Luke Trainer beat his demons after his last fight. Now he’s looking to beat Lucas Alsina and return to form inside the Bellator cage.

English light heavyweight Trainer is still making his way through the early stages of his MMA career, and as he prepares for his upcoming assignment against Argentina’s Alsina at Bellator 287, he revealed how he dealt with his first major career setback.

Trainer was defeated by unanimous decision by Simon Biyong at Bellator 281 in London in May as he suffered the first loss of his professional career. It was a bout that was broadcast on national TV in the UK, and held on Trainer’s home soil in London, England. It was also a stinging first experience of defeat inside the Bellator cage, and he admitted that it took a little time to get past the mental challenges of coping with that loss.

“It was a weird one,” he explained during media day ahead of fight night in Milan, Italy. 

“Physically, I have a little scar above my left eye now. I had a couple of injuries after, but nothing crazy.

“Mentally, it was new for me. I would walk through my local supermarket and I remember being embarrassed to be me. Carrying the name of Luke Trainer, it means a lot to me, so yeah, that was new. Being embarrassed to be myself, not wanting to be seen in public. I had created this self-image of me that I had never really seen before. 

“That took a while for me to get over but, like I said, I’m glad it happened early because now I recognise that, and recognised the dark demons and stuff that you can get yourself into. So, I learned some lessons from that, but mentally it did take a while for me to get out of that hole. 

“But I’ll be honest, now it’s just fuelled the fire. It’s just added more fuel, that’s all I can say. It’s made me a lot more violent, made me a lot more professional, a lot more prepared in training camp, and I’m just taking everything up a little notch, so I’m glad it happened the way it did.”

Since that loss, Trainer has gone back to the drawing board and made positive changes to his approach in order to help him bounce back. 

“I’ve changed a lot,” he revealed. 

“I’ve completely changed teams. I’ve moved camps, from Titan MMA to Great Britain Top Team. I’ve hired a new boxing coach to sharpen my hands, I’ve gone to a lot of great grappling schools. 

“I think I needed the loss so I could learn where the holes were in my game. It’s worked out in my favour, so hopefully the changes will show on Saturday night.”

And Trainer was gushing in his praise for his new gym at Great Britain Top Team, where he’ll work under the tutelage of UK MMA legend Brad “One Punch” Pickett. 

“Ashleigh Grimshaw and Brad Pickett are the head coaches over there, and the environment is crazy. We’ve got UFC fighters, Bellator fighters, KSW, PFL, every promotion you can think of are under that banner.

“The way the gym’s run is great. I love Micky Papas from Titan MMA – I’ve still got a real close relationship with him – but it kind of ran its course; it was time to move on and change up my training a little bit and adapt. 

“I’m really glad I did it, I think it was a great decision. I think you’re going to see that on Saturday. I’m surrounded by killers, I’m surrounded by absolute professional savages, and it’s made me a better fighter already. You’re going to see the results on Saturday. I’m a different animal now.”

Trainer takes on Alsina at the Allianz Cloud in Milan on Saturday night, and he plans on using the bout as a launchpad for a big year in 2023.

“I’m going to finish Lucas Alsina inside 15 minutes. What happens in 2023 is up to Bellator. I want to be active. I want minimum three fights next year. There’s a Dublin card in February next year. There’s a London card, I think, in March. Like I said, I’m a different animal now. I’ve got to prove myself – all this talk is great – but you’re going to see it on Saturday. I’ll put this man away and move on to the next one.”