After Parting Ways with Bellator, Ben Saunders’ Top Goal Is Return to UFC

By Sherdog.com Staff May 1, 2014



You should see Ben Saunders fighting this summer in the Titan Fighting Championship, but eventually he hopes to return to the UFC.

In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Saunders discussed his exit from Bellator, his future with Titan and more.

On whether he’s still hungry to prove something: “I definitely still feel like a hungry guy trying to prove something for sure. If you do look at my record, I’ve definitely got a good amount of fights for some top-quality organizations. I guess I can definitely look at myself as a veteran these days, but I think I’m young and I’ve got a lot left to give to the sport.”

On leaving Bellator: “It was definitely my choice. There were pros and cons with working with them. As far as any details on anything negative, I’ve kept my mouth shut and I still will. I think that there are -- I’ve made friends with people that work for the company. There’s a lot of good people that work for that company, including the mixed martial artists. It’s just another opportunity and an avenue for other fighters, so I don’t want to come and spit anything negative or cause any issues for that company. I just prefer to be let go with no arguments and no fighting about me wanting to move on. Let’s just say they obliged.”

On one of the issues he had with Bellator: “I guess I’ll give one example which is kind of a horrible one to throw out there, but I was ready for three fights in three months. I was supposed to fight [Douglas] Lima in March. We fought January, we fought February. I was supposed to finish the tournament in March. He broke his hand. Instead of getting me a replacement [the fight was postponed], which no offense to Lima, but I thought it was messed up because I was ready to go. … Then like a month before [the rescheduled bout], he got a rib injury and they pushed it back again. Literally, I waited like seven months, I believe, to get that final fight without getting any fights in between, which as a professional fighter, that’s what I do for a living. … It made it even worse because he’s a teammate. I literally had to just sit and shut my mouth because I respect Lima big time. He’s part of the family and I’m not going to go and just put it on blast. If it was anybody else, I would have been like, ‘Absolutely not.’”

On his belief that other fighters were treated differently: “So Cheick Kongo comes over. He only has to fight two fights, not three. Then he beats his first guy. A month later, he’s supposed to fight again. Well, guess what? The guy that earned his right into the finals got injured. I don’t care if it was a knee injury or whatever, he got injured and instead of saying, ‘Oh well, Cheick, you’ve got to wait because this guy earned his right into the finals’ … they immediately just brought some random person to automatically be thrown into the finals fight while I’m sitting there waiting, saying, ‘How are you guys doing this for him but not me?’ I’m sitting here waiting seven months, which made no sense.”

On his future: “Bottom line is, I feel like I’m an entertaining fighter. Even if I lose, you know you’re getting a show, but if [opponents] are not on my level, you know you’re getting a highlight reel. … I still think I have a lot to bring to the table. I’m excited to fight for Titan for sure, but above all, my No. 1 goal is to make it back to the UFC. They’ve never done me wrong and they have the names and the fighters that I would love to test myself against.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 30:54).

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