Kiefer Crosbie spoke to Pundit Arena ahead of his return to the cage as he takes on Hugo Pereira on the Bellator Dublin main-card this weekend.
From an official standpoint, Crosbie is 2-1 as a Bellator since making his promotional debut last December but let’s be real – the man is still practically an unbeaten fighter.
Entering his last outing against Mike Jackson with a perfect 6-0 record, the stage seemed to be set for the highly-touted welterweight to continue his streak with another dominant victory.
All was going according to plan and upon hurting his opponent on the feet, the finish seemed to be something of an inevitability as the Irishman moved in for the kill.
Unfortunately, as he was edging further towards the final blow, an illegal knee to the downed Jackson caused the referee to call the fight there and then, declaring it a DQ – handing BDK the first loss of his professional career.
Speaking to Pundit Arena during the official Bellator Dublin media-day, Kiefer deflected attention from his last outing – satisfied in his own mind that he was the better fighter of the two on the night, something that has filled him with confidence ahead of this next contest.
“It’s in the past. It is a win. He was knocked out, I was fresh.
“Of course [I’m happy], I’ve beaten everyone I’ve faced, what’s not to be happy about? I’m in a good position.
“Training is going great, I don’t really do camps, I just train. The training is going phenomenal, as always.
Originally scheduled to take on Lawrence Fitzpatrick on Sky Sports portion of Friday night’s broadcast – a late pull-out left BDK without an opponent with the clock ticking.
Thankfully, after another hiccup that saw Fitzpatrick’s replacement also withdraw, the Portuguese welterweight Hugo Pereira filled the spot and now, barring any freak accidents, the fan-favourite Crosbie will make the walk once the event gets underway.
“It doesn’t change a thing. Sure, when I got the text saying he has pulled, I was a bit pissed off. Within 24 hours they had replaced him, though, and funnily enough, the next guy pulled out as well.
“Again, I had a replacement within 24 hours, so fair play to Bellator for sorting that. It can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes if they don’t get a replacement – but they always seem to find one so fair play to them.
“It makes no difference in my mind to my strategy or gameplan. It’s all the same to me.
“I don’t know him. He’s a stranger. I’ll rate him after the fight.”
His display against Daniel Olejniczak in February showed Kiefer at his very best – a clinical and, in some ways, a patient performance that saw him pick his shots before eventually securing the back and the finish.
Knowing the pace that Crosbie often fights at, it says a lot that a first-round victory can still be referred to as ‘patient’ but all things considered, it was a very sharp version of BDK that entertained the Irish crowd that night.
Citing the hometown support as a real motivator, he went on to explain how the buzz provided by his country’s fans can provide a real kick once the cage doors close.
“We have the best fans in the world and I’m not just saying that cause I’m Irish. I can’t wait to feel that energy again on Friday and fight in front of my people.
“It’s hard to lose in front of those people. They give you a different sort of energy when you go in there so I can’t wait to experience it again.”
There’s no doubt that Kiefer Crosbie is one of our finest rising stars.
Powerful, technical, and physically impressive, only time will tell just how far he can go in this game. According to the man himself, though, while titles are an inevitability in his future, he is in absolutely no rush to force his way into title contention.
“We’ll see what happens but I’m working down to 155lbs. So that’s my real goal at the minute – get down to lightweight safely, fight intelligently, deal with whatever Bellator put in front of me, have clinical performances, put people away and then take it from there.
“Belts will come when they come. I’m not rushing anything here. I’m not in a rush to get a belt. I’m only 29. 29-years-young. I’m very active.
“People are rushing in there to get titles, panicking. I’m not panicking. I’m just getting better with every fight. So when the time comes to fight the champion, I’m going to be far better than I am today.
“There’s no point in rushing into it. It’ll come when it comes.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena