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Bellator 156 interview: Chris Honeycutt plans to 'break' Mikkel Parlo on Spike TV

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Bellator 156: "Galvao vs. Dantas" comes to Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., this Friday night (June 17, 2016), featuring a main event between Bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao against former division kingpin Eduardo Dantas.

Earlier in the evening, two Middleweight contenders with title aspirations will collide when Mikkel Parlo -- once a Bellator tournament finalist -- looks to get back on the road to a title shot after being derailed by the striking of "Irish" Brennan Ward at Bellator 107 back in 2013.

He'll have to do it at the expense of Chris Honeycutt, who is also familiar with having his train taken off the track to a title. "The Cutt" was an undefeated young prospect who had fought his way onto Bellator's Spike TV-televised cards, but in 40 seconds Paul Bradley dealt him a devastating setback in a Bellator 148 rematch.

Now, as these two fighters collide at Bellator 156, they'll have to work to outshine Brandon Halsey and John Salter, who are also seeking their place in line to fight Rafael Carvalho. Honeycutt recently spoke with about how excited he is to be fighting in Fresno again.

"Yeah, it's good! I get to train in my own gym, I get to have all the essentials that I need around me, and I get to sleep in my own bed (then) go in and take care of business. I don't have to worry about the flight and the connections and 'Where is the supermarket? Where am I staying? Where is the sauna?' All those questions that I don't want to get off the bed to go find out."

One might think that the reason Honeycutt wanted this fight with Parlo is because it's so convenient for him locally, but he vows that's not his motivation to fight so soon again after Bellator 153.

"After my Matt Secor fight I didn't have any damage done. I came out almost blemish-free. I've always been asking to be a little more active and they're taking care of me like they always have. They were looking for an opponent at Welterweight and whatnot, but I was talking to my managers and they thought it was a good idea to go up to Middleweight and see if that translates well."

It's not the first time Honeycutt has fought at 185 pounds; in fact, he was the UPC Middleweight champion from 2013-2014. That's not just a bar scan product code -- it's the aptly named "Up & Comers" promotion in California.

"The promoter is Jason Weiner, and I've only fought Middleweight with him. My first four professional fights were with UPC, and I did get the UPC Middleweight champion's belt before signing with Bellator. I spent the first three years of my career trying to become smaller so I could actually make the Welterweight division. When I first came out of college I was WAY too big, there was no way I could make Welterweight. It took time to shape my body."

So now that Honeycutt is coming full circle back to Middleweight, how does he feel about facing a man who was once a Bellator Middleweight tournament finalist?

"That makes it even better! What a good way to open up into Middleweight division, huh? I mean, to get a win or a TKO on Mikkel Parlo as my debut at Middleweight for Bellator, that is a statement ... and I look forward to making it."

And if things go well with Parlo in Fresno, Honeycutt would like to fight again as soon as possible.

"I'd like to fight again by the end of the year. I can't say I'm confident 100 percent that I'm going to come out of this one unscathed -- Mikkel Parlo is a pretty good striker -- but I don't see him getting very many good strikes while he's on his back or his stomach. If I stick to the gameplan and the gameplan goes well I should come out of this not too banged up and I'll be asking for another."

It's hard to miss the obvious conclusion that Honeycutt plans to use his Division I All-American wrestling pedigree from Edinboro University to put Parlo on his back often. For Honeycutt, though, that's just a means to an end.

"Obviously, I'm not just gonna rush in there like a meatball and figure I'll double (leg) him. I'll poke at the pocket, I'll see what he's doing, what his camp was like and see how active he's going to be. He will get taken down. I can't tell you which round, that's up to him. His will will break, and that's when I'll start opening up for big shots. On the feet, alongside the cage, or ground and pound -- I seem to have a knack for that."

The "meatball" comment made me think he still regrets his performance in the rematch with Paul Bradley, and Honeycutt chalks it up as a learning experience from which to grow.

"Eight months passed before the rematch, it's in my hometown, the crowd's going wild. I walked in and when the bell rang it's almost like round three, when really it's round one again. It's like 'Round three -- let's go in there and just beat him up' because I had all of the adrenaline going. I stepped in the pocket like a meatball and started swinging. When you take two good fighters and you stick 'em in the pocket it's like a coin flip. It's a Russian roulette for sure. Cardio's not a factor - it's just who lands first. I learned my lesson that no matter how good my hands go, I will not step into the pocket and stay there throwing bombs 30 seconds into the first round."

Honeycutt is a wiser man for the experience and plans to put that experience to the test this weekend inside Save Mart Center ... don't miss it!

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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