Lewis Long has gradually become one of the most exciting talents fighting out of Wales in MMA. He returns to the cage on Friday night, facing Swiss fighter Michael Dubois at Bellator 267.
Long started his professional career back in 2008, since then he’s amassed a record of 18 wins and six losses, and become a master on the ground with 11 submissions to his name.
A rookie error against Long will be if you give him your back, he takes advantage and executes the rear-naked choke better than anyone. In his Bellator debut, it only took him one minute and 44 seconds to find the move and finish the fight.
At Bellator 240, he was on the receiving end of a spinning back fist from Oliver Enkamp, who finished Long in the first round, to hand him his first taste of defeat in the promotion.
He showed his grit and determination to prove he had the quality to be in the promotion, after securing a stunning kneebar over Gianni Melillo at Bellator 247. With a big win on Friday night, Long could potentially secure himself a place in the welterweight rankings.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Long ahead of Bellator 267.
So, Lewis, fight week is only days away, how are you feeling?
Lewis Long – It’s the week of the fight and I’m feeling with my hands! Nah I’m feeling fantastic I couldn’t be happier with the way things have gone, just time to go.
With MMA becoming bigger by the year over here in the UK, how and when did you become interested in the sport?
Lewis Long – Well, I was never really interested in it, I just did loads of other martial arts and then stumbled upon a few people who were training in Cagefighting or MMA, I met them a couple of weeks later, they asked me if I wanted to fight and I was like “yeah, f**k it, go on then”.
You’ve explored several promotions in your career and even fought in Abu Dhabi. How enjoyable have these experiences been for you?
Lewis Long – I mean fight week is always hard you’ve got the cut the weight, you’ve got to get it on, but it’s always lovely to travel and see different parts of the world, even if you f*****g trying to p**s every two seconds, but Abu Dhabi was great, hot every day, yeah that’s pretty much it.
You’ve proved to be a brilliant grappler with 11 submission finishes in your career, how long and difficult is the process of becoming a highly skilled grappler, with you mastering the rear-naked?
Lewis Long – Yeah I work on everything you know, stand-up and ground, I’ve always worked heavily on it all, but over the years I’ve seen a little bit more adapted to the ground, being so short I guess, but I’m like f*****g eczema over a newborn baby you know, all over that s**t, yeah tap people out with the rear-naked choke, really this run of submissions is up to them, I don’t really force it, it’s more the case of put them down, and they give me the neck you know, silly f*****s.
Back to your Bellator debut, how did it feel to become the first Welshman to win on the Bellator roster, and what was the support like back in your hometown Pontypridd?
Lewis Long – I mean it’s great to be the first Welshman to ever be in Bellator, and after this win, I’m going to be the first Welshman in the top 10 in a major organisation. Back home the support is great you know, just hearing whispers “is that Lew is that Lew”. Supports great and Wales is growing as a nation of fighters as well.
It’s been a year since we saw you in the cage, how’s the past year been for you in training with Covid, etc?
Lewis Long – Luckily I own a gym, so I’ve been able to get through it alright, I just set myself challenges on the rowing machine or conditioning-wise, I just keep myself entertained to see if I can do certain challenges, I constantly have a game of chicken, yeah I mean I quite enjoyed the coronavirus, I quite liked training on my own, I didn’t have any idiots talking to me.
Bellator 267 is a massive card, and the atmosphere is going to be electric in London. How glad are you to be part of this card?
Lewis Long – What a privilege this is now to take my career to fighting on Bellator in Wembley Arena and being broadcasted on the BBC, what higher platform is there? A lot of eyes on me on Friday night, I’m not going to disappoint.
Finally, what are your thoughts on Uros Jurisic, and do you have any predictions for the fight?
Lewis Long – We’ve had a change of opponent, it’s not Jurisic, he’s b*****d out, yeah I’m going to put on a show, earn my money and I’m going to buy myself a pram and a few pints of f*****g Stella.
Featured Image Credits to Lucas Noonan & Bellator MMA.