Paul Daley | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
British slugger Paul Daley is currently situated near the very top of the Strikeforce welterweight ladder. His brutal December knockout of Scott Smith made him the unofficial No. 1 contender at 170 pounds and put him in line for a crack at the winner of Saturday’s Nick Diaz-Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos title match.
However, according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, that could change next month, even without “Semtex” setting foot inside the Strikeforce cage.
On Feb. 26, Daley is slated to meet Deep welterweight ace Yuya Shirai in Manchester, England, under the banner of the U.K.-based British Association of Mixed Martial Arts. The outcome of the bout, which is for the vacant BAMMA welterweight belt, will decide Daley’s position in the Strikeforce title hunt.
“If he loses, the deck’s gonna get reshuffled, and if he wins, then he’ll be the first in line to get the title shot,” Coker said during Monday’s media conference call to promote Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Cyborg.”
Daley inked a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce in September. His win against Smith came in the 27-year-old Englishman’s first official outing for the promotion; Daley previously defeated Duane Ludwig at a 2007 event co-promoted by Strikeforce and EliteXC.
A devastating striker and one of the top exports of Nottingham-based Team Rough House, Daley holds a career mark of 26-9-2, with 19 of those victories by way of knockout. He has notched notable wins over the likes of Martin Kampmann, Jorge Masvidal, Dustin Hazelett and John Alessio. His wins against Kampmann and Hazelett came during his brief run in the UFC, which ended last May when he threw a sucker punch at Josh Koscheck following a decision loss to the wrestler at UFC 113.