Henry 'OK' Corrales is ready, as always, to throw down at Bellator 228

Elias CepedaYahoo Sports Contributor
Henry Corrales (R) is always ready to dole out damage in the MMA ring. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Henry Corrales (R) is always ready to dole out damage in the MMA ring. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Bellator featherweight Henry Corrales (17-3) is on a five-fight win streak and emerging as a global title-contender. Still, despite his rising stock, he might always be more well known for his game attitude than his elite skills and considerable accomplishments in MMA.

“OK” told Yahoo Sports that his gameness was recognized early by his first coach, American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pioneer John De La O, who gave Corrales his misleading nickname. The moniker is not an ironic statement on his considerable abilities, but actually a statement on his willingness to get down whenever and wherever with regards to training and competing.

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“John De La O gave me the nickname. He’d joke around as a play on the OK Corral, but it was also based on what I’d say when I was asked to do something, because I was down for anything,” he explains.

“‘Henry, go another round with this guy.’ ‘OK.’ Henry, there’s a jiu-jitsu tournament this weekend, do you want to do it?’ ‘OK.’ ‘Henry, there’s an MMA fight coming up, do you want to do it?’ ‘OK.’

“I’ve always been down to do more work. It’s funny because when I started fighting I didn’t have a nickname because you don’t want to be someone who gives yourself a nickname. So, when the promoter asked me my nickname, I didn’t give them one. Then, we’re standing there as they announced my name and the announced said, ‘Henry, OK Corrales!’ (laughs) I looked behind me and John was there chuckling. He’d given me the nickname and told the promoter to use it.”

Now training in Arizona, Corrales believes he’s hit a new stage in his development and career. In his last bout he faced perhaps the most highly touted prospect in the sport over the past few years, Aaron Pico, and earned a first-round knockout victory.

Next, Corrales faces Darrion Caldwell (13-3). Caldwell is a champion but has lost his last two fights, both to pound-for-pound great Kyoji Horiguchi. Corrales is back in his native California this week to take on Caldwell at the The Forum in Inglewood on friendly turf.

The two will face-off in the Bellator Featherweight tournament, and it represents a big opportunity for both men. Corrales insists that, just as he was as a young fighter earning his reputation, he’s motivated simply because he’s got a fight in front of him.

Henry Corrales (L) defeats Aaron Pico via first-round knockout during Bellator 214 on Jan 26, 2019 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. (Getty Images)
Henry Corrales (L) defeats Aaron Pico via first-round knockout during Bellator 214 on Jan 26, 2019 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. (Getty Images)

Corrales says that he needed no extra chip on his shoulder leading up to the Pico fight as the media focused more on his opponent than him, and he similarly doesn’t care much how Caldwell might respond to having lost two consecutive fights.

“I don’t think about what my opponents are thinking, what they might be wanting to do. I just do what I’m going to do,” he says. “This is another fight, and it’s a good one. That’s all I care about. Who they are doesn’t matter much to me. If they get more attention than me, if they have a bigger name, it doesn’t affect my mindset. It doesn’t get me more motivated than I already am.

“I’m always motivated to fight. My lust for violence and blood is almost unbearable at times. I can’t wait to get back in there.”

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