Bellator 150: "Galvao vs. Dantas 2" comes to Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kan., this Friday night (Feb. 26, 2016). And a long-awaited rematch headlines the Spike TV-televised main card between current Bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao against former division kingpin Eduardo Dantas.
For Dantas, the opportunity to reclaim the title comes with a sense of confidence knowing he already holds one victory over the champ in a title fight. Three years ago, their roles were reversed as Galvao was the challenger and Dantas the confident champion.
Dantas may have had an easier road to victory, though, given Galvao had completed a grueling Bantamweight tournament, one that he won shortly after his mother had passed away. Indeed, the future champ may have been overwhelmed by the moment, but he was much more prepared when he made Joe Warren scream to claim the gold.
What does Dantas expect from Galvao this time around: The same man he knocked out a few years ago or a far more deadly Bantamweight champion? We find today in a recent exclusive interview with MMAmania.com.
***Please note this interview was done with the help of a translator, so some personal pronouns in the responses are adjusted to make the answers more clear.
Speaking of clarity, the nickname "DuDu" has a different meaning to American fans than Brazilian ones thanks largely to the pronunciation. Dantas explains to fight fans in the United States what it actually stands for.
"It comes from my name, because it's Ed-DU-ardo. Here in Brazil it's very normal for Eduardos to be called 'DuDu' because of (the sound) of the D-U."
I asked Dantas about the fact his last opponent, Mike Richman, not only managed to miss weight for the bout, but fail a PED test after he lost the match.
"I was waiting for that because he was too big. Mike was too big and was overweight so ... there was something strange in that. I was not surprised he failed (the drug test)."
Nevertheless, Dantas earned a title shot by beating "The Marine," who had won two straight Bantamweight fights via first round knockout, moving on to rematch Galvao this Friday night.
"I'm ready and prepared for this fight, I'm wanting this very much, and I'm feeling fine. It's different -- we are two different fighters now so I don't think it's the same. It's like different opponents. I'm very prepared and very much want to fight him."
Even though they've both clearly changed a lot in three years time, I was curious if Dantas would be satisfied to score a knockout again, this time to win a title instead of to defend it.
"I'd be very satisfied with another knockout, and much much more satisfied with the belt on my waist."
In the evolving chain of custody for that belt, Dantas lost the Bantamweight title to Joe Warren, who then lost the title to Marcos Galvao last year. Would Dantas like to avenge that loss to Warren if he reclaims the title?
"Yes, I'd like to fight with him any time but (for) now I'm very focused on my fight with Marcos Galvao."
Through the translator, Dantas told us he's walking around at about 70 kilos (154 pounds) before the fight. It's not inconceivable for fighters to be 15-20 pounds above their weight class before a bout, but given the aforementioned issues with Richman, I wanted to know if the trip to Kansas would make the cut difficult.
"The traveling is a little bit tiring, but I'll adapt. It's a little bit boring, but there's no way else (to get there)."
Dantas gave short and focused answers throughout the interview, which can be in part attributed to the time constraints we were under, but can also be read as how determined he is to beat Galvao a second time this weekend.
"There is just one way to improve and this way is training -- training a lot. So, that's what I'm doing."
Fight fans can look forward to seeing the improved Eduardo Dantas rematch Marcos Galvao on his quest to regain the Bellator Bantamweight title this Friday night inside Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kan., airing live on Spike TV.
Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.