Paul Daley (right) vs. Scott Smith: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
During the lead-up to their welterweight duel, there was one thing both Scott Smith and Paul Daley agreed on: someone was getting knocked out.
Daley proved to be the faster and more accurate of the two on Saturday, turning out Smith’s lights with a crisp counter left hook in the co-main event of Strikeforce “Henderson vs. Babalu II” at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
“I was expecting a tough fight, but I was [also] expecting a quick fight, which it was. I always thought I had it in me to knock Scott Smith out,” said Daley at the post-fight press conference.
When asked after the fight about Smith's vaunted punching power, Daley was dismissive.
“He hit me with a jab, I think, but I brushed it off,” said the English striker. “I just had to keep my chin to my chest and move forward and be confident. I could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t as confident as I was, and the fight played out the way I wanted it to.”
The punch that ended the fight was also the catalyst for the Brit's victory. Daley found a home for his left hook early, keeping Smith off balance for the duration of the two-minute bout.
“I thought [my left hook] would play a part in the fight. My corner was calling for the left hook-right straight, which I threw as the first combination and had him rocked,” said Daley. “But I’ve seen in his previous fights that there was an opportunity to come over his right hand with a left hook when he threw it.”
Unconscious before he hit the ground, Smith fell flat on his face as referee John McCarthy waved off the contest. With the welterweight debut of “Hands of Steel” now officially spoiled, Daley reiterated his desire to take on K.J. Noons.
“I think he’s one of the bigger names here. I think Strikeforce has put a lot of money behind him. He just fought for the title, and it took Nick Diaz five rounds to get rid of him. I think I’ll knock K.J. out within five minutes,” Daley said. “I don't think K.J. is on my level. He calls himself a striker. When he steps into the cage with me, he’ll soon see that he’s not a striker at all.”
After Daley's speech, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was probed regarding the potential matchup, asked if he would be open to making the fight a reality. Before the promotion's head could even begin his response, however, Daley interrupted, garnering a chorus of laughter from those in attendance.
“No, [Scott] won't make that fight, because he likes K.J. Noons.”