Douglas Lima showed the world what he is capable of at Bellator 117, destroying the leg of Rick Hawn and becoming welterweight champion.
So, what’s next for Lima?
He immediately mentioned talk of a possible move to middleweight following his victory over Hawn, but believes that – despite a tough time cutting weight – he can defend his 170-pound belt “some” before he is forced to move on.
“I’m definitely thinking of moving to middleweight,” said Lima, during an interview with FightLine. “But, we’ll see what happens. I need to defend my title some.
“I don’t know how much longer I can make 170. It’s miserable.”
Lima (26-5) is now riding a five-fight win streak, all of which have come via finish. He earned the season eight title by dropping Ben Saunders with a head kick last September, and dominated Hawn for the better part of eight minutes before the fight was stopped.
The rigorous training camp and weight cut is forcing “The Phenom” to take some time off and enjoy his riches.
“I’m exhausted,” he admitted. “I’m taking my wife and daughter to Jamaica to relax some. It’s time to enjoy my family and get back to work as soon as possible.
“My favorite part (of life now) is the good food!”
Lima had a chance at becoming Bellator champion in 2012 when he faced Ben Askren for the title. He was unsuccessful in knocking Askren off his pedestal, the fighter has since relinquished the belt and moved to ONE FC.
While some feel Askren remains the “uncrowned” Bellator champion since he never lost the title, that is not something Lima has control over changing. All he can do is defend the belt to the best of his abilities.
“Some people say I’m not the real champion because I didn’t beat him and I respect that,” he said. “Askren left undefeated; I can’t hate on that. I respect him. He beat me up for five rounds.
“But now I’m the champion and it’s all I care (about). I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me. Say whatever you want to say, but I’m the champion now. I’m here to stay.”
His resume now boasts the Bellator title, a stint as Maximum Fighting Championship welterweight champion and two Bellator tourney wins. He owns 23 stoppage victories, including a dozen by knockout or TKO.
His boss, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, believes he is the best welterweight in the world. As a fight fan, Lima makes sure to watch all the other 170-pound fighters, so where does he rank himself?
“I put myself up there,” he said. “I’m definitely not the best, but I’m training hard to be. I just want to fight the best and move up in the ranks.
“I watch all the 170 pounders. I’ll fight any of them, I would love to fight the Top-5 in the world, but we are not in the same organization.”
Instead, Lima might have to settle for a champion vs. champion contest with Bellator middleweight titleholder Alexander Shlemenko. The fight-idea sounded good to Rebney, and Lima has no hesitation.
“I would love this match up,” he said. “Shlemenko is very tough and durable, and he’s been on top forever, finishing everybody. I respect him a lot and I do see myself against him down the road.
“I just got to keep winning. Hopefully by the end of the year…..you never know…..”
For now, Lima will focus on becoming the greatest Bellator welterweight champion of all-time. His title win has given him a new beginning in the sport, and he’s looking to capitalize on it.
“I thought about the title every day since the first time it didn’t work out for me,” he said. “I knew one day I was going to get it. I trained so hard and got so much better and, finally, I did get it.
“But now I think of defending (the title) forever. So a new chapter begins.”