Bellator 197: “Chandler vs. Girtz” comes to Family Center Arena in St. Charles, Mo., this Friday night (April 13, 2018), featuring former Lightweight champion “Iron” Michael Chandler (17-4) against fellow long-time promotion veteran, Brandon Girtz (15-7), in the main event of the evening.
Earlier in the night, two rising stars of the Welterweight division — “Storm” Logan Storley (7-0) and Joaquin Buckley (8-1) — will get their time to shine under the bright lights of the main card. Buckley certainly appreciates the opportunity — he’s fighting very close to home in St. Louis, coming in hot with back-to-back wins over Justin Patterson and Vinicius de Jesus.
Storley is just as impressive, though. Hailing from the mean streets of Webster, S.D., Storley has finished almost all of his opponents to date as a professional, with the resilient Matt Secor most recently taking him to the judges scorecards at Bellator 186.
MMAmania.com recently chatted with Storley about his quest to improve to keep his perfect MMA record intact, having to fight against the hometown favorite, and like every fighter of late his take on Conor McGregor’s rampage.
“Obviously, that was planned before he got there, because otherwise his bodyguards and everyone else.... I mean, it wouldn’t have happened. It was definitely planned but, it got a little more out of hand than he thought it was going to. But, you know, he’ll pay his fine and do whatever and have his charges against him. But, if he does fight Khabib (Nurmagomedov), how many more pay-per-views did that just sell?”
It’s hard to say that McGregor’s future payday is justified by six other fighters losing theirs as a result of his behavior. Storley’s take on it, though, is that Conor’s Gonna Conor, regardless of the consequences.
“Yeah — and that’s what he’s been doing. You know, he’s been doing that for his last few fights. You know, and so, that’s just — that’s him. That’s what he does and whether that’s how to do it (or not) you know there’s only one Conor. I guess for me that’s not who I am. It doesn’t affect my life or what I do as an athlete or how I conduct myself.”
At this point we should all be thankful there’s only one Conor McGregor. Moving on, though, Storley does have an important fight coming up at Bellator 197 against the locally popular Joaquin Buckley.
“That’s good for him, but it really doesn’t make a difference once he steps in the cage so I’m not too worried about it.”
There’s little for Storley to worry about with 85 percent of his fights (six of seven) being finished and 71 percent of all his matches ending in round one. You might think that would be the reason for his “Storm” nickname, but Storley calls it a happy accident.
“I think it was more of a thing in college. I don’t use it that much. I don’t use it when they announce me so I guess it was just my Twitter handle. Yeah, I don’t know why I chose that. I think it just sounded good.”
Coincidence or not, it would be apropos to his fight style, which Storley describes as a consequence of his work ethic leading up to each match.
“Yeah I can throw shots and not be worried about getting taken down and I’m not worried about getting tired. You know, you’re gonna get tired in a fight. That’s gonna happen. It’s just the fact that ... can you mentally push on? It might look sloppy, it might not look perfect, but there’s not a lot of guys who have been through a college grind that fight in Bellator or UFC. Very few guys understand what that’s truly like.”
One of the guys who does understand is fellow University of Minnesota alum Brock Lesnar. Storley has received invaluable advice from Lesnar in wrestling as a very young man.
“I’ve wrestled since I was five years old. Brock Lesnar’s from my home town (of Webster) so I spent some time with him as a freshman and sophomore when he lived in Alexandria and trained out of his Death Clutch gym over there. I’d go up there and see him. Then I had three amateur fights in high school, and then my senior year I went back up to Brock’s and got to spend time with Tony Ferguson when he was on The Ultimate Fighter. That’s kind of when I knew this is what I want to do after I was done competing in college.”
Check this out:
Even if Lesnar wasn’t the hometown hero and a childhood mentor, there’s no doubt Storley would have followed the twists and turns of Lesnar’s career like the rest of us. To Storley, it’s extra impressive though to see what a kid from South Dakota can achieve.
“It’s cool to see a guy from your same hometown, small town, be successful and you know he’s helped me out along the way, so obviously I appreciate it.”
I asked Storley if there’s something special in the water for a town of only about 1,900 people to continually turn out great wrestlers and future fighters.
“There’s something about a small Midwest town’s blue collar mentality of hard work. Waking up during the winter every morning, it’s minus five degrees outside, but you still have to go about your day. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how cold it is, doesn’t matter how you feel. I grew up on a farm, my dad was a farmer, and it didn’t matter how he felt — work still needed to be done. Cows still need to be fed, fields, etc. That’s something that you take with you now (in fighting).”
Now is the time for the fruits of all that labor to pay off in a main card fight with Joaquin Buckley.
“He’s an explosive southpaw, you know he’s a tough kid, he’s a good kid and has a wrestling background as well. I’m prepared. I’ve been back here since January getting ready, just improving, and I’m ready for this fight. He’s a tough kid and at this level that’s what it is. Everyone you fight is tough.”
Look forward to a tough, gritty fight between two hard working kids at Bellator 197 in Missouri this weekend. Meanwhile, complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Chandler vs. Girtz” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.
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