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Bellator 142: Meet Mike Bronzoulis, the Greek 'Conor McGregor of Bellator MMA'

Bellator MMA

The script for the triumphant reunion of former Strikeforce Lightweight champion Josh Thomson and his former boss, Scott Coker, appears to already be written.

Mike Bronzoulis, however, would like to write a different ending.

Bronzoulis has seen the mountain top once before in Bellator, but the summit eluded his grasp. After running the gauntlet of Bellator MMA's "Fight Master" reality series, the last step in his ascent was to face former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Joe "Diesel" Riggs to crown the show's winner.

The match was initially postponed because of an eye injury, but when it finally took place, Bronzoulis lost a unanimous decision.

It was the start of a rough period for Bronzoulis in general. Bellator didn't keep him in the fold after the loss, and he dropped his next two fights on the independent scene before reinventing himself in Legacy FC with three straight wins.

After capturing the vacant Legacy FC Lightweight title, Bellator gave him a call and offered him a second chance. Things will not get any easier, though, as Bronzoulis is paired opposite Thomson at Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1," which takes place this Saturday night (Sept. 19, 2015) at SAP Center in San Jose, California.

Bellator President Scott Coker has to be thrilled for the San Jose native and former Strikeforce Lightweight champion Thomson, but as Bronzoulis makes clear in this interview with, he expects big things at the expense of "Punk."

"I realize I have a very tough test ahead of me, but so does he. We're definitely going to make a great fight that night. I plan on making that the 'Fight of the Night' that everybody's going to be talking about."

Bronzoulis calls this the most important fight of his career -- and with nearly 30 fights under his belt and 30 years of experience in martial arts -- he's setting the bar as high as it can possibly go.

"Let me tell you something. I am the Greek Conor McGregor, but of Bellator. They have no idea what they've signed, but I'm going to show them September 19th ... and I'm going to take over this organization."

Now that's a bold statement, but it's no less bold than what Bronzoulis says he'll do to Thomson, who he feels already mentally checked out of MMA before this fight even takes place.

"I've heard him say in an interview he maybe has one fight left in him, so that lets me know where his mind is at. (In) his mind he's been there he's done that. He may or may not be as hungry as he used to be. He was a world champion, he's still one of the greatest fighters of all time in the Lightweight division, but I really believe I can take his words and use them against him and make him revisit those thoughts."

Bronzoulis doesn't just want to prove he can beat a legend like "Punk" -- he wants to prove that the Mike Bronzoulis you saw when Bjorn Rebney was in charge of Bellator is not even the same man.

"I was betrayed in the end. (Joe) Riggs told me about certain coaches -- not Randy (Couture) or anybody in this current camp -- but certain coaches had told him about my injuries leading up to the fight. I was just really pissed off. I was fighting for $100,000 and I left with nothing. Bjorn took everything from me that night. I left with nothing. I left with zero and I had rent due and I was just so furious I just wanted out of my contract and they made me buy out of it so I did."

There are two sides to every story in life, and we don't know Mr. Rebney's side of it, but we do know that Bronzoulis says that all of his issues were with Rebney and not the promotion. With Coker now in charge, Bronzoulis believes he can thrive and be a menace to the entire 155-pound division.

"I'm a wrestler's worst nightmare. I'm gonna win against Josh, and then whoever else they put in front of me, I'm going to win. It doesn't matter what they can do, what they specialize in. You can't teach heart, and you can't teach the will that I've got."

And if you had any doubt that Bronzoulis believes he can be the Conor McGregor of Bellator MMA, just look at what he has to say about a future potential opponent if he beats Thomson.

"Will Brooks is Will Brooks, but he doesn't have the will that I've got in my heart. I'm gonna fight my fight and I believe my beats all their styles put together. You can't compete with that. I'm like Randy Couture with Lyoto Machida stand up."

The complete audio of our interview with Bronzoulis is below, and complete coverage of "Dynamite 1" on Sept. 19, 2015, at will be right here.


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