PAUL DALEY put off retirement from mixed martial arts because he still believes he’s one of the best welterweights in the world.
The 62-fight veteran entertained the prospect of hanging up his gloves before his Bellator 257 clash with Sabah Homasi last month.
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MMA veteran Paul Daley still feels at the peak of his powers at the age of 38[/caption]
And the UK MMA pioneer feels like he’s head and shoulders above the majority of the fighter’s in Bellator’s welteweight division[/caption]
But bringing down the curtain on his legendary career couldn’t be any further from Daley’s mind following his second-round TKO of the American Top Team welterweight.
Semtex told SunSport: “As well as the martial arts aspect, there is what I the George Foreman aspect. George Formean came out of retirement and won the heavyweight champion at 40-plus.
“I just feel like I am better than this new generation of fighters.
“I’m watching them and I’m like, ‘I don’t have to retire. I can beat these guys.’ Even at the age of 38, I’m just better than they are.
“I’m just better than the current crop of fighters that Bellator has in their welterweight division. And that is something encouraging.
“I can just beat all these guys. The only person of real danger in that mix being Douglas Lima. I think the champion is the most dangerous guy in the division, as he should be.
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“But the rest of them, I’m just better than all of them. And that’s what keeps me going.”
Although he believes he can compete with the creme of the crop in Bellator‘s 170lb division, Daley – one of the pioneers of UK mixed martial arts – is by no means eyeing a title fight.
The former UFC star said: “I just want to keep beating this young guys and whatever will come after that will come after that.
“I’m not screaming for a title shot, I’m not screaming no names. I just think that I’m better than the guys there at the moment. And that is simply it.”
‘That, with the fact that I want to improve as a martial artist, that’s what keeps me going. I’m better than they are.”
Retirement may be on the backburner for now, but Daley, 38, admits he’d love to close out his career with a fight on British soil.
The Nottingham native said: “Ideally, that would be the dream come true.
“The SSE Arena in Wembley is a great venue. I like the surrounding venue, the hotel all the shops and the atmosphere.
Paul Daley would love to have one more fight on UK soil before hanging up his gloves[/caption]
“If you get daylight like the days we’ve been having when the sun’s put, it’s hard to beat. It would be nice to have a final fight in the UK before all is said and done.
“But at the moment, we’ve just got to beat up Jason Jackson.”
Before Daley can think about a UK swansong, he must first get through his Bellator 260 clash with the in-form Jackson – whom he’ll face in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Sanford MMA‘s Jackson is currently riding an impressive four-fight win streak, in which he’s racked up victories over the likes of Neiman Gracie and Benson Henderson.
Daley, however, has been far from impressed by what he’s seen of the Henri Hooft disciple.
He said of the 30-year-old: “He’s winning fights, I guess, but he’s not impressed me as such. He’s got better and he’s winning fights, but he’s just not a fighter that I fear as such.
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“With each fight, there’s a little danger element to some opponents. And I don’t really get that from him. He’s capable of winning, but I just don’t get the danger element from him.
“I just don’t think that he’s of my calibre. If you put a washed-up Ben Henderson in there with me, even though we’re of similar ages and he’s a big 155er – he’s not a 170 fighter, I smash him. I put him away.
“I don’t go to a decision, I finish Ben Henderson. It’s things like that, that I see with Jason Jackson, that makes me think that he offers very little for me.
“He’s lacking that killer instinct and that ferocity to beat me in any aspect of the game.”
Despite believing Jackson offers ‘very little’, Daley is expecting a thrilling scrap with the Jamaican.
He said: “I see it being a hell of an entertaining fight and I see me knocking him out within two rounds.”
Watch Bellator 260: Lima vs. Amosov live on BBC iPlayer from 10:30pm BST on Friday, June 11