British slugger Paul “Semtex” Daley helped contribute Saturday night to what some are calling “Round of the Year” by throwing caution to the wind and trading bombs with Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz. Both men were wobbled more than once in the first round, but it was Daley who ended up on the losing end of things as referee Big John McCarthy stepped in with three seconds to go and halted the bout after “Semtex” lost his equilibrium, hit the ground and got pounced on by Diaz.
Daley spoke with FightHubTV following the great fight and disappointing loss, explaining that, while he isn’t terribly upset with how the fight played out, he does think that the bout was stopped prematurely.
“My expectation was not to get drawn into the kind of fight that you saw entertain everybody,” Daley said of his expectations from the bout. “We really wanted to play it smart and kick a lot more. When you’re in a fight — as a fighter with the mentality that I have, sometimes you get drawn into a battle that you’re not supposed to be fighting and that’s what happened tonight. I feel the fight was stopped a little early, with three seconds left in a championship fight he could’ve let it go to the second round, but it’s too late for that now.”
In prior interviews, Daley had expressed his desire to get into a gutter brawl, a real fight, the kind his recent opponents had failed to deliver. “Semtex” readily admitted that he got what he asked for tonight, but lamented the fact that both he and the fans were unable to see the brawl further develop as a result of the first round stoppage.
“Yeah, tonight was a good fight. I did enjoy the fight and I’m sure looking back I’ll look at it and think, ‘That was some crazy sh**!'” said Daley. “I envisioned getting into a fight, but I envisioned winning the fight as well, you know? Three seconds left, like I say, I think we should’ve gone into the second round. The fans would’ve got more, it would’ve been a different outcome, but John McCarthy made his decision at the time and whether it’s to protect my health or it looked a different way — I figured I could last out those last three seconds and do something different.”
Despite the fact that he doesn’t agree with how things ended, Daley wouldn’t deny that he was wobbled by punches and said that he holds no ill will towards Big John.
“I love John McCarthy, he’s reffed my fights before over in Australia and he’s a cool guy,” he said. “I spoke to him a lot of the time, but I feel that he got it wrong this time and I deserved those last three seconds.”
Though his record falls to 27-10-2, Daley’s stock undoubtedly rose in the eyes of fans (and, according to his Twitter post on the fight, UFC boss Dana White) and he certainly proved his heart and toughness, if they were ever doubted.