Bellator tournament champion Douglas “The Phenom” Lima will be making his return to the cage, Sept. 20, in the main event of Bellator 100 against rival Ben Saunders in the finals of the Bellator Season 8 Welterweight tournament.
Lima, who is also a MFC Welterweight champion, had previously met Saunders in 2011 where he defeated the “Killa B,” by knockout in the second round. He was originally supposed to meet Saunders in July. Unfortunately, a hand injury sidelined Lima from competition.
The Phenom took some time out of his schedule to answer some questions from Fansided.com.
All right Douglas, you’ve got a big fight coming up this Friday, I’ll get to that in a moment. I kind of want to ask first, how’s the hand my man?
It’s doing great. It’s finally healed up 100 percent. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to do this again.
What was that rehabilitation process like, healing it up?
It was actually horrible. I was supposed to be training for the July fight and then I busted the hand. I’m glad that’s over with. I’m now 100 percent and I’m ready for this fight.
And what a fight it is. You’ve got Ben Saunders. You previously beat him to win the Bellator Season 5 Tournament. Now you’re fighting in the tournament finals and it’s not just any Bellator event. It’s Bellator 100. It’s a pretty big event. What’s going through your mind right now as the event gets closer?
It’s pretty awesome. We’re in the main event of an important show. It’s an important fight for me, it’s the biggest in my career. It’s the tournament finals. It feels really good. I’m happy to be a part of this main event of this card. I’m ready to throw down and show everything that I got that night.
You’ve beaten Ben before. What are some of the things you’re going to be doing differently, or is it just the same stuff as before?
I think Ben is going to try and clinch more and maybe go to the ground, but at the same time he’s a great striker. He just finished his last fight by KO. I think we’re going to start the feeling out process and throw some hard hands. I think maybe we’ll stay standing. But I’m prepared. Wherever the fight takes me, I’m going to be ready for it.
Looking through your career highlights, I saw you were MFC Welterweight champion and REDLINE Grand Prix champion. What was that transition like going from a smaller promotion to a bigger one like Bellator, which has grown to be the second biggest promotion in the world, or the U.S at least. ?
I loved it. I loved it man. It was a good transition and came from MFC and I was the world champion there. I came to Bellator to do the same thing. It didn’t work the first time around, but I’m sure it will this time. I’m going to win this tournament and win that belt. That’s my goal in Bellator is to be the champion. I just cannot wait to have that belt around my waist.
Heck yeah. Speaking of Ben Askren, I guess he’s a free agent now. His future is kind of up in the air. I’m throwing a “what if” scenario, but if you beat Saunders again, are you hoping to get that crack at Askren and maybe avenging that loss or are you kind of waiting to see if Bellator will award the winner of this tournament the belt, or maybe putting you against the winner of the next tournament?
That’s what I’m thinking they are going to do. Put me – not that I’m saying I’m going to win the fight – against the winner of this tournament that’s starting at the same day. I don’t know what the situation is going to be with Ben Askren. I know the process is going to be a long one. I don’t know if Bellator is just going to let him go to the UFC or if they’re going to try and negotiate with him. I’m just preparing to fight for the title. That’s my my main thing right now. I don’t care if it’s Askren. I don’t care if it’s the winner of this next tournament. I’m ready for that title, I can’t wait for it. Like I said, it’s my goal and I’m looking forward to it and I know I’m going to get it.
Is there anything else you would like to add? What can fans expect from you in this fight?
Yeah, just thank you to all the fans. They should expect a very explosive fight. I’m very prepared. I want to show the fans a fight that they will remember forever. And thank you to all my sponsors. Again to the fans, thank you for everything. I’m just happy to be back in the cage and I expect a great fight.
That’s all I have. Thanks Douglas.
Not a problem, thanks for having me bro.