The former light heavyweight champion starts his rebuilding process in Ireland this weekend, and tells FO he’s ready to run through late replacement opponent Brett McDermott en-route to regaining the Bellator title belt.

Q. You’re back in action as the main event of Bellator 173. Does a win put you back in the championship mix?

A. A win won’t put me back into the mix after this fight. I will definitely be aiming to get on the London card and a win there would put me back into the title mix. As for how this fight pans out, I feel that I am going to knock this dude out. The power is back in my hands. My hands are back. I am throwing a lot of punches. I am looking forward to putting him on his face.


Q. Are you anxious to erase the memory of your last fight, losing the belt to Phil Davis, and just start rolling again?

A. Yes! That’s exactly what I said to my manager after that fight, ‘Get me back in there as soon as possible.’ It was December when I was taking about getting back in there and they came back with this one, so I jumped at it.


Q. In a recent tweet you said ‘The fun and games have just begun.’ Can you elaborate of that a bit?

A. The fun and games have just begun because now it’s the fun and games where I go back to get my title again. It’s the fun and games of finding out who am I fighting next and what I am going to do to these people in order to get my belt back.


Q. Coming off the first loss of your career, what are your takeaways from that night?

A. I crammed in a lot of stuff. I crammed in a lot of training. It was more mental than it was anything else with Phil. I felt I had to wrestle. I knew he is a top wrestler. I thought I have to wrestle, wrestle, and wrestle. But it really took away from who I am and what I do. I took a step back and sat back and had five minutes to myself. I realized this is who I am. This is what I do. This is why I came here in the first place.


Q. Did you fall into the trap or trying to wrestle with a guy whose been wrestling since he was in diapers? 

A. Yeah, my focus was all wrong. I was trying to play catch up. I still have a lot of catching up to do. But I know I will get there. I will figure out what I am doing and how it’s going to go. The wrestling will fall in place. I will figure it out one day.


Q. You had the huge layoff leading up to the fight with Phil. It was reported you trained for 14 weeks, training four times a day. Is that accurate?

A. Yeah that’s true. I think I forgot my age. I’m not 29 or 30 years old. I’m 34. I really had to sit down in between my training session to try to rest and recover and then go for another one. I went from one to the next to the next to the next and then I had to drag my ass home on the train. I would go to sleep and then be up the next day at 6am. Some days I would leave my house at 6am and get home at 8:30 at night. It was a long day.

I don’t need to do that anymore. It was draining. I feel out with the sport. I couldn’t wait to have the fight just so I could get a break. That isn’t the way you should look at things. You should be excited for the fight and then be passionate about training, too.


Q. You confessed it killed you take make that online status change to ‘former champion’. How great will it feel to make the change back to ‘current champion’ when the time comes?

A. I cannot wait. That is going to be coming this year very, very soon. I am putting in the work to get this belt back.


* Bellator 173: McGeary vs. McDermott takes place at The SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland and airs on Spike tomorrow night at 9pm ET / 8pm CT. Check local listings for starts times outside the US.