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Mike Kimbel wants to make a few things clear after his Bellator 222 win over Sebastian Ruiz. "I did not kick him in his nuts," Kimbel said before answering any questions from the media.
Kimbel moves to 3-1 with his win at Madison Square Garden. It's a place he was told he wouldn't be in a profession a teacher once told him would not make him any money. Yet there he was in "the world's most famous arena" doing what he loves and getting paid for it.
Kimbel at 22-years-old was coming off the first loss of his career and knew he needed a win. Rather than sit in his loss, he went to the United Kingdom and formed a bond with Michael "Venom" Page and changed his training regiment entirely. He told media during fight week and after his win over Ruiz that he needed to get out of his "comfort zone," and while moments of frustration happened during the fight he stayed focused and pulled off a win.
When Kimbel reflected on what that teacher had told him he got a little emotional, a trend that would carry over into the co-main event when Chael Sonnen announced his retirement. Despite Kimbel having just started his career and the 42 year-old "American Gangster" ending his, they both had the same message. Kimbel says he is the "future of the sport," and Sonnen echoed that sentiment when he addressed the press after the event.
Kimbel fought before Darrion Caldwell lost his title to Kyoji Horiguchi and he said he teased Caldwell during their media obligations asking him, "What're you doing with that belt?" While the young "Savage" may need to work his way up to fights like that, don't be surprised if he has the same question for Horiguchi if they cross paths.
Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since the first UFC. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.