Bellator 136’s Brian Rogers “surprised” he’s fighting Joey Beltran

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565The way things are shaping up; next month’s Bellator 136 event looks to be one of the most stacked cards for the promotion in 2015 and a fight that’s being overshadowed is a middleweight tilt between Brian “The Professional Predator” Rogers and Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran. The former UFC fighter Beltran, who previously competed at light heavyweight – and three years before that at heavyweight – announced the drop to 185 pounds on social media and many pundits were shocked including Rogers himself. “I was surprised. “ Rogers told MMAOddsBreaker. “My friend and manager Jim Walter gave me a call and he’s like “I got a date for you April 10th Joey Beltran at 185 [pounds]. I was like “Really?”” As a way to show his commitment to his new weight class, the 33-year old Beltran posted a picture on his personal Twitter account, announcing his successful test weight cut to middleweight. Immediately after the picture was posted, social media irrupted with a number of negative comments, mainly that “The Mexicutioner” didn’t look healthy. “He didn’t look himself.” Rogers said. “But he’s an intelligent guy; I assume he consulted a nutritionist. I’ve seen good cuts and bad cuts. I’ve seen some guys cut terribly and have great performances. [If I’m] a commentator and [Beltran] rolls through me, oh then 185 Joey Beltran was the best decision he ever made. But if I roll through him like I plan on doing April 10th, then people are going to say [it was a] terrible cut, this that and the other. It’s all result oriented. [However] someone on twitter said he looked like the “Meth-a-cutioner” which legitimately made me laugh out loud.”   beltranweightcutAll joking aside this preliminary bout on the Bellator 136 undercard is pivotal matchup for both fighters. While Rogers isn’t happy about his demotion to the prelims, he understands the spot both himself and his opponent are in right now. Since joining Bellator in 2013, Beltran has gone 1-2 and has also lost six of his last ten fights. Rogers is in a similar boat as the 31-year old has lost three of his last four fights. “I think in large part I’ve underachieved as of late. Not for lack of ability, but just because I haven’t got it done when I needed to at times. I think I have Top 10 athletic ability but performance is another thing, and that’s what I need to get better at is performing, executing and being consistent. That’s the biggest challenge I face, staying on a game plan.” In fairness Rogers has experienced a number of last minute opponent switchups in his last two fights. This past September he was slated to fight UFC veteran James Irvin at Bellator 125 – who like Beltran was set to make his middleweight debut – but the 36-year old had to bow out due to injury. Rogers could be faced with similar concerns as the Alliance MMA product may not be able to make weight or worse, pull out due to a tough weightcut. However the Colorado native remains optimistic the fight will happen. “Joey’s a gamer; I’ve actually talked to him and hung out with him before. I’ve got respect for him. He’s been around for a long time. But you know he did do a test cut a few weeks ago and I mean I’ve had to make weight twice in 30 days and it’s pretty tough. He’s going to have to do that twice in six weeks. It’s difficult the older you get, so it takes a while for your body to reset. So I think that’s going to be tough on him, unless he’s living really small now still. We’ll see what happens” Stylistically, fans are in store for an exciting matchup as both fighters have a combined 19 career knockouts. One theory that many pundits buy into is that when a fighter drops down a weight class, their chin can diminish significantly due to dehydration. As Rogers points out, that theory has proven true for Beltran, as both of his recent losses have come by way knockout. “Rampage was able to knock him out at 205 pounds as did Emanuel Newton. That didn’t happen [for him] at heavyweight, I made the joke that I was looking to do something that my former training partner Stipe Miocic didn’t do before. I think I’m the bigger guy to be honest. I’ve never fought at heavyweight but I’ve fought at 205 pounds very young in my career. But I walk around pretty big; my weight comes off pretty slow. I think I’m a larger frame, I think his reach is 71, mine is 73. He’s used to being with bigger guys; I’m not worried about being pushed around or bullied. I think I’m going to have a significant speed advantage. “ Ahead of his matchup next month, Rogers is training primary at Factory X in Colorado, a place which he made his full time home last year moving from Ohio. In addition to training and being a new father, Rogers also works full time for a fitness software company called Zen Planner. The balance has been a major adjustment, but it’s a way for Rogers to have a life outside his MMA career. Should he lose his second straight bout, its possible Bellator would cut ties with the 18-fight veteran. “I’ve got goals, plans, financial aspirations and things like that. It’s definitely a big fight, I don’t know where I’d go [if I lost] or if Bellator would still have me. Do I want to go back to regional competition and have to win three, four, five six fights to get back to another high level organization? I think even at that point, I think I would be looking at the UFC or somewhere else.” If he does end up leaving the organization he’s been with since 2011, Rogers has made it known he has no intentions of fighting for organizations like Titan FC, RFA or WSOF because the money they’d offer isn’t worth it to him. Instead, he’d rather implement a similar strategy to his teammate Chris Camozzi, who has opted to fight on regional shows in Colorado rather than signing up with one of those aforementioned organizations. “The landscape of the Double A, Triple A MMA is absolute garbage. Honestly I would probably make more money in Denver either fighting for Sparta Combat or Prize Fighting Championship or fighting in Ohio for the NAAFS than I would Titan or RFA. That’s just because of their business models. I get it, why are you going to pay me more when the minimum wage is [$1000 to show and $1000 to win] for a seasoned pro fighter. It’s a shame honestly. “ Should Rogers emerge victorious at Bellator 136 he already has his sights set on a few opponents in the near future. He has some unfinished business with some past opponents. “I doubt they give it to me but I want that [Alexander Shlemenko] rematch [from Bellator 54]. It was still one of the best fights that has ever gone down in Bellator. That’s the one that also gets me to the top of the heap. He’s probably one or two fights away from a [middleweight title] rematch. I [still] think I won my fight with Dan Cramer [at Bellator 89]. He got some takedowns and kept me down but I did a lot more damage. And honestly that guy hasn’t been right since [that fight]. I had damaged his eye really badly in our fight and I was actually on standby to fill in if he couldn’t fight [in his next fight against Brett Cooper at Bellator 92] but somehow he passed his medicals and he got blasted in the third round. But beating him doesn’t get you to a title shot per say. “ You can follow Brian on Twitter @BRogthePredator and you can listen to the full audio version of this interview on The Parting Shot Podcast” at 48 min mark

Written by James Lynch

Leave a Reply

MMA Odds and Ends for Monday: Shogun vs. Little Nog 2 Booked For UFC 190

UFC Fight Night 62’s Unfortunate Biggest Star: Eduardo Herdy