Joe Warren is a two-division world champion inside the Bellator cage and he is determined to one day get a title back in his possession. After losing his 135-pound throne to Marcos Galvao a year ago when he got caught in a nasty knee bar, “The Baddest Man on the Planet” has thought of nothing else other than reclaiming what he believes is rightfully his.
On Friday at Bellator 151, Warren will take on Darrion Caldwell, a supremely talented unbeaten young contender, for the right to challenge for the bantamweight crown as soon as Galvao and Eduardo Dantas eventually get around to fighting each other. Sherdog.com recently caught up with the former champ to pick his brain on a number of topics.
Sherdog.com: You are fighting Darrion Caldwell in the new main event of Bellator 151. He’s a talented guy with tons of potential. What are your thoughts on him?
Joe Warren: He’s just another undefeated guy that I’m going to have to put a hole through. I kind of see myself as Bellator’s fanboy gatekeeper, you know what I’m saying? If you want to win anything in Bellator, you’ve got to come through the “Baddest Man” and that looks like what’s going to happen here. He’s just another stud they put in front of me and I’m focused on another win.
Sherdog.com: He’s unbeaten and has looked very good thus far. But even though he’s been in Bellator for a while, he’s still largely untested in the world of MMA.
Joe Warren: I see him as a battle-tested warrior. I mean, he’s an NCAA champ and that’s where I come from. You can’t take anything away from an NCAA champ because that’s the toughest thing in the world to do. He’s got a lot of drive behind him. He’s a young, motivated kid and I respect the guy but I hope he understands what he’s getting into when he steps into that cage.
Sherdog.com: How are you feeling right now both mentally and physically?
Joe Warren: I’m a thousand times better than I ever was and I feel better than I ever did before. I am excited to get back into that Bellator cage and impress everybody who is excited to see me fight.
Sherdog.com: Throughout the years in MMA, whenever two elite wrestlers get together, a glorified kickboxing match breaks out. It’s not every single time but it happens much more often than not in that the wrestlers never seem to want to actually out-wrestle the other. Why do you think that is?
Joe Warren: I do see that happening a lot of times. It’s not a wrestling match; it’s an MMA match but I think there’s more to it than just that. We wrestlers tend to adapt to whatever’s happening. All sorts of things happen in that cage and when people start throwing punches, so do we. Wrestlers start learning how to strike and once they think they’re good, they think they are the best strikers in the world. Wrestlers have that attitude that we are the best at what we do, period. They get an arrogant attitude but then they get knocked out by a legitimate striker (laughs).
Sherdog.com: Do you see this happening between you and Darrion, meaning you two might shy away from wrestling? How will this fight unfold?
Joe Warren: I don’t know how this fight is going to go down. I am the better wrestler so I obviously have no problem going there. My hands are solid and my ground game is on point. But you know what I’m going to do and that’s to pressure forward and run a hole through this man and get that win. I would love to finish him and be exciting again, but I don’t really know how it’ll go. I think he likes to strike and stand up and if he wants to do that, I’ll just wrestle him down to the ground again.
Sherdog.com: Do you think headlining a major card against someone like you will possibly make him crumble under the pressure?
Joe Warren: I hope so. I hope he’s got a little bit of nerves in him and that he’s unsure of what’s going to happen. I mean, I know what’s going to happen and what I’m going to do. But, honestly, I really think he’s experienced enough and having been on the biggest stages with wrestling that he’ll be ready for this fight. But with that said, stepping into the Bellator cage in the main event against Bellator’s baddest man is another level and I hope he gets some nerves about it.
Sherdog.com: You are coming off the win over L.C. Davis, which was your first bout since the Galvao fight. How important was it to get that win under your belt?
Joe Warren: Getting that win was so important to me. That Galvao fight, we could fight a thousand more times and (getting submitted) would never again ever happen to me. Mixed martial arts is the most unpredictable sport in the world and I got caught by a world champion jiu-jitsu guy. There’s nothing I can say other than he got me. But getting that win, to get back on that ball, was huge for me. Dominating L.C. and getting the win was such a positive thing for me moving forward.
Sherdog.com: Galvao and Dantas were supposed to fight for the title but it’s been postponed. When they do fight, who do you think will win and do you prefer to fight Galvao over Dantas?
Joe Warren: I already beat both of them. I know how to fight them and how to beat them because I already have done it. I can let those two fight it out and decide which of the little buddies will walk away with the belt, but either way it doesn’t matter. Whoever of the two has the belt when they are done fighting each other, I’ll just take it right from them. But for right now I’m only focused on me and my fight. I don’t care who wins or what happens between those guys.