Joe Warren faces 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Alexis Vila at Bellator 52. | Photo: Daniel Herbertson
Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren (www.twitter.com/JoeWarrenMMA) will blog his thoughts and experiences for Sherdog.com as he takes part in Bellator Fighting Championships’ fifth-season bantamweight tournament, which kicks off with Bellator 51 this Saturday, Sept. 10, on MTV2 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Friday morning: weigh-in day. I woke up calm after a great nine hours of sleep and focused on the weight cut. Team Warren -- Ryan Tobin, Scott Jorgensen and Mark Montoya -- knocked on the door. We checked my weight and set the game plan for the day. My weight was light, just three pounds over. I felt great. We were off to the sauna. Scotty and Mark sat in the sauna with me while I bounced around talking s--- and staying relaxed. Three sauna stints -- 10, five and five minutes -- followed, and I was on weight easily. I showered and headed back to the hotel.
Healthy weight cutting is an art developed through years of wrestling. Not a lot of people do it very well. My wife, Christy, coaches me through it, telling me what foods will burn off easily and trying to keep me motivated. She knows the importance of a good weight cut for me.
Bellator had us weigh in at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. My demeanor was calm and confident. Looking around at the other fighters, I saw a bunch of people that had a very bad day of weight cutting. These fighters don’t know the violent focus I have to win this tournament. All I see is the beginning of another quest toward another championship. That brings a smile to my face.
At the face off with Alexis Vila, he’s smaller than I expected, and, in my mind, I’m so very focused that I don’t care who is in front of me -- I’m running through him. The fans were great. We took a lot of photos with them, the mayor and also my boss, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. I stayed positive and confident, smiling and trying to have fun in a stressful environment.
We got back in the Bellator van, which has a photo of me punching Joe Soto for the belt on the side. It looks great. We had dinner with friends and family who came down from Michigan. We all had steaks -- a great meal. We headed back to the hotel, where I sat down to write this blog before bed.
I still feel calm and anxious to see if all the work I put in will pay off. I stayed focused on the game plan and kept telling myself over and over in my head, “Have a perfect fight. Be explosive and patient. Stay aggressive, and take this Cuban’s heart. No one can keep up with my pace. I am the ‘baddest man on the planet.’ No one can stop me.”
Saturday is game day. It’s time to go to work. To all my fans out there, I’m bringing a war to Alexis Vila. Tune in for the fireworks.