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Daley wants Diaz, Rumble, MacDonald & Ellenberger

ESPN staff
October 20, 2011 « ESPN expands Europa League coverage | Chartbeat test »
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Paul Daley is convinced there is a "big opportunity" for him to return to the UFC, insisting there are mega fights just waiting for him in the shape of Nick Diaz, Anthony Johnson, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger.

Daley was cast ashore from the UFC in May 2010 when he threw a post-fight punch at conqueror Josh Koscheck. UFC president Dana White stated after the incident that Daley would never fight in the UFC again, and so far he has been true to his word.

However, Daley is a more mature individual these days, and he is determined to prove that he belongs on the big stage. In the Brit's eyes, there are top-level welterweights that he could beat, and he is prepared to play the bad guy in order for the UFC to promote some of their newest stars.

"I can be an asset to the UFC," Daley told the ESPN UFC Podcast. "There's a big opportunity for me to come back to the UFC, established fighters always find their way back.

"There's loads of interesting match-ups. There's the Nick Diaz rematch, which would be a nice opportunity if he lost to BJ Penn. There's Anthony Johnson, even though me and him get on well, then you've got Rory MacDonald, who's a good up-and-coming fighter.

"You've got Jake Ellenberger, who's on his way to a title shot, he just beat Jake Shields but it was a quick knockout that wasn't that entertaining so they could bring his level up by putting him in a fight with me. I'd probably be used for entertaining fights by the UFC, they'd want me to lose against the Americans, but I want to prove I'm no stepping stone and smash these guys up."

In fairness to Daley, his record for entertainment stands alongside the best in the sport. "Look at my last three, last four, last five fights, they've all been eye-catching," Semtex said.

"Knockout of the Year against Scott Smith, I've knocked out Yuya Shirai, I was in the Round of the Year - if not the Fight of the Year - against the champion Nick Diaz and lost it with three seconds on the clock, took on the No. 1 contender [Tyron Woodley] and showed good takedown defence and pulled off an omoplata, and then I've fought an Olympian in Jordan Radev and absolutely destroyed him.

"I feel I should be in the UFC. I'm deserving of it. I finished Dustin Hazelett's career, Martin Kampmann's never been the same since he met me. Do I deserve to be there? Hell yeah I deserve to be there."

Surely though, the Briton's record against wrestlers shows he could never challenge for the UFC title whilst Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Georges St-Pierre are around?

"You can see my takedown defence is improving," Daley claimed. "I've lost to Josh Koscheck, Tyron Woodley and Jake Shields in the past. I'm always against the very best. I've not lost to Anthony Johnson, who is at a bit of a different level.

"I'd fancy my chances against both [Koscheck and Fitch], I've been in with Koscheck and felt his strength, I didn't lose by knockout or submission, it was a ground-out decision. I feel I can compete at that level."

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