Daniel Crawford is confident he can get his career back on track when he returns to the cage after a difficult period of inactivity.
The Croydon fighter started boxing at South Norwood and Victory Boxing Club as a kid, before growing bored of the sport and seeking a fresh challenge in MMA at the age of 18.
The 26-year-old holds a record of 10-3, but has not fought since a first round defeat at the end of 2018.
Ahead of his return to action at Bellator Dublin tomorrow, Crawford believes he is in a much better mental state than ever before.
“I’m just looking forward to fighting now, which were words you would never have heard me say in 2018,” he said.
“There were a few things out of the cage, with life getting in the way, and it was all coming on top of me a bit.
“When I was training, there was no real drive. I was just going through the motions, training and fighting without any real feeling.
“Now there’s a lot more conviction about my training, I’ve definitely got a different mindset.”
Crawford moved to Bellator in 2018, but the switch has not yet brought the success he would have hoped with just two fights since then and both ending in defeat.
He was due to fight Robert Whiteford in November but the bout was called off at relatively short notice, a decision Crawford revealed he had no choice but to make.
“It was called off because I can’t make featherweight anymore, simple as that,” he admitted.
“Four weeks out I was weighing 80kg, so there was absolutely no way of me making 66kg for the fight.
“The break has been a bit of a blessing in disguise, I don’t think it’ll be an issue in the ring, I’ll be more comfortable and fully ready.
“I’m in a new weight division now, my body’s grown and I feel better in myself. The only hard bit of going that long without a fight is financially, but the time off has been good.”
Crawford will return to the cage against Irishman Philip Mulpeter in Bellator’s first European event of the year. And he is relishing his comeback, hoping it can kick off a spell of increased activity for him in the coming months.
“I think early on he’ll know he’s going to have really big problems skill-wise, so he might just stand up with me for the first couple of minutes,” Crawford predicted.
“He might try and prolong what’s going to happen, but I’ll pick him off as he tires and then hopefully get the finish.
“I want to get three fights in a year – my goal is really just to stay busy at the moment.”
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