Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley was recently released by Bellator for reasons relating to legal troubles the British welterweight had previously been experiencing. The release has led to speculation as to whether Daley will sign with another major MMA organisation, especially the UFC.
The hard-hitting fighter had three fights in the UFC back in 2009 and 2010, stopping both Martin Kampmann and Dustin Hazelett in the first round before beating beaten by Josh Koscheck via decision. Daley was released from the UFC after throwing a punch at Koscheck in the moments following their bout, which was marred by hate-filled trash talk between both fighters.
It was an incident highly condemned by UFC President Dana White, who said Daley would never fight for the UFC again following the post-fight punch. Three years later, Daley has fought for a variety of organisations, including Shark Fights, Strikeforce and Bellator, getting himself a 10-3 record along the way.
He has won his last four fights, which include a first round KO win over Rudy Bears at Bellator 72 and a second round stoppage of Rodrigo Ribeiro in Dubai. Semtex, who also has a history of missing weight for some of his fights, seems to have gotten past that issue as well, having made weight for his last six fights.
Despite his good behaviour in MMA following the Koscheck incident and his post-UFC performances, Dana White appears to have not warmed to the idea of giving Daley another shot in the Octagon. In a recent interview following Daley’s Bellator release, White said that Semtex did not want to return to the UFC.
That was strongly refuted by Semtex, however, who took to his Facebook page to address the comment. Daley said that, if given the chance, he would be open to fighting in the UFC once again.
“Given the opportunity, Dana, I would be right back in there, please just send me that contract,” Daley wrote.
The 30-year-old continues to be impressive in his victories and his stand-up appears to be as strong as ever. Semtex has also improved on his ground game, which was one of his prime weaknesses during his time in the UFC. There are a few potentially intriguing UFC matchups for Daley, should he and White eventually see eye to eye with one another.
A fight between Daley and Siyar Bahadurzada would likely be well received on a future UK or Sweden UFC card. Both fighters love the standing game and have some of the heaviest hands in the welterweight division today.
Another fight that could make for interesting viewing is one against German welterweight Pascal Krauss, which could also gain a lot of attention on a future European fight card. Krauss’ stand up has improved throughout his time in the UFC, which could make a fight against Daley a potentially entertaining one.
Fellow former Strikeforce fighter Jordan Mein may also be a good first opponent for Daley if he was to make a return to the Octagon. The 23-year-old Canadian lost his last fight by TKO against Matt Brown in a bout that earned fight of the night honours.
Mein’s balls-to-the-wall fight attitude along with Semtex’s love of throwing down makes the fight an alluring one that would be a good addition to the undercard of a future UFC event. It would also be a big confidence booster to the winner of that event, as both have had successful MMA careers to date.
Daley has expressed his openness in returning to the UFC for a second stint, but past indiscretions may be leading to the UFC brass thinking differently. Semtex certainly has more than a few MMA fights ahead of him, whether in the UFC or elsewhere.