Joe Warren Eyeing Trilogy With Eduardo Dantas

Joe Warren Eyeing Trilogy With Eduardo Dantas

Former Bellator champion Joe Warren is determined to work himself to a trilogy fight with titleholder Eduardo Dantas.

Jul 9, 2017 by FloCombat Staff
Joe Warren Eyeing Trilogy With Eduardo Dantas
By Shawn Smith

At 40 years old, most athletes are winding down their careers. That rule holds especially true in combat sports, where only a select few athletes can compete at a high level into their late 30’s and early 40’s. Bernard Hopkins and Randy Couture both held world titles into their 40’s by putting the focus on using their minds to outsmart opponents over their fading athleticism.

Bellator’s Joe Warren is looking to add his name to the list.

Warren is set to compete at Bellator 181 on July 14. He’ll take on rising prospect in Steve Garcia (7-1).

Having spent a decade in the sport, Warren is aware of how important wins and losses are. And while a fight against a prospect like Garcia may seem like a step down from the elite-level fighters he’s been competing against, a loss would derail Warren’s desire for a trilogy fight against Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas.

The two originally fought in October of 2014, with Warren taking a unanimous decision. The rematch in December of 2016 went in favor of Dantas.

The loss, which was the first decision loss of Warren’s career, has forced the Colorado native to rethink his fight game.

“In losing that decision, I couldn’t grab a hold of him. His footwork and distance were so good that he caught me,” Warren said. “Me being the coachable athlete I am, I understand I’m only as good as my last fight. If you don’t evolve as a fighter you get left behind. For these last six months, we’ve worked on footwork and closing the distance, cutting off the cage. I just added a repertoire and mindset to my already killer movement. I’m just a different fighter than I was, I’m just moving better.”

Warren comes off as a fascinating mix of bravado and self-consciousness. He’ll tell you in one sentence that he’s the baddest man on the planet and come back in the next with a desire to keep growing as a fighter. Despite losing three of his last five fights, you can almost hear him gritting his teeth through the phone as he discusses the bouts, almost as though he doesn’t believe what he’s saying.

“I lost my belt to a strange kneebar and I never got a rematch,” Warren said, referencing his world title loss to Marcos Galvao in March of 2015. “I tore my MCL and dislocated my kneecap (in the bout against Darrion Caldwell), I was stuck on the ground and couldn’t get up. Those are three freak losses that could have happened to anybody.”

The loss to Dantas is the one that is really stuck in his craw, the one loss he feels is legitimate. No matter what you ask Warren, it always circles back around to a trilogy fight with Dantas.

“We put those losses behind us, I didn’t even think about it until you asked, (but) that Dantas fight is still touching me a little bit,” Warren admits. “We’re 1-1, there is a rubber match that needs to be happening. My focus is totally on getting back in that Bellator cage and getting my belt back.”

That’s why at 40 years old Warren isn’t considering retirement. He believes a six month focus almost solely on footwork and movement has made him not only the most dangerous version of himself, but one of the most lethal bantamweights on the planet.

Warren has never stopped believing he’s the baddest man on the planet.

“This is not a game, it’s not a good time. I support my family in that cage. Losing the first decision of my life hurt me,” Warren said. “I’m faster, smarter and more violent than I’ve ever been. Having reinvented myself, I’m anxious to get back in there. It feels fresh again.”