Saad Awad has a distinguished career as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. He owns a 17-6 record with seven knockouts and seven submissions, showing just how balanced and well rounded he is as a pro. He's also won five of his last seven inside the Bellator cage.
One name in particular sticks out for Awad, when he faced a young and hungry fighter who just might have been a little overconfident stepping into the cage with him -- and Awad only needed 43 seconds to teach him some humility.
That man is current Bellator lightweight champion "Ill" Will Brooks.
To date, Awad is the only man to hand Brooks a loss, although Dave Jansen will try to be the second at Bellator 136 on April 10. Meanwhile, Awad will be fighting earlier in the night against Manchester, England's own Rob Sinclair, a 12-2 veteran with five straight wins dating back to 2010.
Saad Awad talked to MMAmania.com about his upcoming fight, his experience fighting Will Brooks twice, and whether or not he has any pointers for Dave Jansen in the Friday night main event on Spike TV. Awad is proud of having beaten the champ, but can't help but think he could be the top dog himself.
"It's bittersweet. It's sweet knowing that you did it, and then bitter knowing he has the belt and I don't, you know what I mean? So it's kind of one of those things that just pushes me to train even harder to work my way back up to hopefully get a title shot."
With two wins in a row and three out of the last four going Awad's way, the Bellator veteran is putting together a resume that might earn him that third match against Brooks, but he's looking directly at Rob Sinclair standing in his way on Friday night.
"I like this fight because he comes and he likes to fight. He's not going to sit there and make it a boring fight, so I don't think there's a fight that the fans are going to enjoy more than me and him."
Awad will be keeping a close eye on the main event as Will Brooks and Dave Jansen go toe-to-toe, and he's got a few pointers for Jansen based on his own personal experience.
"Wrestle! Wrestle, wrestle, wrestle. If you stop wrestling, he'll control the fight. As long as you keep moving and wrestling, you should be good. Don't do what I did and think you can pull off a submission off your back. Wrestle, wrestle, and wrestle and get up, move and grapple, you know? Keep moving, don't stop moving."
Awad's other piece of advice is to eat healthy to be healthy, something he's picked up ever since switching to a largely vegetarian diet.
"I do eat fish, but overall almost all of my protein comes from plants. I've noticed it's kept me really healthy, it's kept my cardio up, I enjoy it a lot both health-wise and training-wise."
If that sounds eerily familiar, it's because his friend and training partner Georgi Karakhanyan feels the same way, which naturally leads one to ask how Karakhanyan's preparations are going ahead of his bout against featherweight champion Patricio Freire.
"Georgi improves by the hour. People don't believe me when I tell them this, but that kid is good, and he gets better. Every time I train with him he has something new. He's gotten so much better in the last couple of years."
An ever-improving fighter in his own right, Saad Awad is ready for Rob Sinclair on Friday night. The complete audio of our interview with Awad is below, and MMAmania.com will have full fight coverage on April 10.