Recently, we had the opportunity to speak at length with Army Ranger turned professional mixed martial artist Damien Stelly about everything from his tours in Afghanistan to his career in the cage to why he twice turned down the opportunity to fight in the UFC.
Currently, Stelly is competing in Bellator’s middleweight tournament, and earned himself a spot in the semi-finals with his victory over Alex Andrade at Bellator III. He won’t have an easy road to the finals though.
In the interview, Stelly informed us that he is scheduled to face tournament favorite Hector Lombard at Bellator IX on May 29 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, possibly in the night’s main event. We later confirmed the news with Bellator.
A win would certainly be a huge feather in Stelly’s cap. In Lombard’s 22 professional MMA fights, his only two losses were against Akihiro Gono and Gegard Mousasi, and in some circles is considered to be the best middleweight in the world no one knows about. While the vast majority of fight fans may not be too familiar with Lombard, Stelly isn’t one of them. He knows exactly who he’s getting in the cage with.
“Oh yeah, he’s like dynamite,” said Stelly. “He’s a small package but he’s explosive. So I’m gonna be careful and not let him capitalize with his explosiveness and his quickness. I’m working with some southpaws trying to get me ready because he’s a very good boxer. Even though Hector’s an Olympic Judo guy, his boxing is up there with professional boxers. He’s fast. He’s dynamic. That’s the best way that I can describe him.”
Be sure to check back the week leading up their fight to read our exclusive interview with Damien Stelly.
Ed note: Thanks to Mark Dorsey who conducted the interview and contributed to this report.