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Interview: Bellator 140's Andrey Koreshkov vows to do 'everything possible' to defeat Douglas Lima

Russian fighter Andrey Koreshkov has only one blemish on his record -- a loss to former Bellator fighter Ben Askren in a 170-pound title match. He'll get a second chance at gold on tomorrow night against "The Phenom."

Bellator MMA

Two years ago at Bellator 97 in New Mexico, Andrey Koreshkov suffered his only loss to date as a mixed martial arts (MMA) professional, a fourth round technical knockout against then-champion Ben Askren. Koreshkov may have been more surprised than anyone given Askren is known more as a wrestler than as a finisher.

Since 2013 Koreshkov has been working his way back to a second chance at gold, running off four straight wins with two technical knockout and two decision victories. His flying knee finish of Justin Baseman last year was one for the Bellator highlight reels.

Bellator MMA expected Paul "Semtex" Daley to challenge current champion Douglas Lima back in February at "British Invasion," but Lima withdrew from the fight because of an injury. Although Daley won his replacement fight that night, he is booked to battle Dennis Olson at Bellator 140 tomorrow night, the same event that will see Koreshkov challenge aforementioned division champion, Lima, in the Spike TV-televised main event.

Koreshkov is more than happy to take his place and his title shot. And he recently spoke with about getting another chance at gold tomorrow evening inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and how being out for one year works to his advantage.

"For any fighter the long layoff is not good, but I'm trying to look at it differently. Due to the (shoulder) injury and rehabilitation period after the surgery, I was able to rest a little bit. However I was still training and doing cardio work, anything I could do to not bother my shoulder. After that thanks to the time off I was able to concentrate on the different technical aspects of the game. I think that eventually this year of not fighting made me a much better fighter."

An improved "Spartan" sounds like a dangerous man in the cage, but Koreshkov knows Lima presents a challenge equal to his improved skill set and ability.

"His stronger side obviously is the power of his punches. I think in all of his fights he punches really, really hard. Any opponent will feel his strikes -- even if you block them you still feel them. If you can't block them he will most likely knock you out."

The title shot is by all rights Koreshkov's after winning the Season 10 tournament by defeating Adam McDonough, but it is an interesting proposition to have Daley on the same card given he originally got the shot ahead of Koreshkov.

"Speaking of the title shot order, I think it is my title shot. I earned it by winning the eight-man tournament, while Paul Daley was just signed afterward and for some reason he was mentioned as the potential title contender. So it's my title shot and I can see (me) fighting Paul Daley at some time in the future. I think it's going to be a good fight, but, I think that a fight against Paul Daley is a much easier fight for me than against Douglas Lima."

Daley might disagree. The entire Bellator 140 main card is stacked with welterweights, which makes it an unofficial tournament where the most impressive winner could wind up with the next title shot.

"Having all other guys at welterweight fighting at the same event is good because everybody will be able to see the best welterweight fighters that Bellator has right now, and they will be able to showcase their skills ... their abilities. The next title contender could be evaluated after this event."

With the recent changes to how fighters in other promotions are allowed to rehydrate after a weight cut, the amount of weight fighters can cut safely is a hot topic, but Koreshkov feels that just means some welterweights can't cut it.

"When I see fighters lying on the ground half dead, because they've been cutting 25-30 pounds in one or two days, I never felt like that. For me it doesn't matter how much weight I will gain the next day after the weigh in, because I think that my opponents won't have a significant weight advantage over me."

The bottom line for Koreshkov is that he's walking around lean and healthy, he's had one year off to improve physically and mentally, and he couldn't be more ready for his second chance.

"I will do everything possible to prove it inside the cage."

The complete audio of our interview is below, and complete Bellator 140 coverage is at all weekend long.

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