Strikeforce welterweight number one contender, Paul Daley, is set to put it all on the line when he battles Yuya Shirai in the main event of the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) 5 event in Manchester, England, on Feb. 26, 2011.
"Semtex" will compete for the promotion's vacant welterweight belt, but in the process, he'll risk losing his position as the next challenger to vie for Strikeforce's 170-pound title.
Company president Scott Coker today confirmed the British bad boy's intentions, cautioning, however, that if Daley loses to the dangerous DEEP veteran at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena the contender deck would be "reshuffled" and he'd have to work his way back up the ladder.
Sounds like a gamble, but Daley -- who is never short on confidence -- more than likely likes his odds.
It's also entirely possible that Daley isn't even that interested in challenging for a Strikeforce championship. Not now, anyway.
Shortly after he annihilated Scott Smith in his promotional debut back in Dec. 2010, scoring what many believed was the "Knockout of the Year," Daley didn't set his crosshairs on division kingpin Nick Diaz. Instead, he preferred to "qualify" with another win over KJ Noons or even 155-pound champion, Gilbert Melendez.
Those fights never panned out. And now Diaz is set to defend his title against Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos this Saturday night (Jan. 29, 2011) in San Jose, leaving Daley free to compete overseas.
"Semtex" -- who is riding a three-fight win streak since being cut from the UFC early last year because of a cheap shot he unloaded on Josh Koscheck after their fight ended -- will have his hands full against Shirai, the reigning DEEP welterweight champion.
Shirai has won five straight fights and eight of his last nine appearances, dating back to 2008. The Japanese fighter has finished one quarter of his 20 opponents via submission, which is always an area of concern for the British brawler.
But, hey, when you've got dynamite packed into both fists and an ego the size of England, little things like that don't really matter much. At all.