There is an old saying; “All bad happenings open the door to the good one.” Well it’s a close translation of a very old saying in Spanish but you get the idea.
Sometimes in life when things go exactly opposite from what we want them to be we get frustrated, angry, and some even lose the will to go on and keep on fighting. That is not the case with MMA fighter, Paul Bradley.
Bradley, who had a taste of UFC life while participating at seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, is no stranger to adversity in his career.
After winning his initial fight on the show, Bradley was removed from the TUF house do to a contagious skin infection. Sometime later Bradley signs with the now Zuffa-owned promotion Strikeforce where he won his first fight.
After taking a fight in a weight class above his own, Bradley was cut from Strikeforce is somewhat of a shady manner. Since then Bradley has been fighting in the regional circuits and has become a master of self-promotion and marketing through Facebook where he has had no shortage of support from his friends and MMA fans.
After gathering a string of wins and a bunch of finishes, Paul Bradley received the call he had been waiting for his whole fighting career—the UFC offering a fight.
On short notice, Bradley is entering the Octagon to face Rafael Natal, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player who has 12 victories, seven of those by submission.
The MMA Truth caught up with Paul Bradley just days before his fight and this is what he had to say:
TMT’s Angel R. Cordero: First let me thank you for taking time to sit and chat with us and congratulations for getting back on the big show. How are you?
Paul Bradley: I’m feeling great man, thanks! On an off day today, this past Saturday I fought, won by submission. Talking to my manager before the fight we knew the plan was to go in and out as soon as possible, thought maybe after that fight I was maybe getting a call from the UFC which to be honest I didn’t think it would be this soon.
I have been training for the past three months and I feel great. No injuries, my hands are good and it’s just a great opportunity.
So, going back a little bit before we talk about your fight, last year you got cut by Strikeforce in a really weird way and in that process, up until today, I have seen you market and promote yourself on Facebook and other social networks, selling tickets for fights and inviting fans over to the events.
What does the support of all those fans who followed you mean to your right now that you have this new chance of going into the big stage in the world of MMA?
Man, it means everything to me. The fans up on Facebook, you know, thanks for the support, I love you all. This past couple years have been a tough road but I’ve taken it and now I’m back in the UFC.
All that that happened in The Ultimate Fighter and Strikeforce, all that was a blessing in disguise. Up until then I was a pure wrestler but this past couple of years have given me the chance to move out to Minnesota and really turned my game around and became a more complete fighter.
After everything that happened with Strikeforce and the way you were cut—which in my opinion was a very unprofessional thing to do, and everything you have been through since, has it ever crossed your mind that the same people who cut you have to watch you step up to the big show while they themselves are about to disappear?
Well, you know, the whole deal with Strikeforce was very odd. I won my first fight with them at my weight class, 170, and then I was asked to take a fight with Luke Rochhold, an up-and-coming start for them. It was either take the fight or sit on a bench so they called again and, you know, it had been six months in between fights so, you know…
I actually thought is was a good matchup and I should’ve probably taken it to the ground and make it a boring fight but I went out there and I went after him because I thought it was what Strikeforce and the fans wanted to see and I did end up with a loss. Never thought that I’d get cut after going 1-1 and putting on a good show.
I got my release three months later, called my manager to see what was up and after communicating with Strikeforce he got back to me and told me that no, they hadn’t communicated with their office in San Jose and it all got messed up.
So I took a couple fights outside the organization and then I found out that my contract had actually been cut. There was some dishonesty; I wish they would’ve just told me right off the bat that I was getting cut.
Things happen for a reason and at the moment it was bad but I’ve become a better fighter from it.
What was the first thing that went through your mind at the moment you learned the UFC was calling you to take this fight?
First thing I thought was “I’m in shape, I’m ready to go.” It is a great opportunity and a chance like this is what I’ve been looking for for four years since The Ultimate Fighter show.
I feel ready, I’m coming off a submission win, no injuries, and I feel good so I jumped at the opportunity I’m looking to go in there and messing someone up.
You are facing Rafael Natal, what can you tell me about your first opponent in the UFC?
We were actually set to fight in another organization years ago but he got injured and the fight never materialized. I know he’s a very good grappler and very tough. I definitely have to be careful in those ground situations with him. He is a dangerous opponent but I happen to feel really strong for this fight.
But it’s going to be a 185 affair right?
Fun fact is that Natal was actually slated to fight Constantinos Philippou who moved on to replace Alessio Sakara who had to drop out of yet another fight against Jorge Rivera who you know is a fellow Puerto Rican and that has drawn a lot of attention from local fans here.
Anything you would like to tell those fans here inPuerto Rico?
Man, just thank you! I have a lot of friends from Puerto Rico on Facebook and I really do appreciate all the fans that have stuck behind me. They took me through all the ups and downs I’ve been through in my career and I just have to be consistent. I never gave up and I always knew one day I would get the shot at being in the biggest MMA show in the world. So, thanks to all the fans.
Are you planning at 185 or are you coming down to 170 after this fight?
Yeah, right after this fight I’ll be dropping down to 170 where I belong. Like I said, UFC wanted me to step up, I was willing to do that. They actually called me three weeks ago to face Charlie Brenneman after his opponent fell sick with pneumonia. It was supposed to be a catchweight at 175 on a four days notice but it didn’t fall through.
But they got back at me with this fight on two weeks notice and here I am.
Anyone in particular you’d like to face at 170?
There are various guys, I’d like to avenge my loss to Mike Pierce for example but other than that I don’t really call out guys, I just fight whoever the UFC tells me to fight. I don’t hold grudges, it’s all about me facing the best possible fighters in the world.
So, whoever they get me that’s who I’ll fight. I don’t turn down fights, I don’t choose my opponents so, I take the fight that is offered and I believe that’s what a true fighter does.
Amazing. Again, I have to congratulate you because you have shown what being persistent and not being a quitter is all about. We truly admire that in you and we will be behind you all the way.
Thank you Angel, and thank you to all my fans and friends in Puerto Rico. You guys have been nothing but great sticking with me through think and thin and never giving up on me when a lot of fans would’ve given up on a fighter.
Well, after the fight you have to come visit the fans here. Try to hunt for a bonus ‘cause if you get that bonus then you can come down and party with us.
Oh man, I’m all about finishing fights now. My last fights have all been finishes so, I’ll definitely go on the hunt for a bonus. You are definitely not listening to the last third-round bell ring that’s for sure.
Cool! Any shoutouts you’d like to send out?
Sure, big shoutout to GetSumFightGear.com who are my sponsors for this fight. Ruben Chavez who is a hometown friend who has been helping me a lot. Punch Drunk Gamer who has been sponsoring me on some of these smaller shows and has been getting me a lot of attention.
I also want to thank my team Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts Academy that have been nothing but perfect. Greg Nelson and all of my training partners, Nick Lentz, Jabob Volkmann, guys like that. Also thank the people from Punch Gear who treated me great and made me feel like family, thank you all.
Awesome, it is my pleasure and it is an honor to be your friend on Facebook and be able to support you. Looking forward to your entrance in the Octagon come Saturday.
Thank you and I really appreciate you guys having me on and promoting this fight.
From all of us here at The MMA Truth inPuerto Ricoand all the MMA fans around the world, we wish Paul Bradley nothing but good things both in life and his career.
Thank you for reading.
Originally posted at The MMA Truth.