Benjamin Adegbuyi (R) after winning GLORY 35 'Contender' tournament

SCHILLER PARK, Ill.–Benjamin Adegbuyi (27-4) has already fought for the GLORY heavyweight title twice, losing to reigning champion, Rico Verhoeven both times. As it now stands within the division “Mr. Gentleman” is the No.1-ranked contender and he will put himself in place for a third shot at the title with a victory over Anderson “Braddock” Silva (40-15-1) at GLORY 38 on Friday.

But what makes the heavyweight title picture all the more interesting is the fact that Adegbuyi now trains with Verhoeven under coach Dennis Krauweel at Superpro Sportcenter in Holland.

Benjamin Adegbuyi on working with Rico Verhoeven

“We already liked each other. And honestly, we wanted to bring Benny in for a sparring partner for the Badr Hari fight [GLORY: COLLISION],” Krauweel told MMAPlus at the GLORY 38 open workouts on Wednesday. “But in the same moment before we were planning that, he was without a gym. He wanted to go to Holland. I think he liked the way we trained. So, all-in-all, we discuss and we said, ‘you are someone in competition with Rico, but we are open to bring you in if you are open to be with us. Lets go.’ He’s a good guy. He’s a nice guy. That’s the most important part: besides if he’s a good fighter, he’s a good guy. You have to combine them both together.

“I thought it was a good plan to start training with Dennis,” said Adegbuyi. “Dennis is Rico’s trainer, but it only brings good stuff because I’m the No.1 contender, he’s the champion, so training together with Rico is only getting each other better. We can stay here: number one and number two. When GLORY says we have to fight we will think about what’s going to happen and how we handle that. It’s sport at the end of the day.”

But what if he and Verhoeven do end up fighting for a third time. How will they handle it?

“If I start thinking about that now I just stress myself for no reason, so it’s better to not think [about fighting Verhoeven],” said Adegbuyi, who won the GLORY 35 “Contender” tournament last November, his second tournament win in GLORY. “I have to think about this fight [Silva] and we will see what happens. Maybe GLORY will want that fight later this year or maybe next year. We don’t know so better to not think about it.”

“Before he won the tournament, we knew there is coming a day when they are going to fight,” said Krauweel. “But, as long as it’s not there we don’t have to discuss. The point is, we didn’t discuss because Rico has tenure with us. He’s like a kid from us. We will see how it works. Until the moment, there is no discussion. We don’t need to. It makes no sense. Look what we do: Rico helped Benny to win the tournament. Benny helped Rico to win the Badr Hari fight. Rico helped Benny to fight ‘Braddock’ Silva. We will see, man.”

Adegbuyi, 32, is focused solely on Silva and GLORY 38 for now, but he did clarify that he wants what Verhoeven now possesses.

“Even though Rico is my training partner and we train together, I still want to be the No.1,” he explained. “It’s normal. If you don’t want this you are in the wrong sport.”

Adegbuyi discusses new coach Dennis Krauweel

Now posting a record of 7-2 in GLORY to go along with “Contender” tournament wins at GLORY 24 and GLORY 35, the Romanian native look exceptionally sharp in his last appearance, which was also his first outing with Krauweel in his corner.

What areas in his game has his new coach helped him improve upon?

“A lot of things have improved because as I’ve said, Dennis–I think– is one of the best trainers for kickboxing in the world,” Adegbuyi said. “They’ve worked a lot on my stamina. I’m always prepared. Even the mental game, it’s very important always to be mentally sharp, mentally strong, not showing that your tired because everybody gets tired in this sport. It’s always about mental.”

Krauweel added: “I think we are tactically quite strong and we found better ways to use his qualities. That was the case. He had a lot of qualities, he had to use them better.”

“Mr Gentleman” pays respect to Anderson Silva

Rico Verhoeven lands a shot on Anderson Silva. Photo Credit: James Law, GLORY Sports International

Silva, who is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Verhoeven at GLORY 33 this past September, is now 6-7 in GLORY. Adegbuyi is certainly confident he will get his hand raised on Friday; however, he knows Silva is much better than his record indicates and respects his Brazilian opponent a great deal.

“I have to be really sharp because even though he lost the last fight with Rico he is still a dangerous fighter,” Adegbuyi said. “He fought everybody from Gokhan Saki to Badr Hari and Rico and everybody and he never backed up. It’s interesting. He’s a good boxer. I’ve been working a lot of things. I even studied the Rico fight. Dennis knows him better because he prepared Rico the fight before. I think I got some things to put on him. He’s still a good fighter. I have to be sharp. I think I’m stronger, I’m the bigger man, and I can do this.”

Krauweel, of course, respects “Braddock” as well, but he is expecting a convincing win for Adegbuyi come Friday night.

“He’s stronger. If he listens to his coach he will be much smarter,” Krauweel says, making himself laugh. “Listen, I think you see in the Rico/Anderson fight, he was outclassing him. With all the respect for Anderson, because I like him very much, no chance. Anderson had no chance to be honest.

“So if he listen good and he do some things from that. Not all of them, because he has other weapons, he should be the winner. But, I respect Anderson a lot. He’s a real warrior. His record is medium record, but his quality is more high that his record says. He fought everybody when he started. He never denied anybody. Not a good plan for your career, but in the end, he fought them all. So we have to take care.”