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Before Bellator 225, bantamweight prospect Mike Kimbel spoke to FanSided about the tests he faces inside of the cage.
At first glance, the names that are currently building up the record of Mike Kimbel may not seem like legitimate challenges for the bantamweight prospect over at Bellator, but he sees it differently than most.
In the eyes of Kimbel, the people who he has been matched up with thus far are probably the hardest fights he has been given in his professional career. And he believes this will continue to be the case once he starts fighting some of the more prominent names in his division.
“Not for nothing, but a lot of the guys with bigger names are actually easier fights,” Kimbel told FanSided. “No disrespect to them, but they have a style. They have a format [and] they have a layout. It’s easier to dissect them. They’re not giving me – like Chris Disonell on paper? He’s 3-3. This is probably like the quote-unquote, and I don’t mean this as easy, but quote-unquote is the easiest fight I’ve gotten. But not for nothing, my pro debut, I’m fighting Geoffrey Then, who’s already been a pro-Muay Thai fighter who had a good career. He was 1-1 as a professional. I fought him. He’d never been knocked out. He lost to Merab Dvalishvilli, who was number 12 at the time I fought Geoffrey Then in the UFC and [he] never knocked Geoffrey out. I knocked Geoffrey out.
“Then, Alex Potts. He was 1-0 as a professional, but he submitted like I guess a good guy and he was 6-0 as an amateur with a 55, 45 and 35 belt. And in New England, we have some of the hardest amateur competition. I knocked him out in six seconds.”
So, while the quality of opponent appears to be perfect for building up a well-known prospect like Kimbel, do not make the mistake of thinking they are easy. Kimbel certainly does not think so.
“Bellator is weird. To you guys, it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s taking his time’ but to me, they’re giving me hard fights. They are testing me,” said Kimbel.
Kimbel is set for his next test when he takes on Chris Disonell in a catchweight fight on the preliminary card of Bellator 225. Prior to the fight between him and Disonell being made, Kimbel says that it was actually supposed to happen towards the beginning of the year when he fought against John Douma at Bellator 215.
Disonell was a name that was brought up when the original opponent of Kimbel could no longer be reached for reasons unknown, and he was happy to step inside the Bellator cage with him. After all, Disonell was “trolling” Kimbel on social media, which is what made the fight that much more enticing.
Ultimately, the fight did not happen and Kimbel went on to fight Douma, who handed him the first loss of his professional career. Now that the fight with Disonell is just around the corner, Kimbel explains why and how it finally came together.
“He’s been calling me out and wanting to fight,” said Kimbel. “At one point, when I fought John Douma, I took John Douma on three weeks’ notice because they told me that eight or nine camps denied to fight me. They wouldn’t accept the fight. And I’m like ‘What the f**k? I got all my people there. They already bought tickets. They trying to go to the casino. I gotta fight somebody’ So they brought up that name and I said, ‘Okay, bet.’ It doesn’t matter to me. Then, Chris Disonell was talking junk around that time saying, ‘Oh, I’ll fight you’ and then I’m like, ‘Okay, let’s fight. I don’t have an opponent. He’s like, ‘Oh no, I already committed to a fight that was like two weeks after that scheduled fight’. And I was just like, ‘Yeah, you’re a punk. Whatever.”
As he prepares for Disonell, Kimbel was asked to reflect on the kind of fight he enjoys being in now that he has participated on both sides of the spectrum as it relates to fighting. He has delivered quick knockouts, like the one against the aforementioned Potts, and he has gone the full 15 minutes with his most recent opponent, Sebastian Ruiz.
Kimbel cannot pick between the two because it comes down to how he is feeling about the man standing opposite of him on fight night. He may want to dismantle one person as fast as possible, while another person may get a prolonged beating.
“Honestly? It really depends on how I’m feeling,” said Kimbel. “Some people it’s like, ‘F**k it. I don’t even want to give him the respect to even get anything off on me. Dog [them] out. And then other people I like systematically breaking them down. Taking everything they got and making them feel like the Hulk is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. I like playing with them a little bit. You get to know a lot about a person.”
Another win for Kimbel puts him one step closer to becoming a serious contender alongside some of the top bantamweights Bellator currently has, and he knows this. Despite previously saying that the division was “kind of dead”, Kimbel still keeps a watchful eye over the best at 135 pounds because they are the kind of tests he expects to face soon.
“I wouldn’t say that there’s no challenges, but it’s like this is a sport, right? This is a sport, so there’s obviously competition. Like Ricky Bandejas. He’s a good fighter. He’s a tough fight. You got Juan Archuleta. You got James Gallagher. I give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s got real good jiu-jitsu, but he’s just a b**ch. There are some challenges in there, but as far as them? For example, let’s say James Gallagher is the champion and he’s got all these cameras on him. Who the f**k wants to hear and look at that dude? You know? Ricky Bandejas. Yeah, he’s a good man and God bless him. He’s a family man and he’s got a wife and a kid. Who the f**k wants to watch that? You got all these dudes and it’s like, if they had it, what would they do with it?”
Bellator 225 takes place on Saturday, August 24, 2019, live from the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live results and highlights.