Mike Richman (left) celebrates his first round knockout victory over Chris Horodecki (right). Photo via Bellator
But that's not the type of fighter he is. He was offered two easier undercard fights which would showcase his talents at 145 pounds before his inevitable invite into the Bellator season seven featherweight tournament later this fall.
Instead, he stepped up and volunteered to be IFL veteran Chris Horodecki's first opponent at 145 pounds, stepping into hostile territory to take on the fan favorite "Polish Hammer" in Windsor, Ontario, Canada last Friday night (April 6, 2012) on the Bellator 64 preliminary card.
The result? One of the most dominant and one-sided striking displays of the year. The former marine absolutely blistered Horodecki with a vicious stand-up assault, showcasing incredible hand speed and knocking the hometown favorite out cold in just 83 seconds.
With the victory, Richman punched his ticket emphatically into the next Bellator featherweight tournament and he spoke about his victory and his history during a recent guest appearance on Bloody Elbow Radio where he spoke with Matt Bishop.
Check out below to see what "The Marine" had to say.
For Richman, the good vibes from his incredible performance still haven't worn off yet.
"It hasn't worn off yet. I'm still pretty excited about it, still stoked. I knew before the fight that this was my opportunity to really make a name for myself and to make a big splash in the MMA world. I didn't want to go in there and get a decision, I wanted to really put it on him. I'm pretty excited to say the least."
A proud trainee at The Academy in Minnesota, Richman broke down exactly how he was able to finish Horodecki. He believes he caught the veteran completely off guard with his fighting style.
"I think he didn't know what to expect really when he saw my hand speed. I caught him off guard. I could see it in his eyes after I landed that first solid cross an I just continued to stick with my straight punches, my head movement and my footwork and boxing abilities to really throw him off. I was actually surprised he didn't adjust, maybe try to shoot or maybe his pride kicked in and he wanted to stay standing because he didn't want to get outgunned by me. He kinda has that really kickboxing, high volume, wide hooks, lot of punches which really plays into my style. I don't think he threw one straight cross. I definitely caught him off guard and just kept in his face to finish him off."
Richman has had his share of easier fights working his way up to the current position he's in. He felt that he'd have enough of them and that's why he was so quick to accept a bout with Horodecki in the first place. He had a lot on the line in case he came up short.
"I didn't take the easy route. I initially signed the tournament contract. I was supposed to go into the fall tournament, was supposed to have two undercard fights before that and I didn't want to go fight local cans. I've done that enough. I wanted to prove to all the haters that I have that I could compete. Once they said Chris Horodecki, I said I wanted that fight. I understood that my tournament spot was there to lose, but I wanted that fight and they made that happen."
Richman earned his nickname "The Marine" because he was once enlisted. He got out of the corps to purse and career in mixed martial arts and described his path where he currently stands today.
"When I was coming towards the end of my marine career before I got out in 2008, I was a huge fan of MMA. As a kid, I was a huge boxing fan so I always felt like I had this 'born fighter" mentality and I just knew inside I had what it took to compete in mixed martial arts and be successful at it and that's kind of one of the reasons I got out of the marine corps was to pursue fighting. I remember my platoon sergeant at the time, gunnery sergeant Blanco told me, "Really? You're gonna get out and start fighting?" He didn't think I was serious. I just kept on grinding. I knew if I kept going out there, kept grinding and winning and taking advantage of that opportunity, it would come."
If the name Mike Richman rings a bell, it's because this wasn't his first opportunity at the big time. He tried out for season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter as a lightweight but failed to win his bout to get into the house. He knew that was a tremendous opportunity that he had blown, but it didn't deter him from working his way back to securing another shot.
"A lot of people don't know that I was on TUF 12 for the short seconds I was on there. I lost a decision to Aaron Wilkinson. It was out of my weight class and I didn't perform to my capabilities. I wasn't ready then. I wasn't with the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy then training with high level guys. I missed out on that opportunity and my biggest concern was I wanted that second chance. My biggest worry was, you never hear from those guys again. People that don't make it into the house, you never hear about them again. I didn't want to be that guy to never be heard from again. I wanted to make it. That was another motivation to get out there and dominate."
Richman closed the interview by explaining exactly what you should be looking out for whenever you see him step into the cage in the upcoming months.
"I think fans should be on the look out for me for exactly what I did on Friday. I'm gonna bring that in every fight. I'm gonna have exciting fights. I'm gonna have those "Bellator moments" and I'm gonna give them the flash. I'm gonna give them the knockouts, the TKOs and I'm gonna give them what they want and what they pay to come see for the people that are in the live audience and I'm gonna give people what they want to see on TV on Friday nights. I'm trying to make a name for myself. I love this sport and I want to do this for a while."
You call follow Mike Richman on Twitter @MikeUSMCRichman.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
How impressed were you with Richman's first round destruction of Horodecki last weekend? Did he show enough for you to think he has a shot at winning the next Bellator featherweight tournament?