Paul Daley was looking forward to getting back over the States and into the cage for a proposed bout on the Sept. 20 Elite XC event planned for Albuquerque, but with the event cancelled and him already deep into his training program, Daley is still continuing his intensive regime although he isn't working towards a set goal.
"I was very disappointed the event was cancelled. As a fighter you like to have a goal, a date and an opponent in mind to bring even more focus to your training, but once that goal is removed, it can be difficult sometimes to find the motivation as you did before," explains the explosive Briton who goes by the nickname Semtex.
For those of you unaware of Daley's training, he mixes everything up bringing in key people to work on areas of his game. A consummate martial artist, he evolves between fights because he is a student of the arts. His latest training stint finds him holed up at Mike's Gym in Amsterdam, home to some of the top talent Holland has to offer, including the equally destructive Melvin Manhoef.
"Training is very hard, as always, but right now I am just going through the motions. Melvin arrives tomorrow and then the hard work really begins... Doubles... Not nice..." he explains, laughing at the times ahead.
Following the cancellation of the Sept. 20 event, Daley went public to try and secure another opponent. Who you might ask? How about a call out of current EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields through a public posting on MMA.tv?
"I hope too that we (Myself/Management and Paul) get to fight on Oct. 4. We publicly call out JAKE SHIELDS. We know as No. 5 in the world, Jake may see no point to this, but he is the champion, he must defend. The U.S. fans think it's gonna be such a walkover for Jake... Well let's see, right... Easy pay day, Jake. Lets go!" (Statement edited for clarity. Original post on MMA.tv.)
Bold words from Daley and a little out of the blue, so how did that come about?
"Three reasons. Mainly, first, I know a lot of the EliteXC fans think this is one of the only fights that makes sense, as I am one of only a few EliteXC fighters that will make for an exciting and challenging match with Jake. Second, the Sept. 20 show got cancelled so I thought I'd spit my dummy out and try and push to get on the big CBS show. Finally, I want to be champion," he explains.
Stylistically the match promises fireworks. Both are professionals. Both like to fight hard and fast. Shields is the champion though, and it is obvious that he will have a target on his back as long as he wears the strap.
"His wrestling and submissions are great, but his striking and stand up isn't quite so great," says Daley in evaluating the champion. "But he also seems to be a fighter with a point to prove, so maybe he trains really hard and tries to stand up with me, who knows?"
The question now is if the fight will get put together or not. With no marquee match-ups yet announced for the third edition of CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights on Oct. 4, it would make sense for EliteXC to want to put a champion on the card.
With company vice president Jared Shaw recently commenting about the difficulty EliteXC has had in booking a rematch between 160-pound champion K.J. Noons and No. 1 contender Nick Diaz, Shields would be a logical option as he was in the works for the Sept. 20 event anyway. If Shields does end up defending on Oct. 4, as a challenger, Daley brings a style and charisma that wears well with viewers.
"I hope he takes the fight. He's the champion, he must fight all challengers," states Daley, throwing the gauntlet in Shields' corner.
For now it appears that to make this fight happen, EliteXC and Jake Shields need to come to the table. It is the fight that the reigning Cage Rage world welterweight champion wants. He has relinquished three other titles on his home soil in order to pursue his dreams of becoming the EliteXC No. 1.
ProElite have provisionally talked about his appearance on the CBS show, but he is currently unmatched, and for his own part, Daley knows that he will be fighting soon, even if it isn't the fight he is aiming at.
"I will fight very soon. If ProElite gives me permission, I have offers from other great international promotions... So let's see..."