An Interview with former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary
Liam McGeary the former Bellator light heavyweight champion went into his last fight with Muhammed Lawal last December with his MMA career on the line. From being 11-0 and coming off a winning title defence against MMA legend Tito Ortiz, McGeary was at that point riding a two-fight losing streak.
I asked McGeary if it had crossed his mind during his fight with King Mo that if he lost would that be the end of his career.
“I thought about it at the beginning of camp, I knew what was riding on this. But I put it to the back of my head and worked my ass off. The end of the camp I knew what was riding on this performance so I knew what I had to do but I was so well prepared I didn’t need to think about it. Just think I about what I was going to do. And that’s exactly what I did do. At no point in that fight was I ever doubting what I had done in preparation.”
After winning the fight and almost certainly saving his career, I asked how long was it before McGeary returned to training.
“Ha, I thought I took 30 days but come 1st January I was back training again. The fight was the 15th December! Apparently I was trying to get back in earlier than the 1st to but my wife wouldn’t let me.”
McGeary will return on April 27th at Bellator 220 to face a previous opponent. Phil Davis took away McGeary’s unbeaten record and his light heavyweight title when they first met in 2016, I asked McGeary if revenge was very much on his mind in the rematch.
“Yes revenge drove me through this camp and still fuels my fire. The fuc..r left a mark on my face and took my belt. I’ve had 2.5 years of thinking about this fight, so trust me, there’s a lot of revenge on my mind.”
I wanted to know what specifically he felt went wrong in the first fight. I got the impression watching the fight at the time that he was quite happy being on his back at times, obviously hoping to catch Davis with a submission.
“I don’t even remember what happened in the first one. I definitely know I wasn’t happy being down there Haha more bored out my mind because he wasn’t doing anything. He knew if he went for anything I was getting out, so he shut down anything that I tried and just held me down. Which he was very good at. That’s his game. What went wrong was his bloody takedowns and my then lack of a wrestling game. I was a jitsu player/striker back then. Cant just hope for a submission in this game now, everyone is just too good up at this level.”
I feel now that McGeary is a far more rounded fighter now, both mentally and his skills inside the cage. I wanted to know if he felt the same.
“No, I completely agree with you, I fixed the massive hole that was in my game and I am just getting better and better with each session and each fight. I’ve matured a lot within the sport now.”
I asked McGeary what specific challenges/threats Davis poses for him.
“He always poses a threat with his wrestling. He was Penn state national champion.
“These dudes are good!!! But this is MMA and I got to be ready for any threat that he could come at me with.
“To go into war, you have to be well prepared my friend.
“Why pick a fight if you thought there was any chance you could lose.
“I am very focused on what I have to do. And that is to win in a devastating way. I’ll make up for the first sh.t show.
“I’m not coming off a 1.5 year layoff this time.
“He gets to meet the real me this time.”
Finally I wanted to know what McGeary does to relax outside of his training.
“Outside of camp, man I’m on daddy duties Haha whatever the wife and kids want they get it. Good job they very active kids too so we don’t sit around, we will get out and explore and do all sorts of fun sh.t with them. We all hate it, well me and the kids when we have to do all the grown up chores, I get to take them to the park or something while Lia goes about that stuff hahah
“Big massive shout out to my wife and all the mums out there. Fighters wives/mums will know where I’m coming from. They do a great job while we go off to camp. If it wasn’t for her then this camp wouldn’t be half as good it is!!!
“On April 27th you will see a different beast in there!!!
Liam McGeary (13-3) faces Phil Davis (19-5 1NC) this Saturday at Bellator 220.