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LONDON – A chip on his shoulder. Desperate to get back to winning ways. Riled by his recent defeat to an arch-rival.

These are all lines you’re likely to hear or read about British welterweight star Paul Daley ahead of his return to action at Bellator London on Saturday night. The truth, however, is a little different.

Many thought Daley (40-17-2 MMA, 6-4 BMMA) would be heading into his fight with Erick Silva (20-10 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) at The SSE Arena with a point to prove. Some even suggested Daley would be angry heading into the contest. But speaking to MMA Junkie on media day in the English capital, a super-relaxed Daley laughed off that assessment.

“I don’t know,” he grinned. “I think the faceoff outside (where he mean-mugged Silva, then gave a throat-slitting gesture for the cameras) gave me the wrong impression. I’m not an angry man, but I know the fans like to see a bit of that. I’m not an angry man, but I am looking forward to the fight on Saturday.”

The reason for people’s assumptions is likely to be the fact that Daley lost his long-awaited “Battle of Britain” against rival Michael Page at Bellator 216 in February after a contest that failed to live up to the pre-fight hype.

Daley admitted it wasn’t his usual spectacular striking performance but said he made a conscious decision to change his style in a bid to defeat the tricky “MVP.” He lost a decision that night, though he believed he’d done enough to get the win.

“I performed how I had to in order to ensure what I thought would be a victory,” Daley said. “I know that Michael Page is extremely tricky on the feet – he’s a counter-fighter. And if I would have gone rushing forward to give the fans essentially what they wanted, I would have probably ended up getting knocked out.

“I thought I fought a very good fight, (and) I thought I had done more than enough to get the victory. I know the fans didn’t love it – it’s not the kind of fight that people would want to scream a rematch about. But I feel I did enough, and it went the way it did, so that’s it.”

Daley said he’s drawn a line under their rivalry but also hinted he’d be prepared to entertain a second bout between the pair further down the line, if Page was keen and the demand was there.

“I’ve got no ill will towards the guy. I know he’s quite an entertainer,” Daley said. “If he wants to go down that path and build up a future rivalry, then I’m happy to do it. I don’t like him, but I don’t dislike him, so it’s easy enough to put together.”

With Page firmly in his rear-view mirror – for now, at least – Daley admitted he wasn’t 100 percent sure what direction his career will take next. But he did mention there was one fight he definitely wants to pursue in the near future as he explained his desire to make good on his promise to give Lorenz Larkin a rematch.

“Even though I finished him, I did promise him, and I want to keep my word,” Daley said. “Backstage he was absolutely distraught, practically in tears. And I said, ‘Look, I’ll give you a rematch’. Even though I won convincingly, I know deep down he wanted to put on a better performance. So I said, ‘Look, if Bellator will do it, I will happily give you a rematch,’ so I’d like to uphold my word on that.

“Apart from that, who knows? As long as fans want to see me fight, as long as I’m enjoying the sport and as long as I’m winning, then I’m going to keep going.”

Daley’s continued career sees him return to Wembley on Saturday night, where he will step into a professional MMA bout for the 60th time as he takes on Silva at Bellator London. It’s a matchup Daley is confident of winning, and one he believes will add to his already spectacular career highlight reel.

“I think we’re definitely going to see something that will add to that highlight reel,” Daley said. “I really think he’s going to get knocked out due to his over-aggressiveness.

“His wrestling’s not there to shoot from the outside to take me to the ground. He has a judo black belt, but he needs to get me to the clinch. Anything he has to do to effectively get the fight to the mat to use his jiu-jitsu black belt, he’s going to have to come close. And I’ve trained extremely hard, I’m as sharp as (expletive), and I just think the minute he takes that step forward, it’s going to be lights out.”

For more on Bellator London, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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