to face Patricio "Pitbull" Freire at Bellator 47 next week in Canada. Freire suffered a hand injury and the fight was canceled. Now he has to wait until September for his next fight.
Warren joined ESPNRadio1100's "The MMA Insiders" to talk about his career and what could be a bright future. Now, how will he handle another two months before he has to peak?
"I train full-time man. Since I can remember, I've been in the wrestling room training," Warren said. "As young as I am in fighting, I need to be in there training hard like that. My whole concern is the layoff time between fights."
Warren would love to be fighting 5-6 times a year. He already holds Bellator's 145-pound title and will work towards adding the 135 title with a tournament starting in the fall.
"I'm new at it, so I need to be in there. I can't simulate a live fighting match like I can a live wrestling match. It doesn't go down the way you ever expect it to. I feel like the only way I'm learning is in the ring," said Warren.
Warren's sense of urgency is due to his age. He's going to be 35 later this fall. He spent his 20's and early 30's on the international wrestling scene. He's rolled up a 7-1 record since making his MMA debut in March of 2009.
Warren said he plans on making one more run at the Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. He'll compete in the U.S. Open in December, with an eye on the U.S. Olympic trials in February.
In the meantime, he'll continue training with guys like Scott Jorgensen and Kit Cope. He'll also mix in more time with Team Alpha Male and Urijah Faber. Warren is slated to face Alexis Vila at Bellator 51 in his opening fight of the bantamweight tournament.