Blaine O’Driscoll spoke to us here at Pundit Arena MMA ahead of his WWFC flyweight title showdown in Kiev, Ukraine this weekend.
After O’Driscoll had earned a shot at the Cage Warriors flyweight title last year, the reigning champion Nathan Greyson confirmed that he was unable to make weight for the bout just days before the fight’s date – which was scheduled to take place at CW99 on November 17 in Colchester, England.
Speaking on an episode of MMAFighting‘s Eurobash podcast shortly after, Greyson admitted he decided that making the championship limit of 125lbs wasn’t worth it anymore due to the uncertainty that surrounds the UFC flyweight division.
“I’m a prizefighter now, so the incentive really isn’t there for the weight cut for this fight.
“It’s gone a bit weird, the incentive, because the UFC’s flyweight division doesn’t seem like it’s going to be there anymore.
“It’s a bit fucked up.”
The reaction from those close to Blaine and beyond was one of sheer disbelief in what was happening, with many branding Greyson’s actions as unprofessional.
Thankfully, Blaine has signed to fight in another world-title fight – travelling to Kiev, Ukraine this weekend to take on WWFC flyweight champion Teimur Rahimov for the promotional 125lb belt.
Speaking to us here at Pundit Arena, he admitted that Greyson’s unprofessionalism still plays on his mind and if the opportunity were to present itself, he would be more than happy to take a fight with him at 135lbs.
“Of course I’m still a bit pissed about it. It was f**king crap. I was ready, my mind was set on the fight. And that’s the hard part. The whole build-up, the dieting, setting your mind on winning. Fighting is the easy part, the fun part. So I had done all the hard work and then it was all taken away.
“If he [Greyson] wants to move up to bantamweight, I’m up for that. I’ll fight him in Bellator at bantamweight if he wants. I know there are a few European Bellator cards coming up. I’d move up to bantamweight to fight him and then move back down. I’ve fought at bantamweight loads before.
“I’d move up to fight him any day!”
The one silver-lining to be found in Greyson’s withdrawal, according to O’Driscoll, was that he was at least able to put in some solid work during in the lead-up – momentum he was able to ride into 2019 and the showdown he finds himself in this Saturday.
“I had that other fight-camp that was basically for a five-round fight, so I was going 5×5 hard-spars for that and then I rolled straight into this fight-camp. I already had a good base put in.
“From there, because I wasn’t sure about the UFC letting that flyweight division go – and they still don’t know what’s going on with that, and Cage Warriors wanted me to sign a contract before I fight – I was like ‘I’m not doing that, there’s no option to go to the UFC’.
“[WWFC] actually asked me in December, about a week before the [proposed] fight. I just wasn’t in the humour, it was right before Christmas, I couldn’t get the time off work and I didn’t have anyone sorted that I knew could 100% go with me.
“Eight or nine weeks ago they asked John [Kavanagh] and I said I’d definitely hop on it this time. The show looks pretty cool, they have their own fight-kits and everything and the arena is massive.
“The purse is great and the hotel they’re going to have us staying in looks deadly and they’re going to let us stay for a few days after the fight.”
Speaking to Blaine, it did seem as though he dealt with the Cage Warriors 99 debacle admirably and now, it looks like he is setting up to establish himself on the global scene in 2019.
With all of the uncertainly surrounding the flyweight picture in the UFC, O’Driscoll cited blossoming Asian promotion ONE Championship as a platform he would be interested in upon stealing away Rahimov’s belt on Saturday night.
“The guy I’m fighting, I was looking him up. He’s ranked eighth in China, so that’ll put me on the radar over there because I then want to aim to maybe get to ONE Championship.
“I’d love to get over there and hop on that card. You can kick people in the head on the ground and all!
“I wouldn’t even have to cut weight for that – all the flyweights are 135lbs now, there’s just a hydration test. That’d be deadly!”
‘Demetrious Johnson vs. Blaine O’Driscoll’ at some point in the next few years?
We’d certainly be down for that!
On the subject of his opponent Rahimov and the challenges he will present to him, Blaine expressed his confidence in his ability to dictate the flow of the fight no matter where it goes.
From speaking to him in the past, it’s evident that he has a healthy attitude towards these early fights in his career – having cited the experience garnered as something of an ‘apprenticeship’ in the edition of Exploring Irish MMA we featured him in last summer.
Though not taking the champ lightly, he made it clear that he doesn’t see the Ukrainian making it out of the second-round with him.
“I’ve been looking him up, he doesn’t look great. I don’t know how he even has the belt.
“He’s a swinger, he comes out and he swings. I was expecting a wrestler because he looks like a wrestler – and the fact that he’s from Ukraine, you’d think he’d have a wrestling background.
“But any of his fights that have gone to the ground, he has stood back up. He just comes out to box, he’s really wild. I’m not really worried. I think that I can beat him on the feet and beat him on the ground.
“I’m just going to go in there and do my thing, I feel like I’m better than him everywhere. I was thinking that they were bringing me over to fight that hometown guy and lose but there is no way that they think I’m going to lose to this guy. Not a hope. He doesn’t have anything for me.
“It’s not going past two [rounds]. We don’t get paid for overtime in this sport.”
Blaine O’Driscoll will attempt to kick off his 2019 with a gold-belt around his waist this Saturday as he takes on Teimur Rahimov in the WWFC 14 main-event for the promotion’s flyweight title.
If he is successful, do not be surprised if you’re hearing a lot more about this guy before long.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena