The first part of Bellator’s weekend double bill is tonight, as Eduardo Dantas defends his 135lb belt against Joe Warren in the main event of Bellator 166.
Fighters Only’s Tony Reid caught up with the Brazilian bantamweight champion ahead of the fight card in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Fighters Only: Being the main event as the defending, reigning champion how do you see the fight playing out with former champion Joe Warren?
Eduardo Dantas: The only thing I see is my arm raised and the belt around my waist. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me, whether it’s a rematch or not. I will get my arm raised again.
How do you feel about a rematch against the only person to beat you in Bellator?
It’s double motivation. It’s the only loss I have, which has been on my mind. It’s like a test in school. I failed the first test but now I know all the answers on this test. I am 100% sure I will be able to get an A+.
What are your thoughts on Joe as a fighter and as a person?
As an athlete Joe Warren is great. He is always in great shape, even at his advanced age. He is in great shape with great conditioning. He always has a good game plan. I don’t know him as a person but what I can say is that we are going to fight. I want to hit him hard. I want to hit him a lot. I want to hurt him. I want to be the champion with the most victories and title defenses in Bellator. That is all that is on my mind right now.
There seems to be a three-way dance at the top of the Bellator bantamweight division with yourself, Joe and Marcos Galvao. Do you see it that way?
That is something that has happened because we are three great athletes with a very high skill level. Now I consider myself the best bantamweight in the world. The world will see this on fight night. The world will be shocked. No one else will take this belt again. It will remain with me.
What do you want to do after you beat Warren?
After the win, Bellator will decide who the best opponent will be for me. My personal desire is to have a super fight with the champion in the featherweight division against the champion of the division. Daniel Straus is the current champion. I am thinking about that fight. I want to ask for a champion versus champion fight.
You said you are the best bantamweight on the planet. How would you beat Dominick Cruz, Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw?
Dominick Cruz and T.J. Dillashaw are great in part because of their footwork and the way they move. I have already fought these guys in my mind. I have a good game and skillset to match these guys. I can beat all these guys. I see them as great fights but there is no way those guys beat me with the way I am fighting right now.
What has been the fight of your life?
The Mike Richman fight. I had to change my whole game plan. I did an entirely different game plan. After that fight I found out I really can do whatever I want in the cage. I can go from striker to wrestler to grappler in the blink of an eye. That fight was a big eye opener for me and a great boost to my confidence.
What fighters do you enjoy watching as a fan?
There are so many. I don’t want to leave anyone out. Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, there are so many. I don’t want to leave anyone out. That wouldn’t be nice. Right now I am only thinking about Joe Warren and I’m not a fan.