If Bout With Friend Pat Curran Has to Happen, Mike Corey Says Title Shot “Good Problem to Have”
With Win Over Ronnie Mann, Featherweight Climbing Bellator Ranks
By Kelsey Mowatt
It hasn’t taken Mike Corey long to make his presence felt in Bellator, not only because the former Marine has gone undefeated to begin his tenure with the promotion, but because he’s faced two of the organization’s more notable names. If battling to a draw with WEC vet Chris Horodecki last November wasn’t enough to captivate some observers, Corey’s unanimous decision win over the highly regarded Ronnie Mann at Bellator 60, should have fans tuning into his career.
“This is probably the biggest win to date,” said Corey, who joined Bellator champ Pat Curran and the top ranked Hatsu Hioki, as the only men since 2007 to have defeated Mann. “Especially because it probably had the most exposure too, so, I’d put it up there as the best one.”
Of course, a lack of awareness regarding Corey’s abilities and previous accomplishments, were contributing factors as to why few people picked the 28 year-old as the favorite against the veteran Mann.
“I knew that the betting odds had me as the underdog but I would say it’s just as satisfying,” Corey told FCF. “I felt like I could win.”
The Team Curran fighter battled his way through the renowned striking game of Mann early on, and turned to his ground game to control and outscore the British fighter throughout much of the bout.
“It was pretty much to keep him guessing,” said Corey while discussing his gameplan going into the bout. “I didn’t want to go in there and just force a takedown, but I also didn’t want to turn it into a real technical, kickboxing match. I wanted to move forward and make him guess between a takedown or me punching…We wanted to keep him guessing, eventually get on top and strike from there.”
“I pretty much just wrestled in highschool,” Corey added, while relaying his wrestling experience. “I didn’t do any in college, but I’ve been training for a long time and I’ve always concentrated on my wrestling quite a bit. A lot of guys go into jits and kind of forget about wrestling, but wrestling is such an important part of the game.”
Up next in the tourney semifinals, Corey will face Daniel Strauss, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jeremy Spoon.
“He’s a tough dude,” said Corey about his next opponent. “He’s well rounded and strong. I guess my biggest concerns personally are just modifying my game to fight a southpaw. You have to switch your mind to something different. That’s probably my biggest concern.”
While Corey is still two wins away from winning the featherweight tournament, the IFL vet is now one step closer to securing a title shot with his training partner and Bellator champion, Pat Curran.
“We’ve goofed around a little bit about it but nothing serious,” said Corey. “I’ll worry about that when the time comes. If that happens, that would be a sh—y thing to have to fight your friend, but that’s pretty good problem you know?”
Photo via Sucker Punch Entertainment