Eduardo Dantas plans on finishing Joe Warren. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Eduardo Dantas is done talking.
While the back-and-forth with Joe Warren on social media might have helped to promote their bantamweight title bout at Bellator 128, the Brazilian is prepared to make his loudest statement in the cage on Friday night.
Dantas, the promotion’s reigning 135-pound king, will square off with Warren, the interim titlist, in the Bellator 128 headliner at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The two bantamweights were originally scheduled to meet at Bellator 118 before Dantas withdrew due to a head injury. As a result, Warren defeated Rafael Silva for the interim championship at the May 2 event.
That matters little to Dantas now.
“I’m not thinking of him as the interim champion,” he told Sherdog.com. “I just see one guy has the belt…but I’m the champion, and I will show everyone who is the champion on Friday.”
The 25-year-old known as “Dudu” is also not impressed with Warren’s wrestling credentials. The self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet” is a decorated Greco-Roman competitor, and that skill set has translated nicely into MMA. A former 145-pound Bellator champion, Warren enters the matchup with Dantas riding a four-fight winning streak.
“I know his best skill is his wrestling, but for me it doesn’t matter,” Dantas said. “I train with a wrestler every day in my gym. And I’m very prepared to fight him.”
While Dantas admits to having designs on eventually moving to 145 pounds, his weight cut is not as difficult as that of Renan Barao, his bantamweight counterpart at Nova Uniao. Barao recently had a last-minute withdrawal from a UFC 177 title rematch against T.J. Dillashaw due to weight-cutting issues.
Dantas and Barao take different routes to 135 pounds, according to trainer Andre Pederneiras. Since Dantas’ weight cut is less severe, it makes sense that he could fight more frequently, assuming he is healthy.
“I think for Eduardo, he cuts less weight than Renan -- Like 12 to 15 pounds normally,” Pederneiras said. “Because he is at 160, but without training. When he starts to train, he is at 152 to 153, and then the cut is easy to 135. I think three fights a year, [once] every four months is the best for him.”
Dantas agrees with that plan, although he has not been able to compete three times in a calendar year since 2011, when he debuted with Bellator. He plans on returning to “give the best show I’ve given in my life” on Friday night. Dantas is ready to go into the championship rounds if necessary, but that doesn’t mean he plans on dragging things out.
“I’m prepared to fight five rounds, but I don’t think this fight is going to be five rounds. I think in the second or third round I will finish him,” Dantas said.