Douglas Lima made weight successfully yesterday for his Bellator welterweight title fight tonight (April 18, 2014) against Rick Hawn in the main event of Bellator 117 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. While the scale read 169.8, making him eligible to contend for the promotion’s vacant belt, those numbers didn’t even come close to telling the entire story. Getting down to the 170 pound limit before his fights has become an increasingly arduous task for “The Phenom.” Every training camp is a struggle to maintain his extended cut, one he begins at around 210 pounds or more. While he’s added some nice tricks to to his repertoire to improve the efficiency of his cut, Lima is still just 26 years old and continuing to grow into his adult body. And he informed MMAOddsBreaker.com in this exclusive interview that it’s only a matter of time before he can no longer make the welterweight limit. Lima discussed a wide variety of topics, from upcoming opponent Rick Hawn, his desire to be a champion and how much longer until he moves up to middleweight for good. Check it out: Brian Hemminger: Are you doing anything different for this title fight compared to the last time you fought for a title in Bellator? Douglas Lima: Ahh man, the main thing is winning! (laughs) I came up short last time but I’m ready, man. I’m ready, prepared and excited for another opportunity to fight for the belt again. I had a great training camp and I’m just excited, man. That’s it. Brian Hemminger: Was there any unique challenge in this camp? Last time you had to prepare for Ben Askren’s wrestling. Was there anything in Rick Hawn’s game you felt you had to specifically prepare for? Douglas Lima: No, not really. It was basically the same. Of course there were small things you change in basic training as you improve your game over time, but it was pretty much the same. I was training everything for this fight: the ground, the wrestling. His judo as well. Whatever he tries to do in there, I’m gonna be ready. Brian Hemminger: Since you actually had a chance to be champion when you were competing for MFC, do you feel that gives you a small mental advantage simply due to the fact that you’ve been there, done that and you’ve felt the belt around your waist before? Douglas Lima: Yes and no. That was then, this is now. It’s different. It’s very important that I have to win. There’s a lot on the line for me in this fight. I just want to get this belt and it doesn’t matter if I was a champion before. What matters is that I win this fight this time. Brian Hemminger: Now this question seems important especially for someone that cuts as much weight as you do. How much does it hurt to cut that extra pound of weight to make the real 170 pound limit for a title fight compared to 171 in all other bouts? Douglas Lima: Man it’s HORRIBLE! I started this camp 10 weeks ago at 210 pounds so that’s a 40 pound cut right there. It’s very hard. That’s actually the hardest part of the camp, maintaining the weight on your way down and that last pound, man, it’s miserable. But I’ve got to go through it, we all go through it and I actually have a great strategy and my diet changed for this fight. I feel much better than I did last time and I’ll be ready for that last pound. Brian Hemminger: Can you compare? What was it last time that made it so difficult and what helped so much this time around? Douglas Lima: Man, it’s the diet that was the difference. I’ve been working at Performance Athletics and they’ve been helping me out, keeping my weight down while allowing me to eat more so I have more energy. It’s been a big difference. I’ve got to thank them for that. They helped me tremendously for this cut. Brian Hemminger: Where do you think your size could come into play in this fight? Some fighters lean on their opponents in the clinch like Georges St. Pierre did against BJ Penn, others get on top like a big, strong wrestler. Where do you think your size will come into play against Hawn? Douglas Lima: I think if I get in top position on the ground it will help me a lot. Also with the strikes, I think I hit harder and the weight helps with that too. If you put your whole body into the punch and you weigh more, it’ll be a bit heavier. At the same time, I’ve just got to be careful too because the lighter guy is usually quicker. Brian Hemminger: Do you think it takes away anything that you’re fighting for a title that Ben Askren never lost, rather was vacated? Douglas Lima: I’m sure a lot of people are gonna say stuff like that especially after the fight. “Oh, you’re not the real champ because Ben Askren never lost, blah, blah, blah.” But that doesn’t bother me, man. It wasn’t my fault. I’m just there to fight whoever they put in front of me. I’m just excited for the opportunity. The title is vacant right now so I might as well take it. Brian Hemminger: Rick Hawn wasn’t supposed to be here. He wasn’t scheduled to be in the last tournament but he stepped in on short notice and then won the whole damn thing. What did you think of his run through that field? Douglas Lima: It was crazy and impressive. That guy comes in at a weight class he wasn’t even supposed to fight. He was planning on fighting at lightweight and he went in and won the whole thing. Respect for that, definitely. It shows how tough he is. He’s been around the block, he’s game and he’s got a great record, but I’m ready for that. Brian Hemminger: Do you think with a victory here, you’d deserve mention among the top rankings for welterweights in the world? Douglas Lima: That’s what I want, man. I just need to win every fight. I want to fight the best in the world and that’s it. A win over Rick Hawn would definitely bump me up there with those guys. Brian Hemminger: The Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko called out Tito Ortiz and now they’re going to have a light heavyweight fight on the Bellator pay-per-view coming up. Say you take care of business against Rick Hawn and there isn’t another title challenger on the horizon. Would you be willing to fight someone at middleweight to stay busy? Douglas Lima: In a heartbeat. (laughs) My plan is to actually move to middleweight pretty soon so I’d definitely take a fight at middleweight. Brian Hemminger: So would you be willing to enter one of the upcoming middleweight tournaments as well, perhaps try to get a title shot in that division? Douglas Lima: Oh yeah. For sure. Although if I win the championship at welterweight, I don’t think I should have to go through the tournament. Let me fight the champion. (laughs) We’ll see what happens after this upcoming fight, but yeah, moving to middleweight is definitely my next step. I don’t know how much longer I can make 170. Brian Hemminger: What would it mean to you become Bellator champion? Douglas Lima: Everything man. That’s like the ultimate goal. Get on top of your division. That’s what you want, to be the best in your weight class and claim that belt. That’s my goal, man. I just want to go in there and get that belt around my waist. I’ve been thinking about that my whole camp. I’m ready. It’s gonna be fun. Brian Hemminger: When you visualize success against Rick Hawn, what do you picture? Douglas Lima: Another highlight reel finish. That’s the picture I see when I visualize the fight. Douglas would like to thank his trainers, his training partners, his sponsor Alienware and everyone who’s supported him. You can follow him on Twitter @PhenomLima.