Liam McGeary is on the comeback trail. His most recent win reminded the MMA faithful that he is still among the elite in Bellator’s 205-pound division. To close out 2018, McGeary earned a TKO victory against former Strikeforce champion and perennial contender “King Mo” Muhammad Lawal.
Having experienced several setbacks in 2017 and starting off 2018 with another loss, McGeary had for the first time in his MMA career faced major adversity. He believes that his second chapter is happening now. He came into Bellator with a 3-0 record. and has “essentially grown up in Bellator.”
In a recent interview with John Hyon Ko, McGeary explained: “Most guys come into the major promotions with 14-15 fights and I managed to come in very early on and undefeated at 3-0 so I’ve had to learn along the way. I’ve had to grow as a person and as a fighter. Liam McGeary 2.0 is now in full effect.”
McGeary is a former champion and is getting another chance to right the ship and avenge the loss to the man who took his title away from him in “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis. Davis also happened to be his first loss in the Bellator cage or any cage for that matter. The pair will rematch to establish a pecking order in the 205-pound division.
The first fight was your standard Phil Davis victory with a dominant top game and was very wrestling-centric. McGeary has been working on implementing more wrestling in his camp to complement his striking and jiu-jitsu base and is preparing for a very different outcome this time around.
“There’s a lot of emotion to this fight,” McGeary explained.
“He laid down on me for the duration of the first fight. It’s payback in a way, but I can’t take that kind of thinking into the fight with me. Davis is a great fighter but he couldn’t finish me in five rounds, but I get to try and finish him in three now.”
It has been a while since the initial match had taken place and the mixed martial arts landscape has changed. McGeary believes that he has had to change and adapt to stay on an upward trajectory on his way back to the championship heights he once knew. With some time off to retool and rethink his approach under new coaches from his team in New York which included famed grappling wizard John Danaher to his new training home in Huntington Beach California under veteran coach Tiki Ghosn, Liam McGeary 2.0 is set for the next challenge.
“I had to evolve, I had to get better, take it to the next level. The game was looking like it was going to evolve without me, and I couldn’t let that happen. I had to put my nose to the grindstone and put the work in. I’m a completely different fighter and a completely different person. I’m on my way up, and I can’t wait to show everyone.”
While he believes that he has improved and is ready to come back to the Davis rematch with a refined and sharpened skill set, McGeary doesn’t see the same evolution and progress from his next opponent. McGeary acknowledged that even his most recent rival King Mo has been attempting to change with the times.
“Phil has been doing the same thing he has been doing for years. At least Mo came out and threw kicks at me, and when has Mo ever thrown kicks? I know what he has to offer and I’ve had him at his best and he hasn’t had me at my best, so let’s see how he does this time.”
With his sights set firmly on the task in front of him, the former champ has little time to think about what’s next for him, even with the murky waters of 205-pounds and the potential stakes of this particular fight.
McGeary and Davis sit near the top of the division with others who are hoping to stake their claim for the next championship opportunity against dual-division champion Ryan “Darth” Bader. But first thing first, he has some work to do before looking at regaining his title, “I’ll think about that after Phil. After I knock him out, we’ll see what happens after that.”