An Interview With Cage Warriors Star Nicolas Dalby
By Sam Beresford
Nicolas Dalby will be fighting for the interim Cage Warriors welterweight title on March 9th in front of a hometown crowd in Copenhagen. It has been a long road to get here, with many challenges both in his professional and personal life which led to him taking nearly two years away from fighting. He opened up about his truly inspirational story and vows to climb back to the top.
“It depends on how you look at it. Physically in the long-term it might have been good for my body and especially head to get a break from fighting and sparring. Short-term it was hard to get back in to the shape I was before but I feel like I’m finally about to be there! Mentally there’s only been upsides to it because I feel like I’ve gained 10 years of life experience in those 18 months.”
Dalby battled with depression during this period, but he has learnt to use this for motivation and as a positive to go further and develop as a person. Despite professional help it was his own drive
“It might just have made me even more motivated and taught me yet another lesson. It was really tough when looking back at it but while I was in the middle of it, it didn’t feel that bad. In the end it just became too much and I realised that if I wanted to be the person I dreamt of I had to act. And so I did. I started to see a psychologist which definitely helped a lot! But mostly it was something I did myself. Nothing can help you if you’re not willing to put in work to get better.”
Many fighters talk about the effect of ‘ring rust’ when coming back from a period away from the sport. On his return Dalby lost a controversial split decision to Carlo Pedersoli at Cage Warriors 93.
“Absolutely that (ring rust) was a factor! Not a huge one though because Pedersoli definitely came to throw down and fight, but it did affect me. Probably mostly in the way that I was way too tense. I felt I won that fight anyway but I think being out for 18 months and going through depression played a factor.”
Since then he has recorded back-to-back victories with two impressive stoppages. He admits that it has been hard to find opponents since his stint in the UFC, especially after putting in an impressive performance against Darren Till
“Well the first win was really a must-win-must-finish fight if I wanted to further my career. All respect to Allegretti for taking the fight but I am on another level and needed to prove for myself in that fight. I hoped for a better opponent but 12 other fighters said no, either because they were injured or just full stop didn’t want to fight me once they saw I had a draw against Darren Till on my record.”
Dalby is now looking towards March 9th and his Interim welterweight title fight against the talented Alex Lohore. He is not underestimating the fight and knows it will be a challenge.
“Well he is absolutely on another level compared to the two last fights I had. He is fairly evenly skilled in all aspects of the game and especially seems to be good at landing knees and elbows in clinch-scrambles. I saw that he broke the leg of a finish guy with his low kicks as well so he is a hard kicker as well by the sound of it!”
The winner will set up a unification fight with champion Ross Houston which will be a highly anticipated bout. Dalby is confident it will be him challenging for the title and that this confidence comes from the preparation and analysis that he undertakes before every fight.
“I didn’t take this bumpy road back to a Cage Warriors title fight just to muck about. I’m coming to take his head off. I honestly think I am better in all distances! But mostly I think I’ll have a mental advantage over him. He fights very much on emotions! I have watched every single fight there is to find. I like to do my research and explore all the information there is on my opponents!”
He will be supported by a large hometown crowd at Cage Warriors 103, which will surely benefit the veteran. He was excited by the opportunity to fight in Denmark after a long stint of fighting away.
“It’s been 5 long years since I fought on home soil the last time and up until that point I had never fought abroad. It really warms my hear that I can finally fight in Denmark again. And that it is even in my home city of Copenhagen just makes it even better!”
After he has conquered the Cage Warriors welterweight division, he has set his sights back onto the UFC and to subsequently go all the way!
“My goal is to get back with the UFC and break into the top ten. With the right setup I have no doubt I can do that! After that I will try to get a title fight.”
Things did not work out during his last spell with the UFC, but he admits that being released from his contract may have been a blessing in disguise. Now in a better head space, he is sure that this time it will end differently.
“I do but to no fault other than my own. Judging by how many defeats other newcomers to UFC could have before they got cut it was the same for me. Just wish they never wait half a year to let a fighter know they were cut, in the future. That’s the only issue I had with my release. But in the big scheme of things it was healthier for me to be let go then.
It made me turn my life around faster than if I had gotten the money from fighting to extend me drinking myself silly 3-4 times a week.”
You can watch Nicolas Dalby fight for the Interim welterweight title at Cage Warriors 103, live on UFC FightPass.