Not everyone in Mike Richman’s camp wanted him to fight Chris Horodecki.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had mentioned the matchup after watching Richman hit mitts at one of the promotion’s photo shoots. Richman’s hands were quick, but he hadn’t even fought in Bellator yet and Horodecki seemed like a tough debut.
“Maybe you should take it easy,” Richman said his management suggested. “It’s a high-profile fight. We don’t want to lose your opportunity in the tournament.”
That was the plan, after all: Richman was supposed to get a fight or two under his belt and then compete in one of Bellator’s upcoming tournaments. When he was offered Horodecki, though, he convinced his handlers to let him take the fight.
“I knew right away I match perfectly against this guy and I’m definitely ready,” Richman told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I didn’t want to take the easy route into it. I didn’t want to take the Rad Martinez route and fight some can -- nothing against him. When they brought up me against Chris Horodecki, I was like, ‘Oh, man. I’m going to definitely make my name out of this fight.’ I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it, let’s do it.’ I pretty much had to convince them.”
Then he delivered. Last Friday at Bellator 64, Richman knocked out Horodecki just 1:23 into the first round.
“I knew I had some high-level striking ability and I really wanted to showcase it against someone like Horodecki,” Richman said. “My main game plan was to establish -- me being a southpaw and him being a righty -- you have to establish that lead cross right away. I kind of threw a feeler lead cross out there to really get my distance and timing. Once I had that, after like the first 10 seconds, I knew I had the distance, timing and rhythm figured out from then. That’s when I just started to gain control and just to take off from there.”
Richman rocked his opponent twice before the sequence that ended the fight. He could see that Horodecki was reeling.
“I was really trying to pepper him, really trying to keep him shocked,” Richman said. “Because after I hit him a couple of good times, I could see in his eyes he was like, ‘Holy s--t. What did I get myself into?’ That’s when I started to really try to get some head movement, get my lead uppercut and then try to go for the finish.”
Horodecki never recovered, and Richman battered him with uppercuts to finish the fight. Richman had visualized a win but didn’t think it would come via knockout. It was an impressive debut in Bellator, and now he has his sights set on winning the promotion’s featherweight tournament this fall.
“I see myself moving into the featherweight tournament, winning the tournament and going on to win the title,” Richman said. “That’s how I have to think and that’s how I do think.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:16:53).