Bellator 108’s Joey Beltran: ‘I see myself knocking Rampage out in the third round’

Joey BeltranJoey Beltran can describe firsthand the extreme highs and lows that take place in the world of mixed martial arts. Coming off a PED-related suspension which overturned a fight he’d won against Igor Pokrajac, Beltran returned to UFC just over one month ago against durable Brazilian striker Fabio Maldonado on his opponent’s home turf. Beltran seemingly overcame the odds against the betting favorite, winning the first and third rounds on a majority of the media and viewer’s personal scorecards, but the judges saw things differently, awarding Maldonado a split decision victory. To make matters worse, not only did Beltran get screwed out of a win, he also received his walking papers following the controversial loss. But when one door closes, another opens. “The Mexicutioner” wasn’t a free agent for long. Bellator quickly scooped him up and offered him an opportunity to step in as an injury replacement against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the biggest fight of his career following news that Tito Ortiz was injured and unable to fight. Beltran’s moment in the spotlight takes place later tonight (Nov. 15, 2013) in the main event of Bellator 108 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The scrappy Alliance MMA product spoke to MMAOddsbreaker about his tremendous career opportunity, the extreme highs and lows of MMA and how he expects to beat Rampage Jackson in this exclusive interview. Check it out: Brian Hemminger: First off, how was the big photoshoot you had earlier today in advance of the fight? Joey Beltran: It was great man, (laughs) I had a good time. Really classing up the joint here in Atlantic City. Brian Hemminger: Okay, onto some more serious stuff, how does it feel to have such a tremendous opportunity so quickly after receiving your UFC release following a fight that many people thought you won against Fabio Maldonado in Brazil? Joey Beltran: Yeah, it’s pretty extreme highs and lows but that’s the sport sometimes at the higher levels. That’s also why I love this sport and happy to have a job. I’m fortunate enough to make money and provide for my family doing what I love to do. It sucked getting released from the UFC after a BS decision but when one door shuts, another door opens and I’m right back in with a world class organization fighting in the biggest fight of my life live on Spike TV in Atlantic City so life is okay. Brian Hemminger: What are you expecting on Friday night against Rampage? Joey Beltran: I expect a six foot tall, 220 pound guy that’s got knockout power who will try to take my head off. I expect that much. I’m fully aware what it means for me to be on the other side of a victory Friday night. Not only for me, but for my family and my career. That’s cool, I get it, but at the end of the day it’s gonna be a fist fight and that’s what I need to focus on first. Brian Hemminger: Now throughout your career, you’ve been a guy that’s tried to utilize technique and you’ve also just put your head down and started brawling. It almost seems like it’s the brawl that pays off the most. Are you hoping to brawl with Rampage or do you think you can trade technique for technique with him? Joey Beltran: Bottom line, I just have to go out there, get in his face and step on the gas pedal from start to finish. I need to bust out every tool in my tool belt, all the tricks and if there’s every a fight that I go balls to the wall, it’s gotta be this one. Brian Hemminger: I’ve really noticed lately that you’ve been particularly effective when you get your opponents against the fence. You don’t just hold them there, you really make them hurt and that dates back to not only the Maldonado fight but the Pokrajac fight before that. Is that an area you feel really comfortably lately? Joey Beltran: I’ve always been comfortable there and I want to give a big shoutout to my coaches and teammates Jason Lambert and Emmanuel Rodriguez for helping me out there. That’s a tool in my tool belt that I’ve brought out a few times but like I said before, I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve and I’ve got to pull them all out on Friday night. Brian Hemminger: What do you think happens if you go out there and beat Rampage? What does that do for you? Joey Beltran: I believe the possibilities are endless with a victory over Rampage. I want it all, man. I want it all. I want the reality show. I want to make shitty rap songs. I want to drive a nice car. I want it all man. If I knock this guy out, the whole world opens up. Brian Hemminger: Do you have any big goals for your Bellator run or is everything focused on this one fight? Joey Beltran: Well definitely my focus right now is on the fight with Rampage, but my long-term goals are to go on a nice run, win the tournament and take home the light heavyweight title. I’d like to make a name for myself and make a big splash in this organization. Brian Hemminger: Does it inspire you at all to see a guy like Emanuel Newton beat King Mo not once but twice as an underdog, especially since Mo was the guy Bellator made big waves about signing and put a lot of promotion behind him? Joey Beltran: Yeah, that was fun to watch. I’ve been an underdog myself numerous times and gone out and risen to the occasion. I’m ready to do it again. Brian Hemminger: When you visualize success against Rampage, what do you see? Joey Beltran: I see myself stopping him in the third round. Joey would like to thank his team and coaches at Alliance MMA and his longtime sponsor Triumph United. You can follow him on Twitter @Mexicutioner760.

Written by Brian Hemminger

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