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Interview With Kaheem Murray Ahead of Bellator 253

Murray vs Slice

The Bellator fight schedule runs on as Bellator 253 takes place this Thursday in the Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States. Scott Coker and his team have put on a total of 11 bouts.

Headlining the card is Featherweights Darrion Caldwell (14-3) and AJ McKee Jr. (16-0).

I had the pleasure of speaking to Lightweight Kaheem Murray, who makes his debut with the promotion and has the task of facing Kevin Ferguson Jr.

Kaheem Murray

Kaheem Murray (3-3) has been out of active competition for 18-months. He looks to return in spectacular fashion this Thursday at Bellator 253 and pull himself back into the winning column.

Since turning professional in 2017, ‘The Dream‘ has kept himself active until now. This could potentially be the reasoning behind Murray failing to pick up some real momentum in his performances. The long lay of and rest could work wonders for the 31-year old.

Murray’s last outing occurred at Maverick MMA 13, falling victim to a rear-naked choke loss to LJ Reboli. When on his game, Murray likes to get his opponents out of there fast. He brings a 100% KO/TKO ratio into the Bellator cage, a ratio the Lightweight will be hopeful of keeping intact.

Baby Slice

Kevin Ferguson Jr. (3-2), the son of the famous Kimbo Slice returns this Thursday and is hopeful of ending 2020 on a high.

Baby Slice, unlike his opponent, hasn’t been too active throughout his journey into MMA. The 28-year old has fought just twice over the last two years, losing one of those to Corey Browning at Bellator 207, and suffering a no contest at Bellator 232 with Craig Campbell.

All three of Baby Slice’s victories have come in R1, two rear-naked choke victories as well as one TKO.

Interview

How has preparation been on the lead up to your bout with Baby Slice?

Murray – “Preparation has been great. I was training as if I had a fight before I was offered this fight.”

You competed just 5-months ago, how has your body recovered since then, and how much time and notice have you had to prepare for Baby Slice? 

Murray – “I did not compete 5 months ago. Slice and I were scheduled to fight March 13th but had our fight cancelled last minute due to covid19. I’m excited we were able to rebook the fight. My body has recovered a lot during the layoff. When the lockdown first started I was able to really focus on recovery.”

When your opponent is announced and your fight camp starts, what are the main principles you focused on to give you the best of chances against Baby Slice? 

Murray – “I will definitely be aware of his strengths-based off previous fights, but I do not focus on my opponent. I want to fight my fight and not worry about what he is doing. If I do everything right then none of that matters.”

For the fans that haven’t seen you compete, you turned professional in 2017, what was the reasoning behind getting into the sport?

Murray – “I started training at 23 with no experience at all. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a double leg and a sprawl. I never put on a pair of boxing gloves prior to training except for boxing my cousin. Never in an actual training environment though. I knew I wanted to compete from day one but knew I was at a severe disadvantage with no experience. On top of all of that, I’ve worked full time 95% of the time since I started training. I’m a caseworker M-F but I still manage to train multiple hours a day. I feel anything is possible and that’s the reason behind going pro.”

How does it feel getting the opportunity to showcase your skill-set in one of the biggest organisations in your craft, is it a one-fight contract with Bellator? 

Murray – “It really is a honour and I look forward to putting on a show and coming back. This is currently just for one fight.”

If successful on Thursday, and Bellator like what they see and look to sign you permanently, what do you feel you could offer the Lightweight Division? 

Murray – “Exciting fights that fans will love. I will look to work my way up each fight and I feel like my story is inspirational for those who feel it is too late to pursue anything in life.”

What’s your overall thoughts on Slice as an opponent, where do you feel the key signs are to beating him? 

Murray – “I think Slice is a good opponent and this will be a hard fight. I have nothing but respect for him and his story. The keys to beating him is to execute. It’s that simple.”


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