Scottish UFC Light-Heavyweight Paul Craig has fired out a warning for his opponent – undefeated Russian Magomed Ankalaev (9-0) – and predicted the fight won’t go past the first round.
He said: “I’m going to knock him out or I’m going to choke him out. I don’t see it being a decision. I don’t train for a decision I train for a submission. If he’s silly enough to panic and take me to the ground, I will be able to stop anything he’s got.
“I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu all the time and I’m assuming he does Sambo but there’s guys out there who are Sambo and there’s guys out there who are BJJ and if you go to the ground with me I will make sure I rip an arm off.”
if you go to the ground with me I will make sure I rip an arm off
Craig (9-2) who admitted 2017 wasn’t great for him is looking to go back to basics and promises we will see a different ‘BearJew’ on March 17th.
He added: “Last year wasn’t a great one. I never recovered from losing – not just the mental side but everything that goes on with it. Then I got offered a fight in my home town and you never back down from a fight on your home soil.
“But it didn’t go the way we wanted. I took a lot of stick from people online. Now I’ve had a good break and we sat down and I went back to what got me into the UFC. We changed far too much up.
“We were trying to get better so I went to different places to train, changing up workouts. What we had originally was perfect and that’s what we went back to for this fight. I’m feeling a lot bigger and a lot stronger so you’re going to see the Paul you saw in 2016 in the UFC.
Craig isn’t worried about his undefeated opponent and feels he will give him plenty of problems.
“He’s unbeaten, he’s fighting in Russia. I don’t believe he’s fought the level of opponent I’ve fought and my only two losses were to top fighters.”
With it being the of Craig’s four-fight contract he is ready to battle to keep his place in the UFC.
He insisted: “UFC aren’t going to keep someone with three losses and one win on their record. I’ve never seen it done before and seen people be cut for less. They have given me this opportunity so I need to stop Ankalaev the way I stopped Henrique da Silva.
“I’ve stopped everybody apart from two and I’m going to go back to that way. I’m going to get that new contract and start battling my way up the rankings again.”
Craig also reacted to the recent news of a fight fan getting a tattoo of him.
I’m going to get that new contract and start battling my way up the rankings again
“It’s a weird feeling to inspire someone enough to get a tattoo of your face. Every time he sits down on the toilet I’m going to be looking at him because it’s right on his thigh. I follow The Rock and I see loads of people posting pictures of tattoos of him, so maybe that’s a start people now want ‘Bearjew’ tattoos.”
When it comes to traditions Craig says he always gets something to commemorate his fights.
He said: “I like to get something to remember the fight by so my fight against Tyson Pedro I got my arm tattooed. Khalil Rountree punched a hole through my face so I got my nose pierced to commemorate that, it’s something I do every time I fight, maybe I will get one of those lip discs for the next one like Black Panther.”
Craig also revealed he will be looking to get the win bonus for one big reason.
“I want to take my kids to Disneyland, it’s so hard to juggle training full time and spending time with the kids.”
And he had a message for his fans: “The love I feel from you is incredible and I’m sorry I let you down in 2017 – but I will make it up to you in 2018.”