UFC hopeful, DWCS 48 fighter Charlie Campbell glad long-term deal didn’t happen with Bellator

·3 min read

After a pair of wins under the Bellator banner, Charlie Campbell thought his MMA future was unfolding fairly predictably.

Campbell expected an offer of a long-term deal with the promotion, he said, not only after a 2020 finish of Nainoa Dung, but after one over Nick Giuletti less than a year later. It didn’t come.

So Tuesday, after two more knockout wins for CFFC, Campbell (6-1) has a shot at the next level when he takes on Chris Duncan (8-1) to headline Dana White’s Contender Series 48 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.

“When you’re young, you want what you want,” Campbell recently told MMA Junkie from his home gym on Long Island, where he trains with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and Ray Longo. “Then, when money becomes this evil variable, you think that you’re willing to settle for something else because you’re financially in a position where you just need something coming in on a regular basis. I’ve been struggling for so long and I’ve been spending every hour of every day for so many years now on this sport.

“… As I look back, I’m happy there wasn’t (a Bellator deal) because at the end of the day, I would’ve been selling myself short. I would’ve been settling for something that is less than what I deserve. I want to fight the best in the world. It’s no secret the UFC holds the best in the world.”

A win for Campbell on Tuesday doesn’t guarantee him a UFC contract. But an impressive finish could get him one.

Still, that’s up to the UFC president, who after the first week of Contender Series bouts gave a bit of a warning to future participants to step up their games. It doesn’t sound like Campbell has much of a problem thinking he can do that.

“I know that there’s a lot of people in my position with seven fights, maybe with a winning record,” he said. “But are they exciting to watch? Do they get people up on their feet? Do they get people in the crowd? Do they finish the fights? Do they know how to talk? Are they looking to really capitalize on the showman part of it, and do they know anything about show business? For me, it’s a little natural. … ‘The Cannibal’ comes out, and he has a lot to say, I’ve got a lot to say in the near future.”

Campbell said White will see a lightweight contender who is willing to do whatever it takes to get to his dream job in the UFC.

“Anyone who watches this fight is not going to be able to sleep that night. That’s all I can say,” Campbell said. “I have no doubt that he’s training hard, and I hope that he is because I know that the harder it becomes in that fight, it’s going to give me that opportunity to show how deep I can dig. … I’m willing to die in there trying, so get ready.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie