It’s safe to say that Bellator lightweight Douglas Lima has quite a bit of catching up to do.
The talented Brazilian is coming off a disheartening loss last July to Andrey Koreshkov , but aside from the defeat that night that cost him the welterweight crown, “The Phenom” has had his struggles outside the cage as well.
Lima had been battling a stubborn, nagging knee injury for what he said felt like an eternity and though he was able to capture the Bellator welterweight championship two years ago, his career hit a wall due to inactivity. He hasn’t been the same since, but the American Top Team Atlanta fighter envisions a career rejuvenation starting at Bellator 158.
“Oh man, I was dealing with that annoying injury for so long but everything is fine now,” Lima told Sherodg.com in a recent interview. “I feel real good and I’ve been in training for about five months. I’m finally healed up after the surgery and my rehab. Trust me, I can’t wait to get out there.”
Lima was out of commission for 15 months after he conquered Rick Hawn for the promotion’s 170-pound title and then sat on the sidelines for another 11 months after losing his belt to Koreshkov. Patience was a virtue but the jiu-jitsu brown belt said being idle was not easy.
“All that time spent trying to get better was very frustrating,” he said. “It was very depressing because all I wanted to do was get better and train properly and, of course, fight. I saw a lot of doctors and spoke to a lot of different people and many of them told me that I’d never be 100 percent again.
“Some said I would never actually be able to do this career ever again. They said my career was over. I was scared. But this last procedure worked, it helped. I am so thankful for that.”
Lima will next step into the cage to fight murderous striker Paul Daley in the main event at the O2 in London on Saturday. While the Brazilian has some explosives of his own, Daley is one of the best strikers of this generation. Lima is ready for the challenge and believes he’ll come out on top.
“He’s a very aggressive fighter; he is very explosive,” he stated. “This is a big fight for me, the kind of fight I need for my record. I definitely want to strike with him but we’ll see how it goes. He’s obviously got great power, especially in his hands. But I have great power, too. I like this matchup because I will be able to test my striking against his and I think it will come down to whoever is able to land their power shots first. But this is MMA and it’s not all about power; anything can happen and I believe I will have my hand raised.”
The one thing that burns deeply inside Lima more than anything is to one day get his Bellator welterweight title back. Koreshkov still owns it and “The Phenom” would want nothing more than to reclaim his crown by toppling the last man to beat him. But he can’t do anything until he gets past the British bomber.
“Obviously I’m not looking past Paul,” he concluded. “I’m not dumb. But my main goal is to fight Koreshkov and get my belt back and I know that in order for that to happen, I have to get past him. So, even though all I think about is getting my belt back, the only person I’m worried about and training for is ‘Semtex.’”