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Thursday, May 23, 2024

‘We have been our personal factor’

Brennan Ward is now not a Bellator-branded fighter.

For the primary time in over a decade, Ward (17-7) is actively competing, however not underneath the Bellator banner. A staple of the promotion, Ward debuted at Bellator 81 in 2012. He competed 19 instances for the promotion over the 12 years, although 5 he was inactive as he quickly retired to battle drug habit.

Coming off a loss to Logan Storley in August, Ward was wanting to combat once more as quickly as accidents healed. When it got here time to step again within the cage, nevertheless, issues have been a bit murky. Bellator was bought by PFL. With fighters unfold throughout the 2 manufacturers, Ward wasn’t certain the place – if anyplace – he was going to slot in.

“I used to be getting antsy, dude,” Ward not too long ago advised MMA Junkie. “I used to be working. I used to be half-working, half-training, ready for one thing to come back up. I advised my supervisor. He was like, ‘Give me till Friday. Give me till Friday,’ like three or 4 weeks in a row. Then, I used to be like f*ck it, dude. I had to return to work. I used to be again in work for some time, then I bought the decision.

“We didn’t actually know what the f*ck was happening. I stated, ‘Simply ask for a launch then. See if we will get out of this complete factor and go to ONE or go to the UFC or simply get the f*ck out of there.’ They have been like, ‘Nicely, do you need to go within the match?’ I used to be like, ‘When’s the match?’ He was like, ‘It’s in a month.’ I used to be like, ‘Good. Let’s go.’ F*cking excellent.”

Ward was supplied a gap within the 2024 PFL welterweight season, which begins Friday when he battles former UFC fighter Don Madge (10-4-1) at Wintrust Enviornment in Chicago.

Midway via his first onsite combat week underneath the brand new regime, Ward expressed the strangeness of latest faces, routines, and protocols, in addition to the nostalgia in regards to the outdated ones. Probably the most interesting tweak, Ward sees, is definitely the potential prize pot on the finish of the playoff rainbow.

“That ($1 million prize) is an effective one, man,” Ward stated. “Hopefully that finally ends up attracting extra dudes to the PFL. If I find yourself staying right here with the PFL, as a result of it’s robust … I’ve bought to nearly say it … it’s robust with this league. At the very least Bellator had some swag. Bellator knew we have been by no means going to be the UFC, so we by no means tried to be the UFC. We have been our personal factor. It’s just like the X-Video games and the Dew Tour. No one goes to ever be the X-Video games, however the Dew Tour is f*cking swag, bro. Bellator had its swag. We didn’t need to put on uniforms. We bought to be people. It was a mom-and-pop-type firm. It was f*cking sick. Now, with the PFL, I really feel like they’re attempting so laborious to be just like the UFC.

“However now they’re providing this huge bonus. So hopefully some extra dudes with some swag come over right here. So if I do keep right here, I can develop and get some clout and get some recognition. As a result of there’s some good fighters and it sucks no one is aware of in regards to the PFL. I took plenty of delight in Bellator as a result of all people knew Bellator. Everybody knew Bellator was its personal factor. It was by no means going to be the UFC. However we had some swag over with Bellator. We had some swaggy fighters. It was legit. … It’s bizarre. I simply had it so good at Bellator. That was house. That was f*cking house. Now with PFL, it’s all new individuals.”

With a purpose to money the largest checks potential, Ward will attempt to max out his common season factors – one thing he thinks will come pure because of his combating fashion and willingness to gun for finishes.

Madge is his first take a look at, however Ward has his eyes on everybody from Shamil Musaev (whom he stated he engaged with in a verbal altercation this week), to outdated Bellator friends Neiman Gracie and Andrey Koreshkov, to Storley, the person who most not too long ago defeated him.

“I’m going to go in and do what you do. You’re rewarded for finishes on this match. In the event you get them out of there fast, you get six factors. Second spherical is 5 factors. So I’m going to rack up some bonus factors. … I feel the highest dudes within the match are the Bellator dudes. … There’s no one within the match who I’m like, ‘Oh, f*ck, I don’t need to combat this man.’ I do know I’m succesful, if I present up, of beating anyone on this match – and ending anyone on this f*cking match.”

The 2024 PFL welterweight expertise pool seems at face-value to be stylistically grapple-heavy. Whereas he’s recognized for his banger bouts, Ward has a wrestling background. Pair that with being fully wholesome for the primary time in over a yr, Ward thinks the remainder of the division is in for a impolite awakening.

“For a match, I’ll take a bunch of dudes who need to go to the bottom,” Ward stated. “My wrestling is nice, bro. Logan took me down. F*ck, no matter. However I stuffed a few his takedowns, man. Not till the second spherical did he take me down and was capable of end me off. I hope we get to run that again so f*cking unhealthy, now that I’m wholesome. After I fought Sabah (Homasi), I had simply bought executed with a groin tear. I used to be barely capable of do any operating for that combat or any actually loopy sparring for that. For Logan, my elbow was f*cked up and I tore my bicep.

“I’m one hundred pc proper now, dude. All my accidents are healed. So if these dudes need to attempt to take me down and go to the bottom, I’m stuffing your sh*t. I’m bombing you out. I’m in a great place to actually f*ck some individuals up proper now.”

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for 2024 PFL 3.

Be sure you go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of combined martial arts.

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