Sixty-four professional fights is a number that fight fans don’t see often. A fighter fighting his sixty-fourth fight in 2022 is unheard of, at least it was until Paul Daley viscously knocked out Wendell Giácomo in May.
In his self-proclaimed retirement match, the British Welterweight Superstar capped an incredible career consisting of fighting in over twenty professional organizations and a Cage Rage Championship. Daley is most notable for his stints in Bellator and the UFC, along with the post-fight incident involving himself and Josh Koscheck. With seemingly his career being over, what will Paul Daley’s legacy be?
A Look at Paul Daley’s Career, Retirement, and Legacy
When you look at the record of “Semtex,” his numbers speak for themselves. Forty-four professional MMA victories, a kickboxing record of 21-3, and MMA victories over notable names Duane Ludwig, Martin Kampmann, and Jorge Masvidal.
Paul Daley was one of the first European Superstars in MMA, paving the way for fellow countrymen Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy, and Michael “Venom” Page. Daley is a human knockout artist with thirty-five KO victories and he was a headliner for a number of promotions.
Paul Daley was never able to capture MMA’s ultimate prize, a championship in a leading organization. He was kicked out of the UFC before he could get a chance due to his infamous post-fight cheap shot on Josh Koscheck, a fight for which Koscheck dominated.
He lost in controversial fashion to MVP in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals. He also has career losses to Rory MacDonald, Nick Diaz, Tyron Woodley, Douglas Lima, and Jon Fitch.
It is a complex question that gets harder to answer as Daley’s fighting development was hindered by the “dark” era of MMA, lack of popularity being from England, and not entering the UFC until seven years after his professional debut. However, he spent his prime against quality competition, competition for which he could not surpass.
Daley’s career should be taken at face value. A trailblazer with fists of stone in each hand. A physical specimen who had a nearly twenty-year professional career. Daley deserves his flowers and in his good times, he was electricity personified. In his bad times, he was must-watch TV. Time gives incidences a new perspective and the Koscheck incident doesn’t have the same feeling due to Paul Daley’s remorse and the UFC’s behavior towards other outside-the-bell incidences. ‘Semtex’ will forever be a legend in the eyes of many.