Ever since acrimoniously leaving the UFC after hitting Josh Koscheck after the bell, Paul Daley has been something of a nomad. Things didn’t go quite the way he wanted in Strikeforce, but it could have been so different if he’d just landed one more power punch in his one round brawl with Nick Diaz. Since leaving the UFC, he has amassed a record of 10-3 with notable victories over Jorge Masvidal, Scott Smith and Luigi Fioravanti, but with losses to Diaz, Tyron Woodley and Kazuo Misaki, which isn’t too shabby. But now he looks to have found a more permanent home with BAMMA, after inking a three fight deal with them with his first opponent announced as Romario Manoel da Silva, a veteran of 34 fights.
Daley could quite easily become the face of BAMMA as he’s one of if not the most explosively entertaining welterweight in the world. Daley can talk the talk and the MMA world pays attention when he fights, which means he could be perfect for BAMMA as they continue to build and attempt to enter the mainstream in the UK – he just needs to keep making weight and stay out of trouble with the law.
The one major problem with signing for BAMMA is the lack of competition, which is why it’s a great shame his deal with Bellator didn’t work out as it would have given him consistently decent contribution and exposure in the US. In his two prior fights for BAMMA, Daley fought and destroyed a severely overmatched Yuya Shirai and then outpointed fellow UFC vet Jordan Radev, who in reality is nowhere near his level. His opponent for BAMMA 14, da Silva is most notable for having been beat by Jay Hieron and Gleison Tibau, so he’s hardly world level and not the type of opponent Daley needs at this stage of his career.
I would guess that Daley would be matched against BAMMA Welterweight Champion, Eddy Ellis if he conquers da Silva, which is another fight that shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for him. Ellis controversially upset Jim Wallhead (a teammate of Daley’s) to win the belt, and of course, there’s the chance he would do the same again, but Daley is far superior to Wallhead.
A really interesting fight on the UK scene would be Paul Daley V Che Mills, but unfortunately Mills is tied to rival promotion Cage Warriors which would prevent any showdown between the two happening, which is a shame as the fight would be big money in the UK and would easily sell out a large arena. It’s definitely a fight that could happen down the line and there’s a long line of UK MMA fans that would pay to see that fight.
After a turbulent few years where he’s struggled for relevance, Daley has the ability to be important again as the jewel in BAMMA’s crown. He will be fighting on network TV in the UK, a privilege not even the UFC can offer and he could be key to helping MMA enter the mainstream in the UK as the British public love nothing more than a hellacious knockout. Daley is without a doubt one of the prime attractions in the welterweight division as he will always deliver and make sure the fans go home happy, which after all, is the most important thing, and he’s signing will prove a real coup for BAMMA, especially if he resigns in a year’s time.