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One of the most highly touted prospects in the game today, Storley owns a spotless 5-0 record with all five victories coming via TKO. Most recently, he defeated Andres Murray at Sioux Falls Fight Night 1 April 29 on FloCombat.
Adding to this impressive winning streak, the welterweight mixed martial artist is a six-time high school state champion wrestling out of South Dakota and a four-time Division I All-American wrestler out of the University of Minnesota.
Training out of Combat Club under the guidance of Henri Hooft, Greg Jones, and company, Storley also boasts a world-class set of coaches and training partners, leading to his continued development in all facets of the MMA game. Storley has supreme confidence in his ability to take any man he faces to the ground, but a rapidly developing striking attack has made him one of the most versatile prospects to hit the big stage in recent years.
"Henri [Hooft] is one of the best striking coaches in the game and I'm learning a lot from him," Storley told FloCombat in an exclusive interview. "We also have Greg Jones, Kami and Robbie Lawler is someone I work with on a day-to-day basis as well. I also train with Michael Chandler, Michael Johnson and Kamaru Usman, so I'm in the gym every day with the best guys in the world. I've worked with the some of the best 170- and 155-pound fighters on the planet so I definitely know where I'm at and I'm confident in my abilities.
"I'm definitely a wrestler first, but I'm confident in my hands as well. I didn't get to use them in my last fight, but if I don't have to then I don't have to. The takedown was there so I put him down and ended the fight in a minute and twelve seconds with no injuries and a paycheck in my hand. I got out of there, signed with Bellator and onto the next.
"People are going to look my wrestling and say I have to stand up and strike and all of that, but if that's what they want to see, then make me," he added. "Make me strike with you and don't let me take you down. Stop me if that's what you want. That's just my take on it."
Storley is expected to make his Bellator debut against Kemmyelle Haley July 14 at Bellator 181, taking place at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The former University of Minnesota wrestling standout will be looking to keep his undefeated record intact, all the while stamping his arrival on the larger MMA landscape.
The process of doing so will see a massive increase in attention, exposure and pressure--all of which Storley welcomes with open arms.
"It's to the point now this is what I do and I'm used to it," Storley said. "There comes a point where you have to learn to love it, and I have. You learn to love the pressure because that's part of it. There were multiple times in college wrestling where I wished there was more to be honest. We don't get enough respect and exposure for what we do or get to be on television all the time being talked about or doing interviews.
"Learning to love the spotlight is definitely part of it, and if that's not something you want then you should go do something else."
Making this even more interesting, Storley confirmed the UFC was also interested in signing him, but he ultimately chose Bellator over life inside the Octagon. The 24-year-old lightweight's decision to bring his talents to Bellator rather than UFC came down to several prominent factors, with sponsorship options being front and center.
"The decision was made based on what is best for my career and my future from both a financial and exposure standpoint," Storley said. "The UFC has 500 guys on the roster and some guys don't get to fight as much because of it. Bellator has a smaller roster and have a lot of talented wrestling prospects who get talked about and pushed. Just look at Michael Chandler.
"Michael went from being a good fighter who no one really knew to becoming the face of Bellator. I'm only 24 years old and plan on doing this for a long time--whether it be for Bellator, UFC or whoever. But right now Bellator was the right fit.
"Bellator has done a great job of promoting the wrestlers they've signed, and there are a lot of good prospects in the UFC as well, but some of those guys over there have gotten lost in the shuffle. I'm 100 percent confident I'm going to make my own name in this sport, but having Bellator helping to showcase me just made sense.
"Sponsorship was also a big part of the decision making process," he added. "I would lose sponsors signing with the UFC, and Reebok's payout of $2,500 dollars for my first five fights wasn't exactly appealing."
While Storley understands there will be a long road to travel before he reaches the heights he's envisioned for himself in MMA, he made it clear elite-level status and championships are on the horizon. The South Dakota wrestling legend has been a tenacious competitor for the majority of his young life, and he wholeheartedly subscribes to the pursuit of excellence being the main driving force.
Storley knows it will take some time to work his way up to face the biggest names under the Bellator banner but is quick to point out fighters like Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald are alive on his radar.
"I was sitting in the back room warming up Chandler, and I was watching the title fight between Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin," Storley said. "There's no doubt. If that wouldn't have been on my radar then what am I doing in this sport? If I don't think I can reach that pinnacle I might as well go do something else, but I truly believe I can compete with those guys. I know for a fact no one at this weight can handle my wrestling.
"I don't care who it is...I know they can't wrestle with me. Obviously I have other things to tighten up and make sure everything is clicking, but when it comes to straight wrestling and scrambling there is not one guy at 170 who can handle that or compete with me there."
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